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What Can Happen With Low Blood Pressure

A Reaction To Medication

Low Blood Pressure caused by Adrenal Fatigue

An adverse reaction to prescribed or over-the-counter medicine can drop blood pressure unexpectedly. Diuretics and other drugs designed to treat hypertension, some anti-depressants, and medication to help with erectile dysfunction can lower blood pressure to unsafe levels. You can also experience a drop in blood pressure if you combine high blood pressure medications with others.

What Is Healthy Blood Pressure

The heart circulates blood throughout the body with every beat. The pressure exerted on the arteries during the heartbeat is called the systolic pressure. It is the first or top number in blood pressure measurement. The pressure exerted on the arteries between heartbeats is called the diastolic pressure. A blood pressure reading of less than 120/80 millimeters of mercury is considered normal.

High Blood Pressure Medication And Diarrhea

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The Effects Of Low Blood Sugar On Your Body

Every cell in your body needs energy to function. The main source of energy might come as a surprise: Its sugar, also known as glucose. Blood sugar is essential to proper brain, heart, and digestive function. It even helps keep your skin and vision healthy.

When your blood sugar levels fall below the normal range, its called hypoglycemia. There are many identifiable symptoms of low blood sugar, but the only way to know if you have low blood sugar is by taking a blood glucose test.

Learn more about the symptoms of low blood sugar, as well as the long-term effects on the body.

most common reasons for low blood sugar are some medications used to treat diabetes, such as insulin.

In type 1 diabetes, the pancreas can no longer produce insulin. In type 2 diabetes, the pancreas doesnt make enough insulin, or your body cant use it properly. Too much insulin or oral diabetic medication can lower the blood sugar level, leading to hypoglycemia.

However, contrary to popular belief, low blood sugar isnt exclusive to diabetes, though it is rare. It can also happen if your body makes more insulin than it should.

Another possible cause of low blood sugar is drinking too much alcohol, especially over long periods of time. This can interfere with the livers ability to create a buildup of glucose and then release it into your bloodstream when you need it.

Other causes include:

What Exactly Is Low Blood Pressure

How High Blood Affects Your Body

Normal blood pressure is considered to be 120/80 mmHg. When the pressure in your heart drops below 90mmHg systolic and 60mmHg diastolic then youre considered to have low blood pressure.

However, as Gabriel Eksteen, dietitian and exercise physiologist at the Heart and Stroke Foundation South Africa points out, these numbers dont necessarily mean you should be alarmed. Remember that blood pressure readings can be affected by the time of day, your stress levels, exercise and your fitness levels, temperature, and the last meal you had, says Eksteen.

In the same way high blood pressure can be an indication of heart problems, so too can low blood blood pressure. Due to the fact that low blood pressure means that less oxygen gets transported through your veins, chronic low blood pressure can also lead to neurological problems when the brain is starved of much-needed oxygen.

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What To Do If You Experience A Sudden Drop In Blood Pressure

A single low blood pressure reading is no cause to be concerned unless you experience other symptoms.

A sudden drop in blood pressure as little as a drop from 120 to 100 in your systolic number can be dangerous if it triggers dizziness and fainting. Such symptoms can be a sign of an underlying problem that may need medical attention.

You should keep a record of your activities and when symptoms happen to discuss them with your doctor. If you experience any low blood pressure symptoms related to shock, you should seek immediate medical attention.

Medications May Cause Low Blood Pressure

Medications used to treat conditions other than low blood pressure may cause low blood pressure as a side effect. Erectile dysfunction medications such as sildenafil , tricyclic antidepressants such as amitriptyline , and Parkinson’s medications such as levodopa-carbidopa , are a few medications whose side effects may include low blood pressure. Narcotic pain medications and alcohol also decrease blood pressure.

When blood pressure medications work too well, low blood pressure may result. Angiotensin-receptor blockers , calcium channel blockers , beta blockers, and diuretics are some types of blood pressure medications.

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What Is Cardiac Syncope

Cardiac or cardiovascular syncope is caused by various heart conditions, such as bradycardia, tachycardia or certain types of hypotension. It can increase the risk of sudden cardiac death.

People suspected of having cardiac syncope but who don’t have serious medical conditions may be managed as outpatients. Further inpatient evaluation is needed if serious medical conditions are present. Conditions that may warrant hospital evaluation and treatment include various cardiac arrhythmic conditions, cardiac ischemia, severe aortic stenosis and pulmonary embolism. If evaluation suggests cardiac vascular abnormalities, an ambulatory external or implantable cardiac monitor may be required.

Heart failure, atrial fibrillation and other serious cardiac conditions can cause recurrent syncope in older adults, with a sharp increase after age 70.

Symptoms Of Low Blood Pressure In Elderly Individuals

What can I do to help my low blood pressure while pregnant?

As long as you feel OK, a low blood pressure reading is generally nothing to worry about. Doctors are not usually concerned about a low BP in otherwise healthy individuals.

So, when is blood pressure too low? You should see your healthcare provider if you experience hypotension symptoms such as:

  • Dizziness
  • Confusion or inability to concentrate
  • Nausea
  • An irregular or rapid heartbeat
  • Weakness

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Low Blood Pressure In A Teenage Girl

Sometimes, teenage girls tend to have hypotension and episodes of unconsciousness during menstruation. This could be triggered due to pain or heavy bleeding during menstruation, or due to vasovagal syncope.

Vasovagal syncope is a reflex disorder that leads to transient loss of consciousness. This is characterized by symptoms, such as acute visual disturbance, auditory disturbance, cognitive slowing, followed by hypotension with lightheadedness and loss of consciousness. However, studies found that the severity of lightheadedness changes during the menstrual cycle and was found to be similar in both VVS patients and healthy individuals.

Also, VVS patients were not found to have any greater risk of gynecological abnormalities and pregnancy complications when compared to otherwise healthy individuals. .

A few changes in lifestyle, such as taking adequate fluids and salts plus moderate exercise, can help manage this condition. However, if your teenager is having frequent episodes of lightheadedness during her periods, then it is best to schedule an appointment with a gynecologist.

Observe the symptoms to know if everything is alright with the child. The next section talks about diagnostic methods for low blood pressure in children.

Hypotension: A Clinical Care Review

Manouchehr Saljoughian, PharmD, PhDAlta Bates Summit Medical CenterBerkeley, California

US Pharm. 2014 39:2-4.

Hypotension can be just as seriousas hypertension. But the good news is that low blood pressure can beeasily recognized by key signs and symptoms. Low blood pressure occurswhen blood pressure drops below a normal range . Though itvaries from person to person, a reading of 90 mmHg or lower of systolicblood pressure or 60 mmHg or lower of diastolic blood pressure isgenerally considered hypotension. Low blood pressure is often anindicator of an underlying problem and is especially dangerous when thepressure drops suddenly. Hypotension causes an inadequate flow of bloodto the body organs and may cause stroke, heart attack, kidney failure,and shock if not treated.1

The main causes of low blood pressureinclude decrease in cardiac output, dilation of blood vessels, decreasein blood volume, inhibition of brain centers that control bloodpressure, impairment of the autonomic nervous system, and certainmedications. Treatment is determined by the cause of the low bloodpressure.1

In this clinical review, we will look at the signs and symptoms, causes, risk factors, and treatment of this condition.

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Five Things To Know About Sudden Fall In Blood Pressure And Aging

This is a summary of a letter to the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society published by ICORD researchers from the Department of Medicine at the University of British Columbia. The intention is to make physicians aware of sudden changing in blood pressure in elderly patients.

Original letter to the editor: Mills P, Gray D, Krassioukov A. Five things to know about orthostatic hypotension and aging. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. 62, 1822-3. Find the original article here.

Introduction

Five things to know about sudden fall in blood pressure and aging:

1. Orthostatic hypotension is itself a risk factor in elderly adults, and can cause accidents.

Doctors should identify elderly adults who are at risk of this condition. It can lead to falls, fractures and head injuries. Recent studies suggest the condition can affect the normal functioning of the brain.

2. Orthostatic hypotension can manifest in different ways.

The fall in blood pressure usually happens during or shortly after standing, but can happen even after three minutes following a change in body position. This delayed fall in blood pressure may escape detection during a visit to the doctor. It is important for doctors to know how the fall in blood pressure manifests if it is sudden or delayed, especially when screening high-risk patients.

3. Orthostatic hypotension occurs more often with aging. The risk is higher for those taking medication and those with conditions affecting the nervous system.

Q How Do I Know If I Have Low Blood Pressure

8 Lifestyle Changes For Lower Blood Pressure
  • If you suffer from any of the symptoms of low blood pressure as listed above, such as frequent palpitations, irregular breathing, instances of loss of consciousness, skin that is often cold and clammy to the touch, you may be suffering from low blood pressure. It is best to check with your doctor before implementing any low blood pressure diet or lifestyle change.
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    How Is It Diagnosed

    The doctor will begin the diagnosis by checking the teens medical and family health history. This is followed by a physical examination and a few tests, including cardiac examinations.

    • Auscultation method: It is the preferred method for checking blood pressure, wherein the sound from the heart is heard using a stethoscope. It requires a cuff that fits the childs upper arm .
    • Blood tests: If anemia is suspected to be the reason for low blood pressure in the child, then a blood test like hemoglobin is done. Low blood sugar could also cause hypotension, which can be evaluated through the blood test.
    • Electrocardiography: It is a standard screening tool used for detecting cardiac abnormalities in children and adolescents. The heart rate and the rhythm are evaluated through this diagnostic approach, which is typically used in the diagnosis of syncope that benign NMH can cause .
    • Tilt table test: If a child complains of dizziness for unknown reasons, then this test is done. During the test, the child has to lie on a table that tilts from a horizontal to a vertical or upright position. The doctor checks the childs reaction when the table is tilted, to diagnose orthostatic hypotension .

    Based on the diagnosis, your doctor will suggest the appropriate treatment for hypotension.

    Medications That Can Cause Low Blood Pressure

    Several medicines may cause low blood pressure, including some medications used to control high blood pressure.

    Working with your doctor or other health care provider to change your medication or adjust your dosage can help control low blood pressure. You should never modify a dose or stop taking a medication without first consulting your health care provider.

    Alpha and beta blockers, diuretics, erectile dysfunction drugs, Parkinsons disease drugs and some types of antidepressants can cause low blood pressure.

    Medications that can cause low blood pressure include:

    • Benicar a prescription blood pressure medication
    • Cialis an erectile dysfunction drug risk is especially high when taken with nitroglycerin heart medication
    • Cymbalta a serotonin and norepinephrine inhibitor antidepressant
    • Hydrochlorothiazide a widely used generic diuretic
    • Inderal, Innopran XL and other versions of propranolol beta blockers
    • Lasix a diuretic
    • Confusion

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    What Are The Signs Of Low Blood Pressure

    We hear a lot about high blood pressure and what can happen if it isn’t controlled, but having abnormally low blood pressure can be just as harmful if it not properly treated.

    Unlike high blood pressure symptoms, which are poorly defined and often totally absent, low blood pressure symptoms tend to be more upfront and easily recognizable. The development of symptoms is often a warning sign of a potentially serious underlying disorder. Generally speaking, your blood pressure would need to fall pretty dramatically before symptoms develop.

    Baroreceptor Signals Sent To The Arteries

    “When is LOW blood pressure a PROBLEM?”

    Baroreceptors communicate directly with arteries when blood pressure is too high or too low to bring it into a more appropriate level. Baroreceptors tell arteries to constrict when blood pressure is too low to help raise blood pressure. Baroreceptors tell arteries to relax when blood pressure is too high to help lower blood pressure.

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    What Are The Causes Of Low Blood Pressure

    Low blood pressure may be induced by conditions that decrease tension in artery walls or decrease blood volume. Dehydration and bleeding are two examples of conditions that reduce blood volume. Conditions that reduce the amount of blood pumped by the heart — such as cardiomyopathy and heart attack — may be associated with lower blood pressure. Injuries to the spinal cord and side effects from certain medications can also reduce blood pressure.

    How To Avoid Missing Pills

    More than half of patients with hypertension miss at least one dose a year. What is your reason for skipping a dose? Is it the cost, the side effects, or the number of pills? Whatever it is, talk to your doctor. There are many medicines available for hypertension in the market, and it is often possible to switch to another medication that suits you instead.

    References:

  • Reidenberg MM. Drug discontinuation effects are part of the pharmacology of a drug. Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics. 2011 339:324-8.
  • Corrao G, Rea F, Ghirardi A, Soranna D, Merlino L, Mancia G. Adherence with antihypertensive drug therapy and the risk of heart failure in clinical practice. Hypertension. 2015 66:742-9.
  • Karachalios GN, Charalabopoulos A, Papalimneou V, Kiortsis D, Dimicco P, Kostoula OK, et al. Withdrawal syndrome following cessation of antihypertensive drug therapy. International journal of clinical practice. 2005 59:562-70.
  • De Leeuw PW, Fagard R, Kroon AA. The effects of missed doses of amlodipine and losartan on blood pressure in older hypertensive patients. Hypertension Research. 2017 40:568.
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    What Are The Risk Factors

    Syncope is common, but adults over age 80 are at greater risk of hospitalization and death.

    Younger people without cardiac disease but who’ve experienced syncope while standing or have specific stress or situational triggers aren’t as likely to experience cardiac syncope.

    Cardiac syncope is a higher risk in: people older than age 60 men presence of known heart disease brief palpitations or sudden loss of consciousness fainting during exertion fainting while supine an abnormal cardiac exam or family history of inheritable conditions. Other existing conditions and medications used are particularly important in older patients.

    Q What Can I Do To Prevent Low Blood Pressure

    Hypothermia Signs, First Aid and Prevention
  • Consciousness towards diet and lifestyle can go a long way towards prevention. Mindfulness towards bodily movement would help reduce instances of giddiness due to postural hypotension as well. If hypotension is suspected due to medication, it is best to get a recommendation from your doctor regarding substitutes to prevent effects of low blood pressure such as weakness and fatigue.
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    Research For Your Health

    The NHLBI is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services National Institutes of Health the Nations biomedical research agency that makes important scientific discovery to improve health and save lives. We are committed to advancing science and translating discoveries into clinical practice to promote the prevention and treatment of heart, lung, blood, and sleep disorders, including problems associated with low blood pressure. Learn about current and future NHLBI efforts to improve health through research and scientific discovery.

    Low Blood Pressure Also Known As Hypotension Is When You Have A Blood Pressure Level That Is Below The Normal Range

    If your blood pressure is naturally low, this probably wont cause you any problems and wont need treating. In fact, the lower your blood pressure, the lower your risk of heart disease and stroke.

    Low blood pressure can sometimes be caused by medications or can be a sign of another health problem. This can sometimes cause problems such as falls, fainting and feeling dizzy, so it might need looking into and treating. Speak to your doctor or nurse if youre worried about low blood pressure.

    Plus, take a look at the animation below on how to manage low blood pressure when you stand up.

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