Overview Of Low Blood Pressure
Blood pressure is a measurement of the force that pushes blood throughout the body. Low blood pressure is considered anything lower than 90/60 mm Hg. Low blood pressure could indicate that the brain and limbs arent receiving adequate blood supply.
These are the most common types of low blood pressure.
- Postural hypotension or orthostatic hypotension: This type of low blood pressure happens suddenly after you move from lying down to sitting up. But its just due to changing positions and typically resolves quickly.
- Postprandial hypotension: This drop in blood pressure happens a few hours after eating. Seniors are especially prone to this type of hypotension. Eating smaller meals and drinking more water could help with this type of hypotension.
- Neurally mediated hypotension: This type of hypotension is a result of standing in place for long periods of time. It happens because of an abnormal reflex between the heart and the brain.
In addition to these types of hypotension, low blood pressure in seniors can also be caused by other factors, including:
- Low or high body temperature
- Excessive blood loss
- Cold, clammy, and pale skin
If a senior experiences these symptoms, its a good idea to talk with a healthcare provider to identify and address the underlying cause.
How Common Is This Condition
Because low blood pressure is common without any symptoms, its impossible to know how many people it really affects overall. However, orthostatic hypertension seems to be more and more common as you get older. An estimated 5% of people have it at age 50, while that figure climbs to more than 30% in people over 70.
When Should You Go To The Hospital For Low Blood Pressure
It is possible that you will require medical treatment if you have low blood pressure and develop symptoms such as cold, clammy skin, blue skin, quick or shallow breathing, heart palpitations or chest discomfort, disorientation, or loss of consciousness. Seek emergency medical attention as soon as possible.
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What Is Low Blood Pressure Or Hypotension
Hypotension is the medical term for low blood pressure, or more precisely, for blood pressure in which the top number is 90 mm Hg or less, and the bottom number is 60 mm Hg or less. It is a fact that the majority of people who fall outside the healthy blood pressure range suffer from high blood pressure, which is why they do all they can in order to lower it, but low blood pressure can cause serious health problems, as well.
On the other side, even though in the majority of the cases it is not serious, sometimes low blood pressure can be the sign of some more or less serious health condition. Problems that people suffering from hypotension may feel are dizziness, lack of concentration, nausea, increased thirst, blurred vision, shallow breathing, and fatigue. Low blood pressure doesn’t just cause people to feel physically weak, however, it can also be connected with mental health problems such as depression and a low mood.
If the symptoms of low blood pressure are felt rather frequently, or you have checked your blood pressure regularly and know it often drops below the healthy levels of 120/80, a doctor should be consulted, because sometimes it may be necessary to monitor the blood pressure for a particular period of time.
When To Contact A Medical Professional
If low blood pressure causes a person to pass out , seek treatment right away. Or call 911 or the local emergency number. If the person is not breathing or has no pulse, begin CPR.
- Black or maroon stools
Hypotension Blood pressure – low Postprandial hypotension Orthostatic hypotension Neurally mediated hypotension NMH
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What Is Blood Pressure
Blood pressure is the force of blood pushing on the artery walls as it is pumped out of the heart. Blood pressure is measured in two kinds of pressures. Systolic pressure is when the heart beats while pumping blood. Diastolic pressure is when the heart is at rest between beats.
Blood pressure is measured in millimeters of mercury . Systolic pressure is listed first , then diastolic pressure .
Normal blood pressure in adults is less than 120/80 mmHg.Low blood pressure is a reading below 90/60 mmHg.
Most forms of hypotension happen because your body can’t bring blood pressure back to normal or can’t do it fast enough.
For some people, low blood pressure is normal. They have it all the time, with no symptoms or negative side effects.
In other people, abnormally low blood pressure is caused by certain medical conditions or factors. When this happens, less blood and oxygen flow to the body’s organs.
Postural Or Orthostatic Hypotension
Postural or orthostatic hypotension occurs when your blood pressure falls after a sudden movement. For example, you may feel dizzy or faint after changing posture, such as sitting up from a lying position, or standing up from a sitting position. This may cause you to lose your balance and fall over. You may also feel light-headed, have blurred vision, or lose consciousness.
The symptoms of postural or orthostatic hypotension should only last a few minutes as your blood pressure adjusts to your new position. This type of low blood pressure tends to affect people more as they get older when it can lead to more frequent falls. Similar symptoms may also occur after exercise.
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Medications That Can Cause Low Blood Pressure
Medications might also cause your blood pressure to become too low.
If a medication youre taking causes your blood pressure to become too low, your doctor may adjust the dosage or change the medication. This usually improves the hypotension.
Hypotension doesnt always cause symptoms. But sometimes low blood pressure means your vital organs arent receiving as much blood flow as they need. If this happens, you might feel tired or unwell. Symptoms of hypotension may include:
- fatigue, an all-around sense of tiredness or lacking energy
- lightheadedness, or feeling like you might faint
- dizziness, feeling off-balance when you get up from a reclined or seated position, or while youre standing
- nausea, a sense of discomfort in your stomach and feeling like you want to vomit
- clammy skin, when you feel damp or sweaty to the touch
- depression, persistent feelings such as sadness or low mood that interfere with your daily activities
Your treatment plan will depend on whats causing your hypotension. Your doctor will consider factors including:
- the type of hypotension youre experiencing
- the situations that may be causing hypotension for you
For some people, low blood pressure may not cause any symptoms. In cases where treatment is needed, your doctor may recommend lifestyle changes, medical treatment, or a combination of both.
Risks Of Low Blood Pressure
Low blood pressure can typically be managed with treatment, so seniors can continue to maintain their quality of life. However, if left untreated, low blood pressure can pose serious health risks to seniors.
- Dangerous Falls: The primary risk for seniors with low blood pressure is fall-related injury. Low blood pressure can cause dizziness and fainting, which can both lead to falls. Seniors are already at a higher risk of falling due to loss of balance, muscle loss, and other factors. So low blood pressure just increases that risk. Falls can lead to fractures, sprains, and even fatalities.
- Shock: Extremely low blood pressure can lead to shock because organs are not getting the blood supply that they need. To help conserve blood and oxygen supply, organs may shut down, ultimately leading to permanent organ damage or death. When shock begins to set in, a senior may experience confusion, start breathing rapidly, and have a weak but rapid pulse.
- Heart problems: Low blood pressure can cause your heart to work overtime as it tries to pump faster and harder to get your blood pressure up. This extra work can cause permanent heart damage and even cause heart failure. Seniors may also be at risk for blood clots, which can lead to stroke or deep vein thrombosis.
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Risk Of Injury From Falls
If your blood pressure is low enough, the drop can cause symptoms such as fainting or dizziness.This causes a significant risk of falling since youre not conscious to stop the fall. Additionally, youre not aware of how badly youve injured yourself during a fainting spell. This can lead to serious injuries, such as head trauma from hitting your head.
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When To Be Concerned
When low blood pressure comes with a symptom like dizziness or feeling light-headed, you could be at risk for a serious fall. “If you find that you often feel like you’re going to swoon when standing up, call your doctor,” says Dr. Osborne.
Have your blood pressure taken when lying down, sitting up and standing to look for any changes. The answer may be as simple as taking more time when getting up. Also review all your medications to see if any adjustments need to be made. Your doctor might also want to test you for possible underlying medical conditions.
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Some low blood pressure symptoms are more worrisome. “If you faint, lose consciousness, aren’t able to concentrate, have vision changes like blurry vision or the loss of peripheral vision, or are very flushed, call 9-1-1,” says Dr. Osborne.
Fainting is one of the most common reasons older people go to the emergency room, according to an April 2017 report in the Journal of Emergency Medicine. Tests and treatment will depend on your specific situation, but you’ll most likely have an examination, an ECG and a review of your personal medical history.
What Is Low Blood Pressure
Hypotension is the medical term for low blood pressure .
A blood pressure reading appears as two numbers. The first and higher of the two is a measure of systolic pressure, or the pressure in the arteries when the heart beats and fills them with blood. The second number measures diastolic pressure, or the pressure in the arteries when the heart rests between beats.
Optimal blood pressure is less than 120/80 . In healthy people, low blood pressure without any symptoms is not usually a concern and does not need to be treated. But low blood pressure can be a sign of an underlying problem — especially in the elderly — where it may cause inadequate blood flow to the heart, brain, and other vital organs.
Chronic low blood pressure with no symptoms is almost never serious. But health problems can occur when blood pressure drops suddenly and the brain is deprived of an adequate blood supply. This can lead to dizziness or lightheadedness. Sudden drops in blood pressure most commonly occur in someone who’s rising from a lying down or sitting position to standing. This kind of low blood pressure is known as postural hypotension or orthostatic hypotension. Another type of low blood pressure can occur when someone stands for a long period of time. This is called neurally mediated hypotension.
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How To Raise Low Blood Pressure
If youre dealing with hypotension, the first step is making an appointment with your doctor. After discussing your medical history, lifestyle, and other factors, your doctor may change your medication or suggest certain lifestyle changes to get to the root of the issue.
Its important not to stop taking any medications or change dosages without talking to a healthcare professional first. The same is true of dietary or other changes.
Elderly Blood Pressure Range For Men And Women
Guidelines for blood pressure targets in older adults differ among medical organizations. The American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association updated their guidelines in 2017 to recommend men and women who are 65 or older aim for a blood pressure lower than 130/80 mm Hg.
|Blood pressure categories for adults 65+||Systolic mm Hg|
|High blood pressure crisis||180 or higher||120 or higher|
Older adults whose blood pressure is elevated but lower than 130/80 mm Hg can help regulate their blood pressure through lifestyle changes such as increasing physical activity, eating a heart-healthy diet thats low in salt, and limiting alcohol.
The updated ACC and AHA guidelines recommend that older adults with a blood pressure reading of 130/80 mm Hg or higher be treated with medication. As blood pressure continues to rise, seniors will enter stage 1 to indicate that hypertension is at a severe level. If numbers continue to increase, seniors will be in stage 2. If blood pressure continues to increase, seniors will be in a high blood pressure crisis. Previous recommendations set the threshold for high blood pressure treatment with medication for adults 65 or older at 150/80 mm Hg.
This change aims to reduce the risk of heart disease in older adults. However, your loved ones doctor will assess their overall health and any other conditions before determining the best course of action to help your aging parent control their blood pressure.
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Transient Hypotension In Elderly Hypertensive Patients: What And How To Manage
Dr. Svetlana A. Ermasova
Prof. Yury G. Shvarts
Hypertension treatment in the elderly population should be aimed not only at achieving target pressures, but also at preventing transient hypotensive episodes. This is especially true for symptomatic hypotension events. The patients malaise during such episodes is indicative of the deterioration of blood flow in their vital organs . Half of patients with age-associated arterial hypertension develop transient hypotension. The emergence and increased frequency of such episodes at normal average systolic blood pressure can be predictors of acute cardiovascular and cerebrovascular incidents in elderly patients with arterial hypertension. Patients with symptomatic episodes of hypotension need titration of therapy that takes into account any risks posed by medications.
ABPM ambulatory blood pressure monitoring
BP blood pressure
HBPM home blood pressure monitoring
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Drink Plenty Of Water
Dehydration can sometimes lead to low blood pressure. Some people may have hypotension even with mild dehydration.
You can also get dehydrated by losing water too quickly. This can happen through vomiting, severe diarrhea, fever, strenuous exercise, and excess sweating.
Medications such as diuretics may also cause dehydration. Drink more water by using a portable water bottle. Use an alarm or timer to remind you to take a sip.
Living With Low Blood Pressure
Medicines and lifestyle changes can help you live safely with chronic low blood pressure. Your doctor can recommend steps you can take to manage your low blood pressure. These actions can help control the condition:
Drink more water. This can help avoid dehydration.
Medicines and lifestyle changes can help you live safely with chronic low blood pressure.
Avoid alcohol. Alcoholic beverages are dehydrating, and alcohol changes how medicines work in your body.
Slow down. Take your time when standing up. If lying down, sit up first. Then wiggle your feet and move your legs. This will increase circulation and get your heart rate up so that you dont feel lightheaded when you stand up.
If your medicine and lifestyle changes do not reduce your low blood pressure symptoms, talk with your doctor about other changes you can make.
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How Can I Control My Blood Pressure
You can often lower your blood pressure by changing your day-to-day habits and by taking medication if needed. Treatment, especially if you have other medical conditions such as diabetes, requires ongoing evaluation and discussions with your doctor.
Lifestyle changes you can make to help prevent and lower high blood pressure:
In addition to recommending lifestyle changes, your doctor will likely prescribe medication to lower your blood pressure to a safe level. Isolated systolic hypertension, the most common form of high blood pressure in older adults, is treated in the same way as regular high blood pressure but may require more than one type of blood pressure medication. You may try several kinds or combinations of medications before finding a plan that works best for you. Medication can control your blood pressure, but it can’t cure it. If your doctor starts you on medication for high blood pressure, you may need to take it long-term.
What Are The New Blood Pressure Guidelines For Seniors 2020
If you are under the age of 60, the new standards make no difference. In contrast, if youre 60 or older, the bar has been raised: Ideally, you want to keep your blood pressure around 150/90 or below. It used to be that your goal blood pressure was 130/80 or below today its 140/90 or lower if you had renal disease or diabetes.
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