What Causes Low Blood Pressure
The cause of low blood pressure isn’t always clear. It may be associated with the following:
- Severe dehydration from vomiting, diarrhea, or fever
- A reaction to medication or alcohol
- A severe allergic reaction called anaphylaxis that causes an irregular heartbeat
Who Gets Postural Hypotension?
Postural hypotension, which is low blood pressure when standing up suddenly, can happen to anyone for a variety of reasons, such as dehydration, lack of food, or being overly fatigued. It can also be influenced by genetic make-up, aging, medication, dietary and psychological factors, and acute triggers, such as infection and allergy.
Postural hypotension occurs most frequently in people who are taking drugs to control high blood pressure . It can also be related to pregnancy, strong emotions, hardening of the arteries , or diabetes. The elderly are particularly affected, especially those who have high blood pressure or autonomic nervous system dysfunction.
Hypotension after meals is a common cause of dizziness and falls after eating. This is most common after large meals containing a lot of carbohydrates. Itâs believed to be caused by blood pooling into the vessels of the stomach and intestines.
Several drugs are commonly associated with postural hypotension. These medications can be divided into two major categories:
Common causes of naturally occurring postural hypotension include:
Certain diseases can also cause postural hypotension. These include:
How Does Blood Pressure Work
During relaxation of the heart , the left ventricle of the heart fills with blood returning from the lungs. The left ventricle then contracts and pumps blood into the arteries . The blood pressure in the arteries during contraction of the ventricle is higher because blood is being actively ejected into the arteries. It is lower during relaxation of the ventricle when no blood is being ejected into the arteries. The pulse we feel when we place our fingers over an artery is caused by the contraction of the left ventricle and the ejection of blood.
Blood pressure is determined by two factors:
Generally, blood pressure tends to be higher if more blood is pumped into the arteries or if the arterioles are narrow and/or stiff. Narrow and/or stiff arterioles, by resisting the flow of blood, increase blood pressure. Arterioles may become narrower when the muscles surrounding them contract. Arterioles may become stiff and narrow when older patients develop atherosclerosis.
Blood pressure tends to be lower if less blood is being pumped into the arteries or if the arterioles are larger and more flexible and, therefore, have less resistance to the flow of blood.
The heart rate increases and the forcefulness of the heart’s contractions increase, pumping more blood through the heart.
How Is Pulmonary Hypertension Treated
Appropriate diagnosis and analysis of the problem is necessary before starting any treatment. Treatment varies by patient, based on the different underlying causes, but generally includes:
- Taking medications
Listed below are medication, lifestyle and dietary suggestions, and surgical treatment approaches.
Many different types of medications are available to treat pulmonary hypertension. Treatment choices, such as those listed below, depend on the underlying cause of pulmonary hypertension, how severe the pulmonary hypertension is, how likely it is to progress, and a patientâs drug tolerance.
- Know the names of your medications and how they work. Keep a list with you.
- Take your medications at the same time every day. If you forget a dose, do not take two doses to make up for the dose you missed.
- Do not take any over-the-counter drugs unless you ask your doctor or pharmacist first. Some drugs such as decongestants and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory agents can cause problems in people who have heart failure. Also avoid any over-the-counter medications whose labels state that caution is to be used if you have high blood pressure.
- Do not stop taking or change your medications unless you first talk with your doctor.
- Avoid herbal products because of their uncertain effects when combined with medications used for pulmonary hypertension.
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Diet And Nutrition For Low Blood Pressure
A balanced meal with complex carbohydrates, fish, lean meat, fruits and cooked vegetables goes a long way in preventing hypotension. Changing meal patterns to make them more frequent and less heavy prevent as well as address postprandial fatigue and hypotension.
On diagnosis of a dip in BP, a low blood pressure diet that supplies adequate sodium, and potassium while maintaining blood sugar levels is generally recommended for patients.Increased consumption of non-alcoholic beverages helps maintain adequate hydration and is recommended. Increasing salt quantities or addition of soy sauce in everyday cooking is a simple change that combats effects of low blood pressure and may be suggested by your doctor.
Treatment Of Low Blood Pressure
Unless accompanied by other conditions, low blood pressure is usually easy to treat and does not require much medication. Often, a low blood pressure diet may be prescribed, or a change in lifestyle may become necessary. Common recommendations include:
Increased intake of water: Dehydration can cause an electrolyte imbalance resulting in signs of low blood pressure, and care towards adequate hydration would be important, especially in high temperature situations, during fevers or dysentery.
Increased sodium in diet: Salted nuts, cheeses and cured fish and meats are high in sodium content, and would help stabilize blood pressure in case it is very low. Care must be taken to not overdo it, however, and for a balance to be maintained.
Limiting alcohol consumption: Alcohol consumption can cause fluctuation in heart rate and limiting its consumption for some time will help alleviate symptoms of low blood pressure in otherwise healthy individuals.
Exercise: Light exercises not involving much strain to the body help improve circulation of blood throughout, and keep the heart healthy. In cases of low blood pressure, it is important to be aware of its symptoms such as palpitations and cold skin so that exercising does not aggravate the condition.
Ceasing any aggravating medication:If intake of certain medication is seen to cause dips in blood pressure, your doctor may recommend a substitute for the drug, or even stopping its consumption till pressure is stabilized.
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What Is Pulmonary Hypertension
Pulmonary hypertension is a rare lung disorder in which the arteries that carry blood from the heart to the lungs become narrowed, making it difficult for blood to flow through the vessels. As a result, the blood pressure in these arteries called pulmonary arteries rises far above normal levels. This abnormally high pressure strains the right ventricle of the heart, causing it to expand in size. Overworked and enlarged, the right ventricle gradually becomes weaker and loses its ability to pump enough blood to the lungs. This could lead to the development of right heart failure.
PH occurs in individuals of all ages, races, and ethnic backgrounds, although it is much more common in young adults and is approximately twice as common in women as in men.
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Shock And Low Diastolic Blood Pressure Symptoms
In rare cases, low diastolic blood pressure can lead to shock. Shock is extremely dangerous and be caused by reduced blood flow throughout the body. Because of this the following low blood pressure and shock symptoms are important to be aware of 9:
- Cold, clammy skin
- Weak pulse
- Extreme weakness
Low diastolic blood pressure is often caused by another medical condition. Physicians will often treat low blood pressure by addressing the underlying cause.
Low Blood Pressure In Elderly People: The Vital Facts You Should Know
Most people are aware that high blood pressure in seniors can lead to serious medical issues, but low blood pressure in elderly individuals gets far less attention. However, blood pressure that drops too low can have equally serious effects on your health. It’s important to know the facts so that you can take proper care of yourself.
A low blood pressure reading is not necessarily cause for panic. While high blood pressure is harmful even if you don’t know you have it, low blood pressure is generally not a problem unless you start experiencing symptoms like dizziness or blurred vision. If that happens, you need to take action. Symptomatic low blood pressure in the elderly can be very dangerous because it raises the risk of a fall. At its most extreme, it can lead to shock and even death.
This article explains the basic facts about blood pressure, including how it’s measured and what the measurements mean. It also describes common symptoms of low blood pressure and outlines a variety of factors that can cause such a condition. And it provides information about different ways that low blood pressure in older adults can be treated or managed.
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Check Your Blood Sugar
Diabetes and high blood sugar levels may lead to low blood pressure. Volume depletion can occur from the diuresis that follows high blood sugar levels. This is when your body tries to expel glucose via increased urination.
Consider using a home monitor to check your blood sugar levels throughout the day. See your doctor to find out the best diet, exercise, and medication plan to help balance blood sugar levels.
Treatment For Low Blood Pressure
Having low blood pressure is not always an immediate cause for concern. Many people with low blood pressure are unaware that they have it. Doctors may only consider treatment for low blood pressure if it causes troubling symptoms.
People who experience temporary symptoms of low blood pressure, such as lightheadedness or increased heart rate after standing up too quickly, should sit down to rest until the symptoms subside.
People who frequently experience these symptoms must take great care when moving from a prone position to standing to avoid falling.
If a medication causes symptoms of low blood pressure, doctors may recommend switching medications or lowering a dosage. A person should only change their medication under the guidance of a doctor.
The note that some people may not need treatment for low blood pressure at all. However, for those that do, possible treatments may include:
- drinking water to avoid dehydration
- taking medications to raise the blood pressure
- changing eating habits
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What Are Some Of The Other Investigations That Can Be Done To Low Blood Pressure
If we suspect that you have frequent debilitating symptoms as a direct result of low blood pressure, we would like to confirm this usually by observing the blood pressure directly whilst you are having symptoms. If an active stand doesnt show this, a different kind of test, termed the tilt table test 2, may be performed, where patients are hooked up to continuous beat-to-beat monitoring of blood pressure and heart rate, and tilted in a bed with supportive foot rests, upright to 60° angle for approximately 20 minutes. During tilt table test, sublingual nitrate , may be given to provoke a low blood pressure state to see if the symptoms can be reproduced and correlated to changes in blood pressure and heart rate. This test is harmless, but can be very helpful in elucidating a clear mechanism of symptom onset in relation to blood pressure and heart rate changes.
Image 1 Normal Tilt test:
Image 2: Tilt test positive for low blood pressure state causing syncope
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What Procedures And Tests Diagnose Low Blood Pressure
In some people, particularly relatively healthy ones, symptoms of weakness, dizziness, and fainting raise the suspicion of low blood pressure. In others, an event often associated with low blood pressure, for example, a heart attack, has occurred to cause the symptoms.
Measuring blood pressure in both the lying and standing positions usually is the first step in diagnosing low blood pressure. In patients with symptomatic low blood pressure, there often is a marked drop in blood pressure upon standing, and patients may even develop orthostatic symptoms. The heart rate often increases. The goal is to identify the cause of the low blood pressure. Sometimes the causes are readily apparent . At other times, the cause may be identified by testing:
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Changing The Diameter Of Arterioles And Veins
Muscle tissue within the walls of arterioles allow these blood vessels to widen or narrow . The more constricted arterioles are, the greater their resistance to blood flow and the higher the blood pressure. Constriction of arterioles increases blood pressure because more pressure is needed to force blood through the narrower space. Conversely, dilation of arterioles reduces resistance to blood flow, thus reducing blood pressure. The degree to which arterioles are constricted or dilated is affected by
Nerves that contract smooth muscle in the arterioles, thus reducing their diameter
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Veins also play a role in the control of blood pressure, although their effect on blood pressure is much less than that of arterioles. Veins dilate and constrict to change how much blood they can hold . When veins constrict, their capacity to hold blood is reduced, allowing more blood to return to the heart from which it is pumped into the arteries. As a result, blood pressure increases. Conversely, when veins dilate, their capacity to hold blood is increased, allowing less blood to return to the heart. As a result, blood pressure decreases.
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When To See Your Gp
You should see your GP if you have frequent symptoms of low blood pressure. Your GP can measure your blood pressure and help identify any underlying causes of the problem.
All adults should have their blood pressure checked at least every five years. If you haven’t had yours measured or don’t know what your reading is, ask your practice nurse or GP to check it.
Q What Can Cause Low Blood Pressure
- Nutrition deficiency in the diet
- Certain antidepressants
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What Causes Low Blood Pressure With A High Heart Rate
Written byMohan GarikiparithiPublished onOctober 24, 2017
Having a condition characterized by low blood pressure and high heart rate may be cause for concern, prompting a visit to your local physician. Tachycardia, also known as a high heart rate, is a term used to refer to a pulse rate greater than 100 beats per minute and may be a reflex when the body senses a fall inblood pressure. This is generally considered a normal transient physiologic response that occurs to help correct an abnormality in blood pressure.
However, there are pathological conditions causinglow blood pressureand high heart rate, such as when the neural connections between the heart and the brain become dysfunctional, often leading to fainting spells. This condition, as well as others, should be assessed by a trained physician to find the underlying cause.
How Can You Prevent Low Blood Pressure Symptoms
If you have orthostatic hypotension, your doctor may suggest that you try some simple ways to prevent symptoms like dizziness. For example, you can:
- Stand up slowly.
- Drink little or no alcohol.
- Limit or avoid caffeine.
- Wear compression stockings.
If you feel dizzy or light-headed, sit down or lie down for a few minutes. Or you can sit down and put your head between your knees. This will help your blood pressure go back to normal and help your symptoms go away.
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Q What Can I Do To Prevent Low Blood Pressure
Only When You Lie Down At Night
Q: Which symptoms indicate that the chest pain is less serious?
A: Other clues of less serious causes of chest pain or tightness would be if you really experience the chest pain only when you lie down at night or if you have chest pain after eating large meals. Those symptoms would indicate that its reflux. If theres a burning quality to the pain along with it, that would also indicate that its reflux.
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