Changing The Volume Of Blood
The higher the volume of blood in the arteries, the higher the blood pressureâas long as the width of the arteries remains constant. The volume of blood in the arteries is affected by
How much fluid is in the body
Whether very small arteries leak fluid
How much fluid the kidneys remove from the blood to excrete in the urine
Certain drugs, particularly diuretics
What Are The Potential Complications Of Low Blood Pressure
Because low blood pressure can be due to serious diseases, failure to seek treatment can result in serious complications and permanent damage. Once the underlying cause is diagnosed, it is important for you to follow the treatment plan that you and your health care professional design specifically for you to reduce the risk of potential complications including:
- Brain damage
About Low Blood Pressure
Your blood pressure is a measure of the force that your blood puts on the walls of your arteries as it’s pumped around your body. Youll see blood pressure shown as two numbers such as 120/80mmHg. The first number is the highest pressure when your heart contracts this is your systolic blood pressure. The second number is the pressure when your heart is fully relaxed this is your diastolic blood pressure. The letters mmHg stand for millimetres of mercury, which is the unit used to measure blood pressure.
Theres no set level at which your blood pressure is said to be too low its different for everyone. You might have a blood pressure thats naturally lower than average but if it doesnt cause you any problems, it wont be classed as low blood pressure. Your blood pressure is usually only considered to be too low if its causing symptoms.
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What Is Low Blood Pressure/hypotension
Low blood pressure or hypotension is a condition where the systolic and diastolic pressure falls below 90 and 60 respectively. Blood pressure is usually measured in millimetres of mercury, and normal blood pressure is usually slightly less than 120/80 mm Hg.
To have low blood pressure is not always a concern however, chronic hypotension can cause a lack of blood flow to the brain, causing dizziness, blackouts or loss of consciousness, and may even be life-threatening in severe cases.
More often, low blood pressure is a symptom of a different concern, such as plaque build-up, a heart disorder or aging related medical conditions, making it necessary to pay attention to signs of low blood pressure in its initial stages.
How Blood Pressure Is Measured And What The Readings Mean
Blood pressure is expressed as two numbers, with one “over” the other. The first, or top, number is the systolic blood pressure. This indicates the amount of pressure your blood exerts against the walls of your arteries when your heart contracts. The second, or bottom, number is the diastolic pressure, which refers to the amount of pressure in your arteries when your heart refills between beats.
Your healthcare provider typically measures your blood pressure using a stethoscope and an inflatable cuff that wraps around your upper arm. The cuff is inflated until it is tight enough to stop the blood from flowing, then it is slowly deflated. Through the stethoscope, your doctor or nurse will hear the whooshing sound of the blood returning this is the systolic pressure. The moment the whooshing sound disappears marks the diastolic pressure.
The commonly accepted ideal blood pressure for adults is 120/80 mm Hg or lower. But since blood pressure naturally rises with age, your BP might be higher than that without any cause for concern. For instance, according to a chart from Disabled World, a normal blood pressure reading for an 80-year-old woman could be 134/84 mm Hg.
So, what is considered low blood pressure in elderly people? Typically, the low blood pressure range is anything below 90/60 mm Hg. This is called hypotension. The Disabled World chart shows that a dangerous blood pressure level is 50/33 mm Hg.
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Q What Can Cause Low Blood Pressure
- Nutrition deficiency in the diet
- Certain antidepressants
The Causes Of Low Blood Pressure In Adults: 8 Reasons
Hypotension is a term as the pressure of your blood exerted against the walls of your blood vessels after as well as during every heartbeat is often lower than normal. The phenomenon affects many people around the world. Many of us usually face the trouble, but we tend to pass it as another case of dehydration or dizziness. Constant low blood pressure may obstruct oxygen and other necessary nutrients from flowing towards your brain, which may cause fatality or even death. In this article, VKool.com will show you the causes of low blood pressure in adults: 8 reasons. The writing collected a list of low blood pressure causes from reliable sources. Keep reading this writing to learn more these 8 low blood pressure causes in more detail!
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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
Hormones that are primarily made by the kidneys
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.
When Should You See A Doctor For Low Blood Pressure
Low blood pressure is not always a reason for concern. It can be normal for certain people. If you do not have symptoms, it may only require monitoring during your annual checkup.
If you get dizzy or lightheaded once in a while, keep track of the circumstances. People with low blood pressure may find they get dizzy after a hot bath, being in the sun a long time, or other situations. Mention this to your doctor and take precautions to avoid falls and other problems. Try drinking more water or have a sports drink or electrolyte replacement drink. Including salt in your diet can help as well. Your doctor can help you find the right balance for you.
or go to your nearest emergency room for potentially serious hypotension symptoms including:
- , fainting, or loss of consciousness
- Falls that result in potential injuries
- Heart attack or stroke symptoms
- Pale, cold or
- Problems breathing, , or breathing that is rapid or shallow
- Swelling of the face, lips, tongue or throat
- Uncontrollable bleeding
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When Is Low Blood Pressure Too Low Hypotension And More
Some people naturally have low blood pressure, known as hypotension. However, when high blood pressure suddenly becomes low blood pressure, it could be cause for concern.
Low blood pressure, or hypotension, may be a sign of good health and of a decreased risk of heart disease. But not always. At times, continually low blood pressure or a sudden drop in blood pressure can lead to worrisome symptoms and even serious health problems.
What Other Conditions Cause Low Blood Pressure
Sometimes, a bacterial or fungal infection from another part of the body enters the blood. This type of infection is called septicemia. It’s potentially life-threatening and may cause severe low blood pressure called septic shock that may damage organs. Septicemia may result from diverticulitis, pneumonia, urinary tract infection, or other infections.
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If You Notice A Sudden Decline In Blood Pressure
A single lower-than-normal reading is not cause for alarm, unless you are experiencing any other symptoms or problems. If you experience any dizziness, lightheadedness, nausea or other symptoms, its a good idea to consult with your healthcare provider. To help with your diagnosis, keep a record of your symptoms and activities at the time they occurred.
Is low blood pressure related to low heart rate? Find out.
Written by American Heart Association editorial staff and reviewed by science and medicine advisers. See our editorial policies and staff.
Last Reviewed: Oct 31, 2016
When Should You Worry About Low Blood Pressure
As long as youre not experiencing symptoms of low blood pressure, there is no need for concern. Most doctors consider chronically low blood pressure dangerous only if it causes noticeable signs and symptoms, explains Eksteen.
These symptoms include:
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Baroreceptor Signals Sent To The Veins
If blood pressure becomes too high, baroreceptors send signals to the veins instructing them to expand and store more blood and return less blood to the heart. The result is blood flow decreases and blood pressure becomes lower. Conversely, veins can become narrower and return more blood to the heart, which increases blood pressure.
Home Remedies To Treat Low Blood Pressure Naturally
Some people naturally have low blood pressure. This generally doesnt cause any symptoms and should not be a cause for worry. Remember, low blood pressure requires treatment only when its causing symptoms that affect your normal life. If your low blood pressure is caused by an underlying condition, your doctor may initiate treatment for it. And in some cases, medication may be prescribed for your condition. However, the symptoms of low blood pressure can usually be treated with home remedies and lifestyle changes. Here are some measures you can try.
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Improving Health With Current Research
Learn about the following ways the NHLBI continues to translate current research into improved health for people with abnormally low blood pressure. Research on this topic is part of the NHLBIs broader commitment to advancing heart and vascular disease scientific discovery.
- Testing Treatments for Cardiac Arrest and Trauma. The Resuscitation Outcomes Consortium clinical trial network tested treatments to address high morbidity and mortality rates from out-of-hospital cardiac arrest and severe traumatic injury. ROC investigators compared different strategies for supplemental fluids in trauma patients who have low blood pressure. Other ROC studies found a link between low blood pressure readings and the need for emergency procedures.
- Understanding How Low Blood Pressure Affects Diverse Populations. NHLBI-supported researchers are studying low blood pressure in different populations. Investigators in the NHLBIs Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study found that people who have low blood pressure when standing up, known as orthostatic hypotension, are at higher risk for stroke. In a follow-up study of NHLBIs Honolulu Heart Program, researchers found older Japanese men who had orthostatic hypotension were nearly twice as likely to die within the next four years as those who did not have orthostatic hypotension. NHLBIs Cardiovascular Health Study found that orthostatic hypotension was common in older adults, increases with age, and is linked to cardiovascular diseases.
Low Blood Pressure When You Stand Up
Sometimes, changes in your posture can cause your blood pressure to drop, for example, going from sitting or lying down to standing up. You might feel the symptoms listed above when you stand up, such as feeling dizzy or faint. They will pass quickly as your body adjusts, but can put you at risk of falls.
This is called postural hypotension or orthostatic hypotension. Its caused by changes to your arteries which happen as you get older and if youre taking medications to lower your blood pressure.
The animation below provides information on the causes, symptoms and potential interventions related to orthostatic hypotension.
This film was produced by Newcastle University for work completed by Dr James Frith, supported by the NIHR Newcastle Biomedical Research Centre.
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Cut Down On Rapidly Digested Carbs
Foods like white rice, white bread, sugary drinks, and potatoes are quickly digested and passed from your stomach to your small intestine. This leads to postprandial hypotension. So cutting back on foods like this and adding more foods that are slowly digested for instance, protein, beans, and whole grains can help prevent your blood pressure from dipping too low after a meal.11
How To Prevent Low Blood Pressure In Teenagers
If the child has mild symptoms of low blood pressure, then minor changes in the lifestyle might be enough to prevent any problems. Here are a few measures you may consider.
- Avoid dehydration encourage them to take a lot of fluids.
- Use adequate salt in the diet.
- Make them eat a balanced diet to provide all the essential nutrients to the body.
- Tell them to avoid standing up suddenly from a sitting position.
- Let them eat smaller meals at regular intervals and cut down on the intake of carbohydrates.
- Ask them to wear compression stockings.
- If they have light-headedness or dizziness., let them lie down for a few minutes. with both feet at higher level than the body.
- Sitting down and putting the head between the knees will help get the blood pressure back to normal.
A proper diet, along with the above tips, can help manage low blood pressure better.
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Heart Rate And Exercise
In discussions about high blood pressure, you will often see heart rate mentioned in relation to exercise. Your target heart rate is based on age and can help you monitor the intensity of your exercise.
- If you measure your heart rate before, during and after physical activity, youll notice it will increase over the course of the exercise.
- The greater the intensity of the exercise, the more your heart rate will increase.
- When you stop exercising, your heart rate does not immediately return to your normal heart rate.
- The more fit you are, the sooner your heart rate will return to normal.
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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Diagnosis Of Low Blood Pressure
Your GP will ask about your symptoms and examine you. Theyll measure your blood pressure using either an automated digital device or a manual device. To find out more about how blood pressure is measured, see our animation at the top of this page, Having your blood pressure taken, in the introduction above.
If you have symptoms of postural hypotension , your GP may also measure the change in your blood pressure while youre sitting and then standing. If its much lower when you stand up compared with when youre sitting down, this suggests you have postural hypotension.
Your GP may also recommend that you have some blood tests to check your general health and an electrocardiogram to check the electrical activity of your heart. They may also ask you to have an echocardiogram if they need to check for any underlying problems affecting your heart.
If your symptoms need further investigation, your doctor may recommend that you have a tilt test. The test involves being slowly tilted from lying down to an upright position on a table as your blood pressure, heart rate and rhythm are monitored. For more information, see our FAQ: What happens in a tilt test? below.
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.
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