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What Happens If Blood Pressure Is Too Low

Severe Hypotension Related To Shock

Low Diastolic Blood Pressure Symptoms

While some of the causes of severe hypotension in shock may also cause orthostatic hypotension, the blood pressure drop is much more severe with the formerand it doesn’t return to normal.

The causes of hypotensive shock include:

  • Major blood loss
  • Severe fluid loss from diarrhea, burns, or overuse of diuretics
  • Cardiogenic shock due heart attack, arrhythmia, or pulmonary embolism
  • Vasodilatory shock seen in head injury, liver failure, poisoning, or anaphylaxis.

Shock is a medical emergency and you must call 9-1-1 to get medical help.

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.

How Is Low Blood Pressure Diagnosed

See your doctor if you often have the symptoms listed above. They will measure your blood pressure and ask you questions about your medical history and lifestyle. They might refer you for blood tests or an electrocardiogram to see if there are any underlying conditions causing the low blood pressure.

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Blood Pressure: How Low Is Too Low

Many of us worry about high blood pressure. And for good reason. It leads to heart disease and increases your risk of stroke and early death.

Thats why millions of Americans take hypertension medications. But a Harvard University analysis recently revealed a surprising new danger associated with these drugs. They might actually be too effective in reducing blood pressure.

Optimal blood pressure is about 120/80. After age 60, these numbers increase slightly. But when blood pressure is more than 140/90, doctors usually recommend medication to lower it.

Harvard researchers analyzed two major studies and found that lower blood pressure is not always better.

One study followed more than 11,000 adults for 30 years. None of the participants had heart disease at the beginning of the study. They averaged 57 years of age.

Scientists found that people with slightly low diastolic blood pressure of 60 to 69 mm/Hg were not healthier. In fact, they were 2.2 times more likely to have heart damage as people with diastolic blood pressure between 80 and 89.

A second study collected data on more than 22,000 people with heart disease from 45 countries. It was published in the journal The Lancet.

As expected, they found that people with systolic blood pressure of 140 or higher and diastolic blood pressure higher than 80 were more likely to suffer heart attacks or strokes.

But there was another, more surprising finding

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Low Blood Pressure Definition And Facts

Diastolic blood pressure: How low is too low?
  • Low blood pressure, also called hypotension, is blood pressure low enough that the flow of blood to the organs of the body is inadequate and symptoms and/or signs of low blood flow develop.
  • Low pressure alone, without symptoms or signs, usually is not unhealthy.
  • The symptoms of low blood pressure include lightheadedness, dizziness, and fainting. These symptoms are most prominent when individuals go from the lying or sitting position to the standing position .
  • Low blood pressure that causes an inadequate flow of blood to the body’s organs can cause strokes, heart attacks, and kidney failure. The most severe form is shock.
  • Common causes of low blood pressure include a reduced volume of blood, heart disease, and medications.
  • The cause of low blood pressure can be determined with blood tests, radiologic studies, and cardiac testing to look for heart failure and arrhythmias.
  • Treatment of low blood pressure is determined by the cause of the low pressure.

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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

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.

Learn more:

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When Blood Pressure Is Too Low

Whether blood pressure is too low has more to do with how you feel than the measured number. A blood pressure of 90/60 mmHG may be normal for someone young and healthy, but may cause symptoms of lightheadedness or weakness in an older patient or someone with other health conditions, Dr. Courson says.

What Causes High Blood Pressure And What Is A Normal Reading

“When is LOW blood pressure a PROBLEM?”

MANY people worry about their blood pressure level as a high reading can be dangerous for your health.

If your blood pressure is too high it can put a strain on your heart, but what is a normal reading and what should you do if it’s too high?

It’s important to keep on top of your blood pressure here’s what to make of the reading

When your heart beats it moves blood around your body and, as it flows, the blood pushes against the sides of the blood vessels.

The strength of this pushing is your blood pressure.

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What Are The Symptoms Of High Blood Pressure

Most people who have high blood pressure do not have symptoms. This is why its sometimes called the silent killer. It is very important to have your blood pressure checked regularly.

Some people experience headaches, nosebleeds, or shortness of breath with high blood pressure. However, those symptoms can mimic many other things . Usually, these symptoms occur once blood pressure has reached a dangerously high level over a period of time.

Recent Findings Raise Concerns About Lowering Diastolic Blood Pressure The Second Number In Your Blood Pressure Reading Too Far

More of us than ever before are taking medications to lower our blood pressure. Longstanding guidelines suggest that most people should aim for a systolic blood pressure no higher than 140 millimeters of mercury . But in 2015, the results of the Systolic Blood Pressure Intervention Trial suggested that reaching a target of 120 mm Hg could further reduce the risks associated with high blood pressure, including heart attack, stroke, heart failure, and death.

Yet reaching that lower target often requires three blood pressure medications, which can increase the likelihood of side effects. Two observational studies and one clinical trial have raised concerns about lowering blood pressure particularly diastolic pressure too far. Diastolic blood pressure represents the pressure between beats when the heart relaxes. “When your systolic blood pressure gets too low, it can manifest as lightheadedness, fainting, and weakness. But low diastolic pressure by itself doesn’t have any symptoms,” says Dr. Paul Conlin, professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and chief of medicine at the VA Boston Healthcare System.

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Diagnosis For Low Blood Pressure

Your doctor will check your blood pressure and then ask you questions about any episodes youve experienced to find out if low blood pressure is the cause. Blood work or urinalysis can also provide results that indicate low blood pressure.

If your doctor suspects that another medical condition is lowering your blood pressure, youll need to complete more specific tests to learn more. If another condition is discovered, treating it can have a positive impact on your blood pressure.

You’re Nervous Or Stressed

High Blood Pressure in Midlife Is Linked to Increased ...

This is very common because stress can have such an impact on the body. If you’re anxious about something in particular , you’re probably going to end up getting a reading that is higher than usual.

On the other hand, if you are relaxed and calm when your blood pressure is checked, it’s possible that your reading will be lower. Your mental state has

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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.

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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.

Symptoms And Causes Of Low Blood Pressure

Many different conditions and situations can cause low blood pressure, from standing up too fast to being pregnant. Sometimes, low blood pressure is linked to an underlying problem. Thats why its important to see your doctor right away if you experience the signs of low blood pressure.

Symptoms of low blood pressure can include:

  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Depression

Low blood pressure can be a sign of serious heart, endocrine or neurological conditions. If left untreated, the brain and other vital organs do not get the oxygen and nutrients they need. In extreme cases, this can cause shock, a life-threatening condition.

If you show signs of low blood pressure, your doctor will conduct an exam and may perform tests to determine whats causing the condition. Low blood pressure can occur with many other conditions.

Some causes of low blood pressure are:

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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

Schedule An Appointment With Your Doctor

Video: This is when low blood pressure is cause for concern

In some cases, electronic blood pressure monitor readings might not seem accurate because there is indeed something wrong with you that you don’t know about. If you suspect this might be the case, it’s essential to see your doctor just in case! It could very well save your life and make sure that nothing terrible happens down the road.

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Take Steps To Improve Your Health

Even if electronic bp monitor readings aren’t accurate, this doesn’t mean that you should start feeling guilty about your health. Instead of beating yourself up over electronic blood pressure monitor readings, take steps to improve your health! On days when electronic BP machine readings seem unusually high or low, try eating healthier and exercising more than usual.

If all electronic blood pressure readings seem consistently too high or low, it might be a good idea to consult your doctor for advice on electronic bp monitor accuracy. At the very least, they will give you advice for how you can improve your digital BP monitor readings.

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

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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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What To Do If You Have High Blood Pressure

If you have heart disease, you may want to check that your diastolic blood pressure doesn’t fall too far below 70 mm Hg, which can happen when you try to reach a low systolic number. “For a systolic blood pressure goal, I tend to be comfortable with a value of around 130,” Dr. Conlin says. Going lower than that carries an increased risk of side effects and other adverse events.

Everyone is unique. Your medical history, current state of health, lifestyle, and willingness to take additional medication and accept certain risks all play a role in determining your blood pressure goal and how to achieve it. Talk to your doctor about the strategy that makes the most sense for you.

Is Low Blood Pressure A Problem

For some people, low blood pressure is a sign of good health. These are generally people who are very fit and who have a slow pulse. For other people, low blood pressure is a problem.

Often, people with low blood pressure can be expected to lead longer lives.

However, people who experience continuing symptoms of low blood pressure should see a doctor. Sudden, severe low blood pressure can be associated with serious medical conditions.

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What A Sudden Drop In Blood Pressure Means

Sudden drops in blood pressure can occur for any number of reasons, some of which may be incidental and of no real concern, while others may the sign of a potentially life-threatening condition.

Sudden drops in blood pressure are often recognized by symptoms ranging from mild lightheadedness and fatigue to severe heart rhythm problems and respiratory distress.

Although low blood pressure is easily diagnosed with a blood pressure cuff , the underlying cause of sudden, severe drops may require extensive investigation, including a physical exam, lab tests, cardiac monitoring, and imaging studies.

Low Diastolic Pressure: No Symptoms

Don’t ignore diastolic blood pressure

“When your systolic blood pressure gets too low, it can manifest as lightheadedness, fainting, and weakness. But low diastolic pressure by itself doesn’t have any symptoms,” says Dr. Paul Conlin, professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and chief of medicine at the VA Boston Healthcare System.

One of the new studies, which analyzed the medical records of more than 11,000 adults over a period of three decades, found that people who had low diastolic blood pressure were twice as likely to have subtle evidence of heart damage compared with people whose diastolic blood pressure was 80 to 89 mm Hg. Low diastolic values were also linked to a higher risk of heart disease and death from any cause. The findings appeared in the Aug. 30, 2016, Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Another study, published in The Lancet, involved more than 22,000 people with heart disease, whom researchers grouped according to their blood pressure readings. People with well-controlled blood pressure values were considered the reference group.

Not surprisingly, people with high systolic blood pressure were more likely to experience heart attacks or strokes, be hospitalized with heart failure, or to die compared with people in the reference group. But the same was true for heart attacks, heart failure, and death in people with low blood pressure .

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