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What Is A Low Blood Pressure Reading

Causes Of Diastolic Hypotension By Itself

TriHealth Doctor on Call: When is a Blood Pressure Reading Too Low?

There are three known causes of isolated diastolic hypotension:

Medications

  • Alpha-blocker medications. These blood pressure medications work by causing your blood vessels to open up . Because they lower diastolic pressure more than systolic pressure, they may cause isolated diastolic hypotension. Common brand names include Minipress and Cardura.

Lifestyle

  • Aging. As we age, we lose the elasticity of our arteries. For some older adults, arteries may become too stiff to spring back between heartbeats, causing diastolic blood pressure to be low.

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.

What Is Considered A Low Blood Pressure Reading

What Is Considered A Low Blood Pressure Reading. Healthy and unhealthy blood pressure ranges. Within certain limits, the lower your blood pressure reading is, the better. Use our blood pressure chart to learn what your blood pressure levels and numbers mean, including normal blood pressure and the difference between understanding your results is key to controlling high blood pressure. Blood pressure can be categorized into five different types, namely: How low is too low for blood pressure?

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What Causes High Blood Pressure

The cause of high blood pressure, or hypertension, is often unknown. It develops over time and often happens as a result of unhealthy lifestyle choices, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention .

Occasionally, some people have hypertension caused by an underlying condition, such as kidney disease, adrenal gland tumors or thyroid disorders, says Dr. Wong. Other conditions like pregnancy, diabetes and obesity can also increase your risk.

Some people are susceptible to high blood pressure from certain medications, such as birth control pills, some decongestants and even some over-the-counter pain relievers, says Wong. Illicit drugs, such as cocaine and amphetamines may also raise blood pressure.

High blood pressure is extremely common. A 2017 to 2018 survey conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics found 45.5% of U.S. adults have hypertensionOstchega Y, et al. Hypertension prevalence among adults aged 18 and over: United States, 2017-2018. National Center for Health Statistics. Accessed 7/16/2021. .

Ptsd And High Blood Pressure

Learning to Take an Accurate Blood Pressure Reading

A growing body of research has linked post-traumatic stress disorder to high blood pressure.

Researchers arent sure about the mechanism underlying the relationship between PTSD and high blood pressure, but it may have something to do with higher levels of inflammation in patients with PTSD, which may increase blood pressure.

Since PTSD has a much higher incidence in veterans, experts say screening for high blood pressure should be routine not only in active soldiers who are at risk, but also for those who are no longer active and receive care from Veterans Affairs hospitals.

The AHA is the nations oldest and largest nonprofit organization dedicated to fighting heart disease, as well as its major risk factors, including high blood pressure. The AHA funds lifesaving research and advocates for people affected by all heart-related issues. You can also find diet and lifestyle tips for getting your blood pressure under control.

Million Hearts is a national initiative led by the CDC and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Its goal is to prevent 1 million heart attacks and strokes within five years. It focuses on small steps people can take to reduce risk factors for these heart events, including blood pressure control.

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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.

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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What To Expect Before Death

Oxygen saturation and blood pressure decreaseas a patient approaches death.Impending deathcannot be ruled in or out based on the vital sign changes. The final stages oflife are characterized by many physiologic changes such as dysphagia, analtered level of consciousness, and weakness of the muscles. In addition, othersymptoms such as respiratory rate, temperature, heart rate, and oxygensaturation may offer useful information on the time left.

Abrupt changes in the vital signsare considered to signal respiratory compromise or cardiovascular instabilityoften related to life-threatening complications. If the hypotension is followedby shortness of breath, active bleeding or chest pain, treatment may be given during thediagnostic evaluation, and the patient is transferred to an emergencydepartment. Should the patient be symptomatic, they may be in shock. This is asituation where organs do not function properly due to lack of bloodsupply.

Once the healthcare team determinesthat your patient has less than 6 months to live, they may recommend hospicecare. This is a specialized unit for patients with terminal illnesses, those expectedto die. In addition to pain relief, these units also offer spiritual andemotional support.

What is the Lowest Blood Pressurebefore Risk for Death in Elderly Patients?

Prevention And Management Of Low Diastolic Blood Pressure

Blood Pressure Facts : What Is a Low Blood Pressure Reading?

There are some things you can do to help prevent and manage low diastolic pressure.

  • Try to keep your salt intake to between 1.5 and 4 grams per day. An ideal number is probably about 3.5 grams. You can do this by reading food labels and avoiding added salt in your diet.
  • Eat a heart-healthy diet. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, and include whole grains. For protein, stick to lean meats and fish. Avoid fatty foods.
  • Drink enough fluids and avoid alcohol, which can increase your risk for dehydration.
  • Stay physically active and start an exercise program. Ask your doctor what type and amount of exercise is safe for you.
  • Maintain a healthy weight. If youre overweight, ask your doctor to help you with a safe weight loss plan.
  • Dont smoke.

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Understanding The Acc/aha Definition

It’s important to mention that the definition of high blood pressure according to the ACC/AHA differs slightly from other professional societies, such as the European Society of Cardiology and the European Society of Hypertension .

The ESC/ESH defines high blood pressure as a systolic blood pressure that is 140 mmHg or higher or a diastolic blood pressure that is 90 mmHg or higher.

The differences in definition are based on results from large studies that examined the link between blood pressure and the occurrence of heart attacks and strokes.

What’s The Difference Between Blood Pressure And Pulse

While your blood pressure is the force of your blood moving through your blood vessels, your heart rate is the number of times your heart beats per minute.

  • They are two separate measurements and indicators of health.
  • For people with high blood pressure , theres no substitute for measuring blood pressure.

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What Is The Treatment For Low Blood Pressure

There is no specific measurement at which blood pressure is considered too low, and it is not usually a reason for concern if a person has no bothersome symptoms. For some people, low blood pressure is normal, and in general, the lower a persons blood pressure, the better.

It is not always necessary to do anything when blood pressure is low, especially if low BP does not cause any symptoms. When symptoms of low BP occur, treatment depends on the specific signs and symptoms, and may include:

  • Drinking more fluids
  • Adjusting medicines that cause low blood pressure
  • Medication to raise blood pressure
  • Lifestyle changes
  • Changing how you sit and stand up
  • Changing what and how you eat
  • Compression stockings

How Do I Take Care Of Myself

low diastolic blood pressure symptoms

If you have hypotension with symptoms, the best thing you can do is follow your healthcare provider’s guidance on managing this condition. Their recommendations may include any of the following:

  • Manage your diet. Following diet recommendations, especially how much salt you should have in your diet, can help avoid symptoms of hypotension.
  • Take your medication. These can help you avoid the disruptive symptoms and effects of this condition.
  • Dress up. Compression socks, which put light pressure on your legs and feet, can push blood upward and raise your blood pressure.
  • Take it slow. Avoid standing up too quickly, especially with orthostatic hypotension. That can help you avoid the dizziness and fainting effects of hypotension.
  • Have a seat. If you notice yourself feeling dizzy or lightheaded, sit down. Falling from standing height can put you at risk for severe or even catastrophic injuries from a fall, such as a broken hip, concussion, skull fracture or broken ribs.

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How To Treat Low Blood Pressure

Low blood pressure can be prevented or treated using the following methods:

  • Consume lots of fluids
  • Stay hydrated, especially during hot weather or during viral flu
  • Drink more nonalcoholic drinks
  • Exercise regularly to encourage blood flow
  • Avoid sitting or standing quickly
  • While rising, take care to sit upright for a few seconds and then get off the bed
  • Stay away from heavy lifting
  • Avoid standing still for a prolonged time
  • Avoid straining while passing stools
  • Avoid prolonged exposure to hot water such as sauna, hot water springs, and spas
  • Compression stocking covering the thigh and calf restricts the blood flow to the lower part of the body
  • Try eating smaller, more frequent meals to avoid post-meal dizziness
  • Any consumption of over-the-counter medications should be reported to the physician.

About Low Blood Pressure

The heart pumps a constant supply of blood around the body. The blood flows through different networks in the body, for example, arteries, veins and capillaries. Blood pressure is a measure of the force of the blood on the walls of the arteries as the blood flows through them.

It’s measured in millimetres of mercury and recorded as two measurements:

  • systolic pressure the pressure when your heart beats and squeezes blood into your arteries
  • diastolic pressure the pressure when your heart rests between beats

For example, if your systolic blood pressure is 120mmHg and your diastolic blood pressure is 80mmHg, your blood pressure is 120 over 80, which is commonly written as 120/80.

Normal blood pressure is between 90/60 and 140/90. If you have a sustained reading of 140/90 or more, you have high blood pressure . This puts you at greater risk of developing serious health conditions, such as heart attack or stroke.

People with a blood pressure reading under 90/60 are usually regarded as having low blood pressure.

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What Can I Do For Myself

There are other things you can do for yourself to help with your symptoms.

  • Wear supportive elastic stockings . They put extra pressure on your legs which helps to improve circulation and raise your blood pressure. For some people this can be enough, but speak to your GP first because they arent suitable for everyone.
  • Stand up slowly from sitting or lying down. You can try other simple movements to get the blood flowing before you stand up, such as straightening and bending your legs.
  • Avoid standing for long periods of time.
  • Drink enough water throughout the day, around 2 litres, so you dont get dehydrated.
  • Eat little and often throughout the day. This avoids low blood pressure after eating.

Read more about how .

Side Effects Of Low Blood Pressure

Which Blood Pressure Reading is More Important, Systolic or Diastolic?

Low blood pressure may not be discussed as often as high blood pressure, but it should be addressed, as prolonged low blood pressure can negatively affect your organs.

A certain amount of blood pressure is needed to maintain blood flow to the organs, says Dr. Wong. The blood supplies oxygen and nutrients to these organs. If the blood pressure is too low, an adequate blood supply cannot get to these organs.

If left untreated, low blood pressure can increase your risk of fainting, heart attack and organ damage, adds Dr. Desai.

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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.

How Is It Treated And Can It Be Cured

Treating hypotension usually starts with finding out why its happening. If that cause is treatable directly, hypotension will usually get better on its own. An example of this is hypotension that happens because of an injury and blood loss. Repairing that injury and replacing the lost blood will stop hypotension as long as the repair to the injury holds. If you take medications that affect your blood pressure, your healthcare provider may change your dosage or have you stop taking that medication entirely.

If the cause remains a mystery, its also possible to treat it directly. However, curing hypotension is only possible if theres an underlying cause thats curable.

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Low Diastolic Pressure: No Symptoms

When your systolic blood pressure gets too low, it can manifest as lightheadedness, fainting, and weakness. But low diastolic pressure by itself doesnt 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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How To Take Blood Pressure

Is a blood pressure reading of 70/33 dangerous?

You can take your blood pressure at home using a wrist blood pressure monitor or an upper arm cuff blood pressure monitor. Experts typically recommend upper arm cuffs because they are the most accurate. Upper arm cuffs can come with either a manual or digital monitor. Both work well, but if youre measuring your blood pressure on your own regularly, a digital one will likely be easiest to use correctly.

To take your blood pressure accurately with a digital upper arm cuff, start by sitting quietly in an upright position for a few minutes, allowing your body a moment to relax. Be mindful to uncross your legs and ankles, as well as use comfortable support for your back.

With the monitor sitting on a table in front of you, place your arm next to itat approximately heart leveland place the cuff around your bare upper arm about one inch above your elbow. Secure the cuff so that you can only slide a fingertip under the top edge.

Next, simply turn on the monitor, press the start button, and take normal breaths as the cuff inflates and deflates, measuring your blood pressure and producing your reading on the screen.

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