Low Blood Pressure Signs And Symptoms
Low blood pressure – or hypotension- occurs when the force at which the heart pumps blood through the arteries falls.
Hypotension can present with various symptoms: from nausea, dizziness to heart palpitations. Checking blood pressure is an important part of evaluating yourself or your patient.
Unfortunately, a problem doesnt always announce itself with a fanfare of trumpets. Even the highest blood pressure can be entirely asymptomatic. Similarly, low blood pressure can occur in your patient, despite no symptoms seemingly being present. This is particularly true if the patient is lying still in an unmonitored bed.
Symptoms Of Low Diastolic Blood Pressure
Symptoms of isolated diastolic hypotension include tiredness, dizziness, and falls.
Because low diastolic pressure decreases blood flow to your heart, you may also have chest pain or symptoms of heart failure. Heart failure symptoms may include shortness of breath, swelling of your feet or ankles, confusion, and heart palpitations.
Seek immediate medical attention if you have chest pain or difficulty breathing.
Symptoms of low diastolic blood pressure along with low systolic blood pressure include:
Blood Pressure Vs Heart Rate
Blood pressure and heart rate are both important indications of how well your heart is working, but they measure different things. As noted above, blood pressure is the force of your blood flowing through your arteries. By contrast, heart rate is the number of times your heart beats each minute.
In adults, the heart typically beats 60 to 100 times per minute while at rest. But as with blood pressure, a healthy heart rate will differ between individuals. For instance, a pulse below 60 beats per minute is slower than normal, but it might not cause any issues for you.
However, in some situations, a low pulse means that the heart is not circulating enough blood to satisfy the body’s needs. That can cause you to feel dizzy and weak. A pulse in the 30s is a dangerously low heart rate and should be investigated.
The relationship between blood pressure and heart rate is complex. If you’re concerned about your numbers, see your doctor.
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Who Is Affected By Low Blood Pressure
Low blood pressure can affect people of all ages, although it is more common in older people who are frail or bedridden. Pregnant women and older adults are more likely to have orthostatic hypotension. Children and young adults are most likely to experience neurally mediated hypotension, but they often outgrow it.
Hypotension commonly affects people who:
- Are taking certain medications that cause low blood pressure.
- Have hormonal imbalances or vitamin deficiencies.
- Also have heart problems or liver disease.
Causes Of Low Diastolic Blood Pressure
There are three known causes of isolated diastolic hypotension:
- 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.
- The aging process. 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.
- Too much salt in your diet. Dietary salt can decrease elasticity of your blood vessels. If you take in too much salt, you may increase your risk for low diastolic blood pressure.
There are several common causes of overall hypotension, which would include a low diastolic number.
- Overtreatment of high blood pressure. For some people, especially people over age 60, lowering systolic blood pressure below 120 may cause diastolic pressure to fall below 60.
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Low Blood Pressure In Teens: Causes Symptoms And Treatment
Periodic lightheadedness and seeing of black spots while standing is common in an otherwise healthy teenager . This could be due to a drop in blood pressure, also known as hypotension. Low blood pressure in teens is not bothersome unless the fainting spells become frequent.
Here, MomJunction tells you about the reasons for low blood pressure in teenagers, its symptoms, and preventive measures to be taken.
How Older Adults Can Maintain A Healthy Blood Pressure
Maintaining a healthy blood pressure doesnt have to be complicated. Simple lifestyle changes can help:
- Exercise. National guidelines recommend adults of all ages engage in at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity each week. If mobility or health conditions are a problem, older adults should try to be as physically active as possible.
- Lose weight. If your loved one is overweight, every 2 pounds lost can help reduce blood pressure by 1 mm Hg.
- Eat a heart-healthy diet low in salt. The DASH diet is rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, poultry, fish and low-fat dairy foods. It was designed specifically to help lower blood pressure. Try to limit sodium to no more than 2,300 milligrams per day.
- Avoid drinking alcohol. Alcohol can raise your blood pressure. If your loved one chooses to drink alcoholic drinks, limit it to no more than one drink a day for women and up to two drinks a day for men.
- Dont smoke. Tobacco damages your artery walls. If your loved one smokes, ask their doctor how to help them quit.
- Manage stress. Try simple relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing exercises or meditation.
In some cases, diet and lifestyle changes are not enough to lower blood pressure. Your loved one may be having a difficult time achieving significant changes in their lifestyle, or their hypertension may be too severe to treat with diet and exercise alone.
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Low Blood Pressure Range
Hypotension reading is much harder to quantify let us see numbers for low blood pressure, too low blood pressure, and dangerously low blood pressure range.
Blood pressure is the force of blood pushing against the walls of the arteries as the heart pumps. If this reading is, lower than certain BP range is considering as hypotension reading.
What Is Normal Blood Pressure According To Age
Blood pressure is the pressure of the blood within the arteries. It is produced primarily by the contraction of the heart muscle. Its measurement is recorded by two numbers. The first is measured after the heart contracts and is highest. The second is measured before the heart contracts and the lowest. A blood pressure cuff is used to measure the pressure. Elevation of blood pressure is called “hypertension“.
The chart shows normal blood pressure according to age both male and female. Diastolic blood pressure and Systolic Blood Pressure are included in the chart.
Normal Blood Pressure By Age
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When Is Low Blood Pressure An Emergency And What To Do To Prevent And Manage It
Low Blood Pressure which is medically termed as hypotension occurs when the blood pressure of a person falls below a certain range. Although there is not set parameter for low blood pressure as it is for high blood pressure and the numbers tend to vary from person to person. However, experts suggest that a blood pressure below 90/60 mmHg is considered to be low. Generally, a low blood pressure is considered to be an indication that the person is healthy. However, when it gets too low that suggests not enough oxygen is reaching the vital organs of the body then it is a cause for concern. This can lead to a variety of complications. Of all the complications, shock is the most serious one.
A visit to the emergency room is indicated if a person with low blood pressure also has nausea, clammy skin, palpitations, shallow breathing, increased thirst, dizziness, vision problems, issues with focusing on tasks, and fatigue. There are a variety of reasons as to why the blood pressure in a people drops. In females, low blood pressure generally occurs during pregnancy in between the second and the third trimester. Low blood pressure also can occur due to significant blood loss. This usually happens after a severe motor vehicle collision, stab or gunshot wound.
Feeling Dizzy May Be Related To Anxiety
Many people who experience dizziness, especially people in their twenties, may also have anxiety, says Whitman. They usually dont want to hear that dizziness can be linked to anxiety because it suggests that its all in their heads, he notes. But whats in your head is your brain. And anxiety can reflect a brain function disturbance thats possibly genetic.
Compared with people who dont have anxiety, people with anxiety disorders appear to sway more when subjected to a moving visual environment, Whitman says. And they sway in a way that seems to be synchronized with the visual movement. These people may be abnormally sensitive to visual stimulation, because their dizziness can increase when theyre watching moving objects or walking through a large, bright store, says Whitman.
This is called visual dependence, and little is known about how common it is. We need to develop better tests of visual dependence, and we need laboratory tests for what we now call anxiety disorders, ways Whitman. Its likely that in the future, these disorders will be reclassified, in part, based on genetics.
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What Is Normal Blood Pressure
For years we have been told that a normal blood pressure reading is 120/80 however, more and more doctors have now lowered these numbers to 115/75. Blood pressure is different for everyone as many factors can have an effect on the numbers.
Our blood pressure refers to the amount of force behind the blood as it hits the arterial walls. As the heart pumps the blood, an ideal pressure sees the blood push against the walls that are flexible enough to expand and retract easily. Over time, our age, diet, and physical activity play a role on the elasticity of our blood vessels. With a loss of flexibility due to hardening of the walls, the heart needs to work harder to push the blood.
These factors determine the blood pressure numbers. The systolic number is the top number, and it indicates the pressure as the heart beats or pushes the blood throughout the body. The diastolic number is the bottom number, and refers to the pressure in the arteries when the heart rests between beats. During this time, the heart receives oxygen as it fills with blood.
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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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.
When Is Low Blood Pressure An Emergency
In many cases, low blood pressure readings are not a cause for concern. A person with low blood pressure may not even be aware that their blood pressure is low, as it does not cause symptoms in many cases.
There is also no specific cutoff point at which blood pressure becomes too low or dangerously low, as it may vary from person to person.
Some people may have chronic low blood pressure and can be otherwise healthy. The American Heart Association note that most doctors will only consider chronic low blood pressure to be dangerous if it causes other symptoms.
Severe symptoms that come on suddenly may also be a cause for concern.
While symptoms may vary from person to person, they typically include:
If a person experiences any of these symptoms, they should contact a doctor.
When blood pressure is very low or drops rapidly, it can also be a medical emergency. The note that extremely low drops in blood pressure may put the bodys organs at risk of not getting enough blood, which may lead to shock.
Some concerning signs accompanying very low blood pressure to look out for include:
- rapid, shallow breathing
- very weak but rapid pulse
- cold, clammy skin
- blue hue to the skin
Anyone experiencing these symptoms should seek emergency medical attention.
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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.
Your Diet Or Dehydration Could Make You Dizzy
Even mild dehydration may be why youre feeling dizzy or light-headed, according to the American Heart Association . Dehydration can also cause blood pressure to drop, which can lead to dizzy spells, notes the AHA. Dieting can also result in feelings of dizziness, because some diets cause dehydration, says Dr. Blau. According to the AHA, mild dehydration that follows the loss of just 1 to 2 percent of your body weight can cause dizziness.
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Why Is It Important To Know If You Have High Blood Pressure
Early detection of high blood pressure is very important. Often referred to as the silent killer because it may show no symptoms, high blood pressure puts you at an increased risk for heart disease, heart failure, and stroke, among other things. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2013, more than 360,000 deaths in the United States included high blood pressure as a primary or contributing cause.
How To Stop Blood Pressure Getting Too Low
Low blood pressure itself is generally not a cause for concern until it gets too low and begins causing symptoms. Managing any issues that influence blood pressure may help prevent these numbers from dropping too low.
For example, people taking high blood pressure medications should monitor their dosage and blood pressure to be sure their numbers do not drop too low.
If their blood pressure starts dropping lower than usual, they should contact a doctor. The doctor may want to adjust the medication or check for interactions with anything else the person may be taking.
Managing other individual risk factors from underlying conditions may also help prevent blood pressure from getting too low.
- wearing compression stockings
Doctors may also recommend changes in some medication, such as adjusting medications for high blood pressure if they lead to dangerously low blood pressure.
Doctors will discuss any and all treatments with the patient in each case, and their exact recommendations may vary.
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What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Low Blood Pressure
The symptoms of low blood pressure may include:
These symptoms can occur when doing nothing. They are more likely to occur when changing position, such as standing up or when straining on the toilet.
However, often there are no symptoms and low blood pressure is often only identified as a result of a routine medical examination or during the course of an investigation for some other condition or underling illness.
Low blood pressure may be more serious in elderly people who may have an underlying illness or who may be at risk of a fall.
Check your symptoms with healthdirects Symptom Checker to get advice on when to seek medical attention.
How To Prevent And Manage Low Blood Pressure
Low blood pressure or hypotension is in most cases not a cause of concern. In fact, many people do not even know that they have low blood pressure as it is often asymptomatic. However, if the blood pressure drops drastically low consistently then it should raise an alarm bell as it suggests that adequate supply of blood and oxygen is not reaching the vital organs of the body. This at times may lead to severe potentially life threatening complications like shock.
Experts suggest that low blood pressure is an emergency only when it is accompanied by other symptoms that have been mentioned above. Once the cause of the low blood pressure is managed generally the downward trend of the blood pressure stops. If a person is taking antihypertensives then it is vital for the person to check the blood pressure regularly and if it is noted that the blood pressure is falling very low then a visit to a physician is recommended to ensure that it goes back up in the normal range.
The physician may then change the dosage or suggest an alternative medication for blood pressure control. In majority of the cases, low blood pressure can be managed with simple lifestyle and home remedies. These include staying hydrated especially during the summers or when going out in the hot weather. Just changing the way a person sits or stands may be enough to stop the blood pressure from dropping too low.
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