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.
Underlying Illnesses Or Conditions
If your GP suspects that a disorder – such as a heart condition, adrenal gland failure or a nerve condition – is causing your low blood pressure, you may be referred to hospital for further tests and treatment.
If adrenal gland failure is found to be causing your low blood pressure, your GP may prescribe fludrocortisone to replace the missing hormone, aldosterone. This will usually be in tablet form and will need to be taken for life.
If a nerve condition is causing your low blood pressure, it can be more difficult to treat. You may be prescribed medication in order to help stimulate your nervous system.
What Are The Treatments For Low Blood Pressure
The treatments for low blood pressure depend on what caused the condition. Your doctor will work with you to address the cause of the hypotension. In severe cases of hypotension, your doctor may give you IV fluids to raise your blood pressure.
Depending on a variety of factors, such as your age and the type of hypotension, your doctor may recommend one or more of the following: dietary changes, lifestyle changes and/or medications.
To make dietary changes, your doctor might tell you to:
- Stay hydrated by drinking more water throughout the day.
- Drink less alcohol.
- Increase your salt intake slightly because sodium raises blood pressure.
- Eat smaller, healthy meals and limit carbohydrates.
You can take several steps to avoid a sudden drop in blood pressure. Your doctor may recommend that you make the following lifestyle changes:
- Wear compression stockings.
- Get up slowly after youve been sitting or lying down.
- Avoid standing for long periods of time.
- Sit up and breathe deeply for a few minutes before getting out of bed.
Your doctor might prescribe medications like:
Don’t Miss: Is Turmeric Good For High Blood Pressure
Choosing A Blood Pressure Monitor
If youre planning to take your blood pressure at home, its important to have a reliable blood pressure monitor. The AHA recommends an automatic, cuff-style, bicep monitor, but there are other options.
When selecting a blood pressure monitor, consider the following:
- Fit: To ensure a proper fit, measure around your upper arm and choose a monitor that comes with the correct size cuff.
- Number of people: If more than one person will be using the monitor, make sure to choose one that fits everyone.
- Features: Some blood pressure monitors offer extra tech features, like Bluetooth and app connectivity. If you dont think youll benefit from these extras, go ahead and choose one that is efficient, easy to use, and more affordable.
- Budget: High-quality blood pressure monitors vary dramatically in price, from around $25 to well over $100. Keep in mind that a good monitor is a great investment and that you will be using it daily for several years.
- Other considerations: The AHA notes that when selecting a blood pressure monitor for a senior, pregnant person, or child, you should make sure it is validated for these conditions.
If you need help selecting an at-home device, check out these blood pressure monitors, which were vetted by the Verywell team based on the above criteria.
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 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 .
Read Also: How To Read Blood Pressure Reading
Women Have A Lower Range Of Normal Blood Pressure Than Men
- Cedars-Sinai Medical Center
- A new study shows that women have a lower normal blood pressure range compared to men.
A new study from the Smidt Heart Institute at Cedars-Sinai shows that women have a lower normal blood pressure range compared to men. The findings were published today in the peer-reviewed journal Circulation.
Currently, established blood pressure guidelines state that women and men have the same normal healthy range of blood pressure. But the new research shows there are differences in normal blood pressure between the sexes.
Our latest findings suggest that this one-size-fits-all approach to considering blood pressure may be detrimental to a womans health, said Susan Cheng, MD, MPH, MMSc, associate professor of Cardiology and director of the Institute for Research on Healthy Aging in the Department of Cardiology at the Smidt Heart Institute and senior author of the study. Based on our research results, we recommend that the medical community reassess blood pressure guidelines that do not account for sex differences.
The first number in a blood pressure reading is called the systolic pressure and measures the force of the blood against the artery walls as your heart beats. The second number is the diastolic pressure, the blood pressure against the artery walls between heartbeats.
Blood Pressure Monitor Vs Blood Pressure Cuff
Blood pressure monitor and blood pressure cuff are two phrases often used to describe the same blood pressure measurement tool. The blood pressure cuff is the element that wraps around either the upper arm, wrist or finger to measure blood pressure. The blood pressure monitor is the element in charge of inflating and deflating the cuff, as well as providing your blood pressure reading on an easy-to-read display.
Most experts recommend using a blood pressure monitor with an upper arm blood pressure cuff for at-home readings because they tend to be more accurate than wrist cuffs and finger cuffs.
Also Check: Can High Cholesterol Cause High Blood Pressure
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 hearts contractions increase, pumping more blood through the heart.
What Can I Expect If I Have This Condition
If you have hypotension, what you can expect depends on what causes it and if you have symptoms. If you dont have symptoms, its unlikely that hypotension will be a problem for you.
If you have symptoms, hypotension can interfere with your ability to stand up, care for yourself, cook, drive and do many other activities. That’s why understanding the condition and following a healthcare provider’s guidance are so important to minimizing this condition’s impact on your life.
How long does hypotension last?
How long this condition lasts depends very much on what caused it. If you have hypotension because of normal aging, it will probably be a lifelong concern.
Whats the outlook for hypotension?
If you have low blood pressure but dont have symptoms, this condition usually isnt harmful and shouldnt impact your life.
If you do have symptoms, the underlying cause is usually what determines the outlook for this condition. Your healthcare provider is the best person to tell you what to expect from this condition and what you can do to manage those effects.
Complications that can happen because of hypotension include:
You May Like: Can Losing Weight Lower Blood Pressure
About Heart And Vascular Institute
The UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute has long been a leader in cardiovascular care, with a rich history in clinical research and innovation. As one of the first heart transplant centers in the country and as the developer of one of the first heart-assist devices, UPMC has contributed to advancing the field of cardiovascular medicine.
You May Like: Omron Blood Pressure Calibration
How Do The New Guidelines Affect Me
The new guidelines might affect you if you were on the border of having high blood pressure before 2017. However, it wont affect you if you already had high blood pressure. For example, around 75% of men over 55 now have high blood pressure with the new guidelines. Some of them did not have high blood pressure before this change.
To be exact, the old guidelines stated that high blood pressure was anything above 140/90. With the new guidelines, high blood pressure is defined as anything above 130/80.
The new guidelines also recommend that you get a system to test yourself at home. Usually, you can find a good system for under a hundred dollars, and some insurance providers will help you pay for them. The guidelines recommend that you measure your blood pressure a couple of times weekly and see your doctor if you notice any dramatic changes.
When you buy a blood pressure monitor, make sure to that it:
- Fits around your upper arm
- Has an automated monitor, and that the cuff inflates itself
- Contains a screen big enough for you to read your results
You can also try to find a monitor that automatically transfers your data over to your smartphone. This, however, is optional.
What You Should Know About Fluctuating Blood Pressure In The Elderly
As you help monitor your loved ones blood pressure, keep in mind that numbers fluctuate slightly throughout the day thats normal. Several factors influence your blood pressure numbers. For example, your blood pressure may be lower if youre resting and higher if youre stressed. This means you may have a normal reading in the morning and an elevated number in the afternoon.
If youre concerned about excessive fluctuation in your loved ones blood pressure numbers:
- Read instructions to ensure youre using your home blood pressure monitor equipment correctly. Variations in how you measure your loved ones blood pressure can result in different readings.
- Bring your home monitor to your next doctors appointment to compare readings.
- Be aware of white coat hypertension. In some cases, a persons blood pressure may be high at a doctors office but normal at home. This could be attributed to the stress related to a doctors appointment.
Your loved ones doctor may want you to keep a blood pressure diary with several readings a day for a couple of weeks to monitor any variations.
Read Also: Do Onions Lower Blood Pressure
Causes Of Diastolic Hypotension By Itself
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.
- 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.
- 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 of low diastolic blood pressure.
You May Like: What Does Optimal Blood Pressure Mean
Who Is At Risk Of Having Low Blood Pressure
Low blood pressure typically isnt a problem for most adults. However, if your blood pressure drops suddenly or you experience symptoms, it may cause serious side effects. The U.S. National Library of Medicine indicates that a drop as little as 20 mmHg can cause problems.
So what causes your blood pressure to drop and when does it put you at risk? Minor and temporary things can affect blood pressure, like getting up too fast after sitting, standing for long periods of time, or dehydration. Similarly, certain health conditions are risk factors for hypotension, including:
- Heart conditions
- Serious trauma
- Shock caused by blood loss
If you experience low blood pressure, youre at a higher risk for fainting and shock, which can require medical treatment if vital organs. Keep track of your blood pressure regularly so you get to know whats normal for you and what may be too low. A single measurement lower than normal isnt cause for alarm but if you experience other symptoms, talk to your doctor.
For more information about low blood pressure or to find a doctor, contact the UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute.
When To Worry About Low Blood Pressure
We all know that high blood pressure can be dangerous. But what about low blood pressure
Also called hypotension, low blood pressure is not a problem if youre healthy and show no signs or symptoms of the condition. However, abnormally low blood pressure can cause problems such as dizziness and fainting and can be a sign that other serious conditions, such as heart disease, are present.
Recommended Reading: How Does High Blood Pressure Affect The Kidneys
High Blood Pressure Treatments
Treating high blood pressure often involves a combination of lifestyle changes and medications. Here are the most common hypertension treatments:
|Popular high blood pressure medications|
RELATED: ACE inhibitors vs. beta blockers
Note: The CDC includes hypertensive patients in the high-risk groups for contracting COVID-19 or developing coronavirus complications.
Lifestyle changes can help lower blood pressure levels and benefit the overall health of the patient. Some effective changes include:
- Exercising moderately 30 minutes most days of the week.
- Eating a healthy diet.
- Limiting excessive salt intake. No more than 2000 mg of sodium per day.
- Maintaining a healthy body weight .
- Managing stress. Consider incorporating meditation or yoga.
- Limiting alcohol use. No more than 14 alcoholic drinks/week for men or 7 alcoholic drinks/week for women.
- Quitting smoking.
Also Check: How To Lose Weight With High Blood Pressure
Exercise For Low Blood Pressure
Everyday exercise such as a 30-minute walk or light running can serve to improve circulation and alleviate any existing symptoms of low blood pressure. It is best to go with a companion if already a patient of hypotension, in case episodes of blurry vision, giddiness, or fainting happen during these times.
It is necessary to avoid undue stress to the body and sudden, jerky movements through heavy lifting and other strenuous exercise so that the flow of movement is smooth. Discipline and consistency regarding exercise aids the underlying causes of low blood pressure, while alleviating its symptoms as well.
Recommended Reading: What To Eat To Lower Your Blood Pressure
How To Treat Low Blood Sugar
If you think you have low blood sugar, be sure to check it.
Keeping your blood sugar levels on target as much as possible can help prevent or delay long-term, serious health problems. While this is important, closely managing your blood sugar levels also increases your chance for low blood sugar . Blood sugar below 70 mg/dL is considered low. If you think you have low blood sugar, check it. If you arent able to check it, go ahead and treat it.
Untreated low blood sugar can be dangerous, so its important to know what to do about it and to treat it immediately.
More Than Blood Pressure
The new guidelines have other changes, too. First, they dont offer different recommendations for people younger or older than age 65. This is because the SPRINT study looked at all patients regardless of age and didnt break down groups above or below a certain age, says Dr. Conlin.
The guidelines also redefined the various categories of hypertension. It eliminated the category of prehypertension, which had been defined as systolic blood pressure of 120 to 139 mm Hg or diastolic pressure of 80 to 89 mm Hg. Instead, people with those readings are now categorized as having either elevated pressure or Stage 1 hypertension .
A reading of 140/90 mm Hg or higher is considered Stage 2 hypertension, and anything higher than 180/120 mm Hg is hypertensive crisis.
Also Check: What Is Too Low Blood Pressure