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What Is Considered Too Low Blood Pressure

Low Vitamin B12 Levels Can Cause Dizziness

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

Deficiencies in this essential vitamin may lead to a number of neurological problems, including feeling off-balance, and having low blood pressure and decreased blood flow to your brain, says Whitman. Vitamin B12;deficiency is easy to detect and treat, but is an often overlooked cause of dizziness, he notes.

Ask your doctor about having a;simple blood test;to check your B12 levels if you’re having dizzy spells. Good sources of vitamin B12 include meat, dairy products, and fortified breakfast cereals.

Does Normal Blood Pressure Change With Age

Just as our blood pressure readings change according to our posture, sleep time, and stress levels throughout the day, our blood pressure changes as we age. Despite the fluctuating or changing measurements, we should maintain a normal range. As we age, we can expect changes in our cardiovascular health, including our blood pressure and cholesterol levels. There are several factors that reflect our blood pressure levels over the years, including normal blood pressure for seniors.

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What Are The Side Effects Of The Treatment For Low Blood Pressure

There are no side effects for the lifestyle and dietary changes that can treat hypotension.

The medications used to treat hypotension have several side effects, some of which may be serious. Fludrocortisone can make certain infections worse, so its essential to discuss this medication with your doctor. The most common side effects from fludrocortisone are:

  • Increased risk of infection.

The most common side effects from midodrine are:

  • Numbness or tingling.
  • Goosebumps and chills.

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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.

How Is Low Blood Pressure Diagnosed

What is Low Blood Pressure and is it harmful?

Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and take your blood pressure by placing a blood pressure cuff around your upper arm. The cuff will tighten on your arm, and the monitor will measure your systolic and diastolic pressure. A blood pressure reading of 90/60 mm Hg is considered low blood pressure.

Low blood pressure may be a sign of an underlying condition, so your doctor will try to determine what caused your blood pressure to drop. Depending on your medical history and symptoms, your doctor may also check your heart using an echocardiogram, electrocardiogram, or stress test. Your doctor may also perform blood tests to check for:

  • Hormonal imbalances.

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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.

How Can You Prevent Low Blood Pressure

You may be able to prevent hypotension by making changes to your lifestyle and diet, such as:

  • Eating fewer carbohydrates and choosing small, healthy meals.
  • Staying hydrated and avoiding alcoholic drinks.
  • Rising slowly when youve been sitting or lying down.
  • Taking a few deep breaths before you change position.
  • Wearing compression stockings.

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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.

How Blood Pressure Is Measured And What The Readings Mean

Low blood pressure

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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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.

Treatment And Medication Options For High Blood Pressure

Most people who have high blood pressure will likely need lifelong treatment to help ward off or delay serious health problems brought on by the condition.

Options to treat high blood pressure may include eating a healthy diet with less salt, taking medication, and incorporating additional lifestyle changes. These include exercise, limiting alcohol intake, smoking cessation, and managing stress.

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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.

Low Blood Pressure Definition And Facts

The Dangers Of Low Blood Pressure
  • 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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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.

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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 that’s 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 Procedures And Tests Diagnose Low Blood Pressure

In some people, particularly relatively healthy ones, symptoms of weakness, dizziness, and fainting raise the suspicion of low blood pressure. In others, an event often associated with low blood pressure, for example, a heart attack, has occurred to cause the symptoms.

Measuring blood pressure in both the lying and standing positions usually is the first step in diagnosing low blood pressure. In patients with symptomatic low blood pressure, there often is a marked drop in blood pressure upon standing, and patients may even develop orthostatic symptoms. The heart rate often increases. The goal is to identify the cause of the low blood pressure. Sometimes the causes are readily apparent . At other times, the cause may be identified by testing:

More Serious Or Lasting Causes

Low Blood Pressure

Some potentially more severe health issues can also cause low blood pressure, including:

  • Nutrient deficiencies: These might involve vitamin B12 or folic acid.
  • Neurally mediated hypotension: This disorder causes a drop in blood pressure after the person has been standing up for a prolonged period.
  • Endocrine problems: These affect the regulation of the bodys hormones. One example is hypothyroidism, also known as an underactive thyroid.
  • Heart problems: These can limit how effectively the heart pushes blood around the body.
  • : This is a potentially life threatening response to a severe bacterial infection.
  • Anaphylactic shock: This is a potentially life threatening complication of anaphylaxis, which is a severe allergic reaction.

In addition, loss of blood due to an injury can lead to low blood pressure.

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Dizzy Spells May Be Caused By An Inner Ear Problem

One of the most surprising causes of dizziness is;benign paroxysmal positional vertigo, or BPPV, says;Gregory Whitman, MD, an ear and brain specialist with the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Balance and Vestibular Center at Braintree Rehabilitation Hospital in Massachusetts. Your inner ear contains calcium and protein-based sensing crystals called otoconia, says Dr. Whitman. If these crystals are dislodged and float into your inner ears canals, you may have a brief spinning sensation. Its a simple mechanical problem that can and should be corrected with physical therapy, and not with medication or surgery, says Whitman.

Though BPPV is the most common inner earrelated balance disorder, it affects only about 1 out of 1,000 people per year,;according to the Vestibular Disorders Association . And while it can affect adults of any age, this type of vertigo primarily affects older adults. Most cases occur for no apparent reason, but BPPV has been linked to trauma,;migraines, inner ear infections,;diabetes, and;osteoporosis. After treatment, 50 percent of patients may experience the problem again within five years especially if it was the result of trauma, say experts at VEDA.

Blood Pressure Is Diagnosed By A Doctor Using A Blood Pressure Machine The Process Includes:

  • Being seated in a chair with your back supported
  • Putting your feet flat on the floor and supporting your arm at heart level
  • Remaining quiet for five minutes and refraining from talking

It is very important to use the proper size cuff when taking a blood pressure reading. Failure to do so will lead to inaccuracies. A cuff that is too small for the arm circumference will give an artificially high reading. A cuff that is too large will give too low a reading. Initially, blood pressure should be measured in each arm to make sure both readings are the same. The arm with the higher readings should then be targeted for all future blood pressure checks.

If your blood pressure readings are high, your doctor may ask that you return for additional measurements on different days because blood pressure can vary widely from day to day.

Your doctor will most likely diagnose you with high blood pressure if you have several readings of 140/90 or higher.;If you have readings of 130/80 or higher and are diabetic or have chronic kidney disease, you are likely to be diagnosed with high blood pressure.

What can I do if I am diagnosed with high blood pressure?

Eat healthy food

Make sure your diet emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy foods. An easy tool for planning health meals is the Dietary;Approaches to Stop Hypertension diet which can help you reduce your systolic blood;pressure by 8-14 mm Hg.

Achieve and Maintain a Healthy Weight

Increase Physical Activity

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Ptsd And High Blood Pressure

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.

What Can You Do To Help Relieve Symptoms Of Low Blood Pressure

What are the Causes of Low Blood Pressure?

Depending on the type of low blood pressure you have, you may be able to relieve some of your symptoms by:

  • Eating a healthy diet with fewer carbohydrates and smaller meals.
  • Drinking more water and avoiding alcohol.
  • Getting up slowly after youve been sitting or lying down.
  • Focusing on breathing a few times before you change position.
  • Wearing compression stockings.

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