Causes Of Low Blood Pressure
Blood pressure level below 90/60 mmHg is considered low. The most common reasons for lowered blood pressure are low blood volume , over treatment of high blood pressure, or taking certain medications that can lower blood pressure, says Susan Besser, MD, a primary care provider who specializes in Family Medicine at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore.
Here are some other common reasons for sudden drops in blood pressure levels and chronic hypotension:
- Certain medications, like heart medicines or depression medications
- Certain health problems like heart disease or thyroid disease
- Trauma that results in blood loss or blood infection
- Heavy menstrual periods
- Extreme changes in body temperature
Some people are more likely to have low blood pressure levels based on their age, sex, and medical history. Here are the top risk factors for getting hypotension:
- Older age
Medical Tests For Heart Disease
Your doctor will check your blood pressure and do a fasting blood test to check your cholesterol, a type of fatty substance that can contribute to plaques in your arteries. He or she might also do a blood test to check the levels of proteins that are markers of inflammation in the body and suggest you have an electrocardiogram . This test looks at electrical activity in your heart. A chest x-ray will show whether your heart is enlarged or your lungs have fluid in them both can be signs of heart failure. The doctor might do a blood test for brain natriuretic peptide , a hormone that increases in heart failure. If the cardiologist needs to determine your heart or valve function, he or she may order an echocardiogram, a painless test which uses sound waves to produce images of your heart in motion.
To learn more about heart disease, visit the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.
Monitoring Your Blood Pressure
In order to know your resting blood pressure, you need to learn how to check and monitor it regularly. You can use an electronic blood pressure monitor that consists of an inflatable cuff. You have to wrap this to your upper arm while an electronic monitor attached to the cuff will give a digital readout of the pulse and blood pressure.
Your systolic blood pressure number is the upper reading and is always said first. If you have 120/80, it will be said that your systolic blood pressure is 120 and diastolic blood pressure is 80. Together, it reads as “120 over 80”. Your blood pressure is measured in millimeters of mercury .
How Often Should Blood Pressure Be Checked?
If your blood pressure is normal, you should go for a check-up at least once every five years. Your blood pressure is likely to increase if you are in your old age. For blood pressure that is borderline high, systolic blood pressure between 120 and 139 or diastolic blood pressure between 80 and 89, you should check your blood pressure once every year, or as per your doctor’s advice. If your blood pressure is 140/90, you need to talk to your doctor and work as per their instructions.
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When To Call Your Healthcare Provider
A hypertensive crisisdefined as blood pressure above 180/120 mm Hgrequires immediate medical attention. Call 911 if you are also experiencing symptoms such as chest pain, back pain, shortness of breath, difficulty speaking, a change in vision, weakness, or numbness.
What Can I Do To Prevent Or Manage High Blood Pressure
Many people with high blood pressure can lower their blood pressure into a healthy range or keep their numbers in a healthy range by making lifestyle changes. Talk with your health care team about
- Getting at least 150 minutes of physical activity each week
- Not smoking
- Managing stress
In addition to making positive lifestyle changes, some people with high blood pressure need to take medicine to manage their blood pressure. Learn more about medicines for high blood pressure.
Talk with your health care team right away if you think you have high blood pressure or if youve been told you have high blood pressure but do not have it under control.
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Reading A Blood Pressure Chart
Your BP monitor will display two numbers. The first number is systolic blood pressure . The second number is diastolic blood pressure .
In Canada, the ideal or low-risk systolic pressure is 120 or less. By contrast, the optimal diastolic blood pressure is 80 or less. So, if your BP reading is 120/80 or 117/78, you have normal blood pressure levels.
Blood Pressure In Indian Population
As per a number of studies high blood pressure is considered to be the third most important risk factor for disease burden in south Asia. Hypertension is known to be a substantial public health burden on healthcare systems in India. It is one of the causative factors for 57% of stroke related deaths and 24% of coronary heart disease related deaths in India. As per World Health Organization, hypertension is one of the most important reasons for premature death across the world.
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Is It Normal For Blood Pressure To Fluctuate
It’s normal for blood pressure to vary somewhat throughout the day. Stress, exercise, and sleep can all make a difference. But if your blood pressure often changes significantly from one healthcare visit to another, there may a problem.
Studies have found that visit-to-visit changes in blood pressure are sometimes linked to a higher risk of heart disease and early death.
This article explains why your blood pressure numbers may be high sometimes and normal other times. It also offers advice about when to see a healthcare provider.
Verywell / Cindy Chung
Normal Diastolic Blood Pressure
What is the normal range of diastolic pressure for adults? A normal range of diastolic blood pressure for adults is 60 mmHg to 79 mmHg.
If diastolic is less than 80 mmHg and systolic is less than 120 mmHg, a doctor will typically suggest the following:
- Follow a heart healthy diet.
- Engage in regular physical activity.
- Continue avoiding unhealthy habits like excess alcohol or smoking.
- Monitor blood pressure readings.
- Attend regular physicals.
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How Can I Control My Blood Pressure
You can often lower your blood pressure by changing your day-to-day habits and by taking medication if needed. Treatment, especially if you have other medical conditions such as diabetes, requires ongoing evaluation and discussions with your doctor.
Lifestyle changes you can make to help prevent and lower high blood pressure:
In addition to recommending lifestyle changes, your doctor will likely prescribe medication to lower your blood pressure to a safe level. Isolated systolic hypertension, the most common form of high blood pressure in older adults, is treated in the same way as regular high blood pressure but may require more than one type of blood pressure medication. You may try several kinds or combinations of medications before finding a plan that works best for you. Medication can control your blood pressure, but it can’t cure it. If your doctor starts you on medication for high blood pressure, you may need to take it long-term.
How To Measure Blood Pressure
Usually a nurse checks your blood pressure to make sure its not too low or too high before your doctors appointment. But you can also check your readings manually at home. You can use an inflatable cuff similar to those used at your doctors office. Or you can use a digital blood pressure monitor with automatic cuff inflation.
Read the directions carefully when measuring your blood pressure. Certain factors can cause a temporary rise in blood pressure. These factors include:
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Causes Of High Blood Pressure
Some people are more at risk to have hypertension over their lifetime. In general, high blood pressure levels occur slowly over time, though something like anxiety can cause short-term spikes in blood pressure. Here are the most common risk factors and causes of high blood pressure:
- Family history of high blood pressure
- Older age
Even though blood pressure is considered high if its 130/80 mmHg or above, its also possible to have a high top blood pressure number and a normal low blood pressure number. This is a condition called isolated systolic hypertension, mainly caused by underlying medical conditions like diabetes, hyperthyroidism, and heart valve problems. A high bottom number on a blood pressure reading is likely the result of consuming too much sodium, obesity, drinking too much alcohol, and not getting enough physical exercise. If blood pressures continue to be elevated, regardless of the cause, the body benefits from medication to normalize the blood pressure.
Check Your Blood Pressure
As you get older, it’s important for you to have your blood pressure checked regularly, even if you are healthy. This is because aging changes in your arteries can lead to hypertension. You may feel fine but, if not treated, high blood pressure could lead to stroke and problems with your heart, eyes, brain, and kidneys. To manage high blood pressure, exercise, dietary changes, and reducing your salt intake can help, but as aging changes in the arteries often cause high blood pressure in older age, medication is often necessary. It is not uncommon to need more than one medication to control your blood pressure.
Age can cause other changes to the heart. For example:
Other factors, such as thyroid disease or chemotherapy, may also weaken the heart muscle. Things you can’t control, like your family history, might increase your risk of heart disease. But, leading a heart-healthy lifestyle might help you avoid or delay serious illness.
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What Does A Blood Pressure Reading Look Like
When you have your , you will be given two numbers, a top number and a bottom number.
- Systolic blood pressure. This is the first, or top, number. This is the highest level your blood pressure reaches when your heart beats, forcing blood around your body.
- Diastolic blood pressure. The second number, or bottom number, is the lowest level your blood pressure reaches as your heart relaxes between beats.
Blood pressure is measured in millimetres of mercury . If the first number is 120 and the second number is 80, this would be written as 120/80mmHg, and youd call it 120 over 80.
This video explains more about systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
Normal Blood Pressure For Children
Normal BP ranges vary in children by age. The University of Iowa Stead Family Childrens Hospital provides this blood pressure chart:
|Normal Blood Pressure for Children|
|112128 mm Hg||6680 mm Hg|
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Effects Of Abnormal Blood Pressure
If the high blood pressure persists for a longer period of time it can cause heart and heart related diseases and vital organ damage. The reported long-term ill effects of high blood pressure are as mentioned below:
Therefore, it is essential to diagnose and adopt proper treatment to lower the risk of developing above symptoms.
What Is The Ideal Blood Pressure
Blood pressure readings are calculated using one number over another: systolic blood pressure over diastolic. You can calculate these with our blood pressure calculator tool.
The blood pressure monitor shows measurements in millimetres of mercury, appearing as mmHg. Everyones ideal blood pressure will be slightly different, this could be secondary to your age, ethnicity or potential or current health conditions, you would need to discuss with a medical professional as to whats safe and healthy for you.
The normal blood pressure range for adults comes in between 90/60mmHg and 120/80mmHg. This means that anything below 90/60mmHg mark constitutes low blood pressure , while anything above 140/90mmHg indicates high blood pressure as this is the threshold where a medical professional would actively monitor your blood pressure range.
Knowing these numbers can help make you more aware of your health, and may help you to stay on top of keeping within a correct blood pressure range.
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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|
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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.
What Is A Healthy Blood Pressure
When the heart is squeezing blood into the arteries, the pressure is high. When the heart is relaxed, the pressure is lower.
Your blood pressure is a measurement taken of the highest reading and the lowest reading . It is given as 2 figures highest over lowest or systolic over diastolic. Blood pressure is measured in mmHg, which refers to millimetres of mercury.
Your blood pressure varies from day to day, even moment to moment. Most doctors would say that a healthy blood pressure is higher than 90/60 mmHg but lower than about 140/90.
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What Is Normal Blood Pressure By Age
Blood pressure ranges for adults are:
- High: Systolic of 130 or above and/or diastolic of 80 or above
- High Blood Pressure Stage 1: Systolic of 130-139 or diastolic of 80-89
- High Blood Pressure Stage 2: Systolic of 140 or higher or diastolic 90 or higher
The normal Blood Pressure Ranges for Adults Chart
|Blood Pressure Category|
|Higher than 120|
The normal blood pressure for adolescents 13 years or older is less than 120/80 mmHg.
In younger children, the normal range for blood pressure is determined by the childs sex, age, and height. The normal range is expressed as a percentile, similar to charts used to track childrens growth.
Blood pressure is separated into three categories based upon the childs blood pressure percentile:
The normal blood pressure range for Children Chart
|Blood Pressure Category|
Whats Considered Elevated Blood Pressure
Blood pressure numbers that are higher than 120/80 mm Hg are a warning sign. It means you need to pay attention to your blood pressure and focus on heart-healthy habits.
Although these numbers arent technically considered high blood pressure, youve moved out of the normal range. Elevated blood pressure may turn into high blood pressure, which puts you at an increased risk of heart disease and stroke.
Elevated blood pressure
When your systolic pressure is between 120 and 129mm Hgand your diastolic pressure is less than 80mm Hg, it means you have elevated blood pressure.
No medications are necessary for elevated blood pressure. But your doctor may talk with you about the importance of a healthy lifestyle, such as getting regular exercise, eating a balanced diet, and managing your weight.
You may receive a diagnosis of stage 1 hypertension if:
- your systolic blood pressure is between 130 and 139 mm Hg, or
- your diastolic blood pressure is between 80 and 89 mm Hg
However, the AHA notes that if you get only one reading this high, you may not truly have stage 1 hypertension. What determines the diagnosis of hypertension at any stage is the average of your blood pressure numbers over a period of time.
Your doctor can help you measure and track your blood pressure to confirm whether its too high.
Stage 1 hypertension
If your systolic blood pressure is 130 to 139 mm Hgor your diastolic blood pressure is 80 to 89 mm Hg, its considered stage 1 hypertension.
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High Blood Pressure Chart
|and/or||> 120 mm Hg|
In these new guidelines, the AHA also advises that doctors should only prescribe medication in cases of a previous heart attack or stroke, or in the presence of risk factors for these conditions, such as age, a diabetes diagnosis, or chronic kidney disease.
Treatment at the earlier stages of high blood pressure should instead come mainly through lifestyle changes.
Circulation is similar to a highly sophisticated form of plumbing blood has flow, and arteries are pipes. A basic law of physics gives rise to blood flow, and this law also applies in a garden hose pipe.
Blood flows through the body because of a difference in pressure.
Blood pressure is highest at the start of its journey from the heart when it enters the aorta and it is lowest at the end of its journey along progressively smaller branches of arteries. That pressure difference is what causes blood to flow.
Arteries affect blood pressure in a similar way to the physical properties of a garden hose pipe affecting water pressure. Constricting the pipe increases pressure at the point of constriction.
Without the elastic nature of the artery walls, for example, the pressure of the blood would fall away more quickly as it is pumped from the heart.
While the heart creates the maximum pressure, the properties of the arteries are just as important to maintaining it and allowing blood to flow throughout the body.