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What Is The Cause Of Low Blood Pressure

Q What Can Cause Low Blood Pressure

What Causes Low Blood Pressure
  • Your blood pressure can vary throughout the day. It depends on your body position, breathing patterns, stress levels, physical activities, medications, what you eat or drink, and the time. Some of the main medical conditions that can cause low blood pressure are:
    • Pregnancy
    • Nutrition deficiency in the diet
    • Certain antidepressants

    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.

    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.

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    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:

    Medications May Cause Low Blood Pressure

    Low Blood Pressure Cause

    Medications used to treat conditions other than low blood pressure may cause low blood pressure as a side effect. Erectile dysfunction medications such as sildenafil , tricyclic antidepressants such as amitriptyline , and Parkinson’s medications such as levodopa-carbidopa , are a few medications whose side effects may include low blood pressure. Narcotic pain medications and alcohol also decrease blood pressure.

    When blood pressure medications work too well, low blood pressure may result. Angiotensin-receptor blockers , calcium channel blockers , beta blockers, and diuretics are some types of blood pressure medications.

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    Baroreceptor Signals Sent To The Kidneys

    Kidneys participate in blood pressure control by regulating urine production. When kidneys pull more water out of the blood, blood pressure decreases. When the kidneys decrease urine output, water remains in the blood and blood pressure increases. The action of the kidneys on blood pressure is slow — acting over hours to days — compared to baroreceptor control and other systems that influence blood pressure very quickly.

    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 blood pressure works.

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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.

    What Are The Causes Of Low Blood Pressure

    What is Hypotension (Low Blood Pressure)? | Ausmed Explains…

    Low blood pressure may be induced by conditions that decrease tension in artery walls or decrease blood volume. Dehydration and bleeding are two examples of conditions that reduce blood volume. Conditions that reduce the amount of blood pumped by the heart — such as cardiomyopathy and heart attack — may be associated with lower blood pressure. Injuries to the spinal cord and side effects from certain medications can also reduce blood pressure.

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    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.

    How Do I Know If I Have High Blood Pressure

    Theres only one way to know if you have high blood pressure: Have a doctor or other health professional measure it. Measuring your blood pressure is quick and painless.

    Talk with your health care team about regularly measuring your blood pressure at home, also called self-measured blood pressure monitoring.

    High blood pressure is called the silent killer because it usually has no warning signs or symptoms, and many people do not know they have it.

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    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 Causes High Blood Pressure

    NORMALISE YOUR LOW BLOOD PRESSURE

    Blood pressure is the measure of the force of blood pushing against blood vessel walls. The heart pumps blood into blood vessels, which carry the blood throughout the body. High blood pressure, also called hypertension, is dangerous because it makes the heart work harder to pump blood out to the body and contributes to hardening of the arteries, or atherosclerosis, to stroke, kidney disease, and to heart failure.

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    What Are The Symptoms Of Low Blood Pressure

    Low blood pressure often has no symptoms, but can sometimes mean that not enough blood is flowing to your brain or organs. This can cause symptoms such as:

    • feeling dizzy, faint or light-headed
    • feeling unsteady
    • suddenly noticing your heartbeat
    • fainting

    If you have these symptoms, stop what youre doing and sit down or lie down in case you fall, and drink some water.

    Speak to your doctor or nurse if you experience these symptoms. As well as being unpleasant, they could mean youre at risk of having a fall. They could also be a sign of another health problem.

    What Is Low Blood Pressure In Teens

    Low blood pressure happens when the blood pressure levels are less than normal. The normal blood pressure for a teenager is around 110/70mmHg . followed by the lower value.)

    In children aged ten years or less, blood pressure lower than 90/50mmHg is defined as low blood pressure or hypotension .

    Low blood pressure can be categorized into three types, the symptoms of which can range from mild to severe.

    • Neurally mediated hypotension : It occurs when the child stands for a long time or encounters an upsetting or scary situation. It causes dizziness. However, children usually outgrow NMH .
    • Orthostatic hypotension: It occurs while standing up suddenly from a sitting or lying position. It happens when the body is unable to adjust to the sudden change in the blood flow. However, the blood pressure will be back to normal after a few seconds .
    • Severe hypotension: It can develop due to severe infections, allergic reactions, severe blood loss due to an injury, or a shock. Severe hypotension can cause complications by preventing the blood from reaching the brain, thus making it a life-threatening condition. In such cases, immediate medical attention is necessary .

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    Causes Of Low Blood Pressure

    We always hear that low blood pressure is good for you. In most cases, this is true. You generally want to maintain a blood pressure equal to or lower than 120/80 mmHg, though this can vary slightly. If your blood pressure drops below 90/60, you may be at risk. There is a wide range of reasons why your blood pressure may have dropped. If you ever feel fatigued, dizzy, or other symptoms, one of these causes may be low blood pressure.

    How Is The Cause Of Low Blood Pressure Diagnosed

    Low Blood Pressure Symptoms and Causes

    To diagnose your condition, your doctor or licensed healthcare practitioner will ask you several questions related to your low blood pressure including:

    • When did you first notice your low blood pressure?
    • What seems to bring it on?
    • Does anything make it improve?
    • Do you have any other symptoms?
    • Do you have any other medical problems?
    • What medications are you taking?
    • Do you drink alcohol or use any illicit drugs?

    Your doctor will also perform a physical exam and check your blood pressure. If the results are in the low blood pressure range, your doctor may recommend testing including:

    • Blood and urine tests to check for problems like , diabetes, hormone problems, or nutritional deficiencies
    • ECG to check for electrical abnormalities in the heart
    • Title table test to check how your body responds to changes in position
    • X-ray of the chest to check the size and shape of your heart

    It is not always possible to diagnose an underlying cause or condition. If the problem persists and your provider is unable to determine a cause, seeking a second opinion may give you more information and answers.

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    Changing The Diameter Of Arterioles And Veins

    Muscle tissue within the walls of arterioles allow these blood vessels to widen or narrow . The more constricted arterioles are, the greater their resistance to blood flow and the higher the blood pressure. Constriction of arterioles increases blood pressure because more pressure is needed to force blood through the narrower space. Conversely, dilation of arterioles reduces resistance to blood flow, thus reducing blood pressure. The degree to which arterioles are constricted or dilated is affected by

    • Nerves that contract smooth muscle in the arterioles, thus reducing their diameter

    • Hormones that are primarily made by the kidneys

    • Certain drugs

    Veins also play a role in the control of blood pressure, although their effect on blood pressure is much less than that of arterioles. Veins dilate and constrict to change how much blood they can hold . When veins constrict, their capacity to hold blood is reduced, allowing more blood to return to the heart from which it is pumped into the arteries. As a result, blood pressure increases. Conversely, when veins dilate, their capacity to hold blood is increased, allowing less blood to return to the heart. As a result, blood pressure decreases.

    Health Risks Of Low Blood Pressure

    There are both direct and indirect risks to having low blood pressure:

    1. Inadequate Oxygen

    As Dr. Lajoie mentioned, the main risk of low blood pressure is that there isn’t enough pressure in your blood vessels to get blood and thus, oxygen where it needs to go in your body, especially to the brain. Think of it like trying to take a shower when the water pressure is too lowyou just can’t get the job done easily or effectively.

    2. Heart Problems

    Severely low blood pressure can cause damage to your heart by depriving it of oxygen, according to the Mayo Clinic.

    Individuals with existing coronary heart disease and very low blood pressure as a result of treatment are at an increased risk for cardiovascular events, such as a heart attack, according to a February 2017 study in the British Medical Journal.

    Another study, published September 2018 in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, found that very low blood pressure is associated with increased angina, or chest pain, in people with chronic coronary artery disease.

    3. Injury

    If you experience a sudden drop in blood pressure, you are at risk for fainting, which could lead to an injury from falling.

    4. Kidney Damage

    According to Dr. Lajoie, certain patients with kidney failure can experience worsened kidney function if their blood pressure is too low.

    5. Exacerbation of Stroke Symptoms

    “Patients with prior strokes can have recurrence of stroke symptoms if their blood pressure drops too low,” Dr. Lajoie says.

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    Improving Health With Current Research

    Learn about the following ways the NHLBI continues to translate current research into improved health for people with abnormally low blood pressure. Research on this topic is part of the NHLBIs broader commitment to advancing heart and vascular disease scientific discovery.

    • Testing Treatments for Cardiac Arrest and Trauma. The Resuscitation Outcomes Consortium clinical trial network tested treatments to address high morbidity and mortality rates from out-of-hospital cardiac arrest and severe traumatic injury. ROC investigators compared different strategies for supplemental fluids in trauma patients who have low blood pressure. Other ROC studies found a link between low blood pressure readings and the need for emergency procedures.
    • Understanding How Low Blood Pressure Affects Diverse Populations. NHLBI-supported researchers are studying low blood pressure in different populations. Investigators in the NHLBIs Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study found that people who have low blood pressure when standing up, known as orthostatic hypotension, are at higher risk for stroke. In a follow-up study of NHLBIs Honolulu Heart Program, researchers found older Japanese men who had orthostatic hypotension were nearly twice as likely to die within the next four years as those who did not have orthostatic hypotension. NHLBIs Cardiovascular Health Study found that orthostatic hypotension was common in older adults, increases with age, and is linked to cardiovascular diseases.

    When Should You Call Your Doctor About Low Blood Pressure

    What are the Causes of Low Blood Pressure?

    If you have recurring dizziness or fainting, or other symptoms of low blood pressure, you should visit your doctor. Sudden drops in blood pressure can be dangerous. It is important for your doctor to determine why your blood pressure is dropping and treat the cause.

    Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 10/08/2019.

    References

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    What Is Low Blood Pressure

    Hypotension is the medical term for low blood pressure .

    A blood pressure reading appears as two numbers. The first and higher of the two is a measure of systolic pressure, or the pressure in the arteries when the heart beats and fills them with blood. The second number measures diastolic pressure, or the pressure in the arteries when the heart rests between beats.

    Optimal blood pressure is less than 120/80 . In healthy people, low blood pressure without any symptoms is not usually a concern and does not need to be treated. But low blood pressure can be a sign of an underlying problem — especially in the elderly — where it may cause inadequate blood flow to the heart, brain, and other vital organs.

    Chronic low blood pressure with no symptoms is almost never serious. But health problems can occur when blood pressure drops suddenly and the brain is deprived of an adequate blood supply. This can lead to dizziness or lightheadedness. Sudden drops in blood pressure most commonly occur in someone who’s rising from a lying down or sitting position to standing. This kind of low blood pressure is known as postural hypotension or orthostatic hypotension. Another type of low blood pressure can occur when someone stands for a long period of time. This is called neurally mediated hypotension.

    How Is It Diagnosed

    The doctor will begin the diagnosis by checking the teens medical and family health history. This is followed by a physical examination and a few tests, including cardiac examinations.

    • Auscultation method: It is the preferred method for checking blood pressure, wherein the sound from the heart is heard using a stethoscope. It requires a cuff that fits the childs upper arm .
    • Blood tests: If anemia is suspected to be the reason for low blood pressure in the child, then a blood test like hemoglobin is done. Low blood sugar could also cause hypotension, which can be evaluated through the blood test.
    • Electrocardiography: It is a standard screening tool used for detecting cardiac abnormalities in children and adolescents. The heart rate and the rhythm are evaluated through this diagnostic approach, which is typically used in the diagnosis of syncope that benign NMH can cause .
    • Tilt table test: If a child complains of dizziness for unknown reasons, then this test is done. During the test, the child has to lie on a table that tilts from a horizontal to a vertical or upright position. The doctor checks the childs reaction when the table is tilted, to diagnose orthostatic hypotension .

    Based on the diagnosis, your doctor will suggest the appropriate treatment for hypotension.

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