What Causes Low Blood Pressure
There are many possible reasons for low blood pressure, according to both Dr. Wong and Dr. Desai, including:
- Heart problems like heart failure or low heart rates
- Endocrine problems, such as parathyroid disease, adrenal insufficiency or hypoglycemia
- Side effects of medications for high blood pressure, prostatic hypertrophy, Parkinsons disease, depression and erectile dysfunction
- Massive weight loss
- Rapid heart rate
Why Does Blood Pressure Increase With Age
Doctors dont completely understand why blood pressure tends to rise with age. Blood pressure is the force of blood as it flows through the arteries. As you age, your arteries may narrow and become stiff. Narrow arteries lead to an increase in blood pressure. High blood pressure can damage the walls of the arteries and the heart itself.
Treatment For Low Or High Blood Pressure
Your reading may indicate a blood pressure problem even if only one number is high. No matter what category of blood pressure you have, its important to monitor it regularly. Talk with a doctor about how often you should check your blood pressure at home.
Write the results in a blood pressure journal and share them with the doctor. Its a good idea to take your blood pressure more than once at one sitting,
The doctor will likely address that health condition or concern first.
If its unclear why your blood pressure is low, treatment options may include:
- eating more salt
- wearing compression stockings to help prevent blood from pooling in your legs
- taking a corticosteroid like fludrocortisone to help increase blood volume
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What Do The Readings Mean
As a general guide:
140/90mmHg or over you may have high blood pressureMost doctors use 140/90mmHg as the cut off for point for diagnosing high blood pressure . This is the point where your risk of serious health problems goes up. They might prescribe medications and advise you to make changes to your lifestyle to bring your blood pressure down. 120/80mmHg up to 140/90mmHg pre-high blood pressureAlso called high-normal blood pressure. This is not high blood pressure, but it is a little higher than it should be and means you could go on to develop high blood pressure. See how you can make healthy changes to your lifestyle to lower it. 90/60mmHg up to 120/80mmHg ideal blood pressureAlso called normal blood pressure. Your blood pressure reading is healthy. At this level you have a much lower risk of heart disease and stroke. Following a healthy lifestyle will help you to keep it in the healthy range. 90/60mmHg or lower you may have low blood pressureLow blood pressure usually isnt a problem, but it can sometimes make you feel faint or dizzy or could be a sign of another health problem.
The video below explains how your blood pressure numbers are linked to the risk of stroke and other disease.
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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If You Notice A Sudden Decline In Blood Pressure
A single lower-than-normal reading is not cause for alarm, unless you are experiencing any other symptoms or problems. If you experience any dizziness, lightheadedness, nausea or other symptoms, its a good idea to consult with your healthcare provider. To help with your diagnosis, keep a record of your symptoms and activities at the time they occurred.
Is low blood pressure related to low heart rate? Find out.
Written by American Heart Association editorial staff and reviewed by science and medicine advisers. See our editorial policies and staff.
Last Reviewed: Oct 31, 2016
What Do Blood Pressure Numbers Mean
Blood pressure is measured using two numbers:
The first number, called systolic blood pressure, measures the pressure in your arteries when your heart beats.
The second number, called diastolic blood pressure, measures the pressure in your arteries when your heart rests between beats.
If the measurement reads 120 systolic and 80 diastolic, you would say, 120 over 80, or write, 120/80 mmHg.
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What Is Normal Blood Pressure
A normal blood pressure reading indicates that the heart and blood vessels are not working too hard pushing blood and that the blood is not exerting too much pressure on the walls of the vessels, says Aseem Desai, M.D., a cardiologist at Providence Mission Hospital in Southern California. Recent data from the American Heart Association suggests the optimal normal reading for adults over 20 is lower than 120/80 mmHgVirani S, et al. Heart disease and stroke statistics – 2021 update . American Heart Association Journal. 2021 143:e254-e743. .
Dr. Desai notes blood pressure can vary depending on a persons age, gender, race and ethnicity, but it should still fall within the general normal range. While numbers lower than 120/80 are generally considered normal, Dr. Desai adds, The target blood pressure for treatment varies depending on age and associated co-morbidities .
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:
When To Call Your Doctor
The risks of both high and low blood pressure make monitoring your blood pressure at home essential to your overall health and well-being. Both Dr. Wong and Dr. Desai recommend calling your healthcare provider if your self-monitored blood pressure readings are greater than 180/120 mmHgeven if you have no other symptoms.
You should call 911 if these blood pressure readings are associated with symptoms of organ damage, such as headache, vision changes, weakness, numbness, chest pain or shortness of breath, says Dr. Wong.
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Normal Blood Pressure For Men
Men are recommended to have an average normal blood pressure of 120/80 however, as we have noted, there are varying factors to consider when determining what works for each person. What is normal for a man in his 30s is not deemed a normal reading for a man in his 60s.
The following are the average blood pressures and the corresponding lows and highs for men from ages 15 to 64 years.
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Printable Average Blood Pressure Reading Chart
Printable Average Blood Pressure Reading Chart.
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Facts You Should Know About 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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How Is It Treated And Can It Be Cured
Treating hypotension usually starts with finding out why its happening. If that cause is treatable directly, hypotension will usually get better on its own. An example of this is hypotension that happens because of an injury and blood loss. Repairing that injury and replacing the lost blood will stop hypotension as long as the repair to the injury holds. If you take medications that affect your blood pressure, your healthcare provider may change your dosage or have you stop taking that medication entirely.
If the cause remains a mystery, its also possible to treat it directly. However, curing hypotension is only possible if theres an underlying cause thats curable.
Exams And Tests For Low Blood Pressure
The key to diagnosis is a good history and physical examination. If low blood pressure is found incidentally and no other symptoms exist, then documenting the lower readings will help remind the healthcare provider during future visits.
If the patient is symptomatic, documenting risk factors and exploring potential causes requires a detailed history of the situation for example:
- when symptoms occur,
- associated complaints, and
- a thorough review of past illnesses and medications.
Physical examination may include postural vital signs. The patient has the blood pressure and pulse rate taken when laying flat and again when standing . If the blood pressure drops or the pulse rate increases, it may be an indicator of decreased intravascular volume from dehydration or bleeding. The rest of the examination will likely be directed by clues from the history, but may include palpation of the thyroid gland in the neck, listening to the heart and lungs, and examination of the abdomen and the extremities.
Blood tests may be done, again directed by findings in the history and physical examination.
An electrocardiogram may be performed if the low blood pressure is thought to originate in the heart or if there is chest pain or shortness of breath associated with the low pressure.
Consideration for further testing will depend upon the potential underlying cause of low blood pressure.
Usually, low blood pressure with no symptoms requires little intervention.
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What Is Considered A Low Blood Pressure Reading
What Is Considered A Low Blood Pressure Reading. Healthy and unhealthy blood pressure ranges. Within certain limits, the lower your blood pressure reading is, the better. Use our blood pressure chart to learn what your blood pressure levels and numbers mean, including normal blood pressure and the difference between understanding your results is key to controlling high blood pressure. Blood pressure can be categorized into five different types, namely: How low is too low for blood pressure?
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Low Blood Pressure Also Known As Hypotension Is When You Have A Blood Pressure Level That Is Below The Normal Range
If your blood pressure is naturally low, this probably wont cause you any problems and wont need treating. In fact, the lower your blood pressure, the lower your risk of heart disease and stroke.
Low blood pressure can sometimes be caused by medications or can be a sign of another health problem. This can sometimes cause problems such as falls, fainting and feeling dizzy, so it might need looking into and treating. Speak to your doctor or nurse if youre worried about low blood pressure.
Plus, take a look at the animation below on how to manage low blood pressure when you stand up.
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What Is The Ideal Blood Pressure
Blood pressure readings are calculated using one number over another: systolic blood pressure over diastolic. The blood pressure monitor shows measurements in millimetres of mercury, appearing as mmHg. Everyones blood pressure will be slightly different and you would need to discuss with a medical professional as to whats safe 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.
Knowing these numbers can help make you more aware of your health, and may help you to stay on top of your blood pressure
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Symptoms Of Low Blood Pressure
Most doctors will only consider chronically low blood pressure as dangerous if it causes noticeable signs and symptoms, such as:
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
- Dehydration and unusual thirst
- Dehydration can sometimes cause blood pressure to drop. However, dehydration does not always cause low blood pressure. Fever, vomiting, severe diarrhea, overuse of diuretics and strenuous exercise can all lead to dehydration, a potentially serious condition in which your body loses more water than you take in. Even mild dehydration can cause weakness, dizziness and fatigue.
- Lack of concentration
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Living With Low Blood Pressure
Medicines and lifestyle changes can help you live safely with chronic low blood pressure. Your doctor can recommend steps you can take to manage your low blood pressure. These actions can help control the condition:
Drink more water. This can help avoid dehydration.
Medicines and lifestyle changes can help you live safely with chronic low blood pressure.
Avoid alcohol. Alcoholic beverages are dehydrating, and alcohol changes how medicines work in your body.
Slow down. Take your time when standing up. If lying down, sit up first. Then wiggle your feet and move your legs. This will increase circulation and get your heart rate up so that you dont feel lightheaded when you stand up.
If your medicine and lifestyle changes do not reduce your low blood pressure symptoms, talk with your doctor about other changes you can make.
Side Effects Of High Blood Pressure
Dangers of untreated high blood pressure include stroke, heart attack, heart failure, vision loss, kidney failure, vascular dementia and sexual dysfunction, says Dr. Desai. Its one of the top risk factors for developing atrial fibrillation, which is the most common heart rhythm disorder worldwide and can lead to stroke, heart failure and reduced quality of life.
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How To Lower High Blood Pressure Fast
Although a blood pressure chart may help you monitor your blood pressure level, knowing how to lower blood pressure or avoid its development is also necessary. Take the following measures to reduce blood pressure in case you are diagnosed with it.
- Increase your Physical activity
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What Is A Good Blood Pressure Target For Elders
Blood pressure often rises with age, but experts agree that lower numbers are better for overall health. Blood pressure is measured in two numbers: systolic and diastolic. The top number is the systolic blood pressure, which measures the pressure caused by the heart contracting and squeezing out blood. The bottom number is diastolic blood pressure, which measures the pressure when the heart relaxes and fills with blood.
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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.