Causes Of Low Blood Pressure
Your blood pressure can vary depending on the time of day. It gradually increases throughout the day.
What you’re doing and how you’re feeling can also affect it.
There are many possible causes of low blood pressure. It may be low because you’re fit and healthy, or you may have inherited it from your parents.
Some people develop low blood pressure as they get older.
It can also be caused by:
- being pregnant
Low Systolic Blood Pressure
Having low blood pressure is usually something everyone strives for. But when your systolic blood pressure gets too low, it can cause dizziness and fainting, and in some cases, can even be life threatening. If youve recently had your blood pressure checked and your systolic number was low, you might be wondering what it means and what you can do about it.
What Causes Low Blood Pressure With A High Heart Rate
Written byMohan GarikiparithiPublished onOctober 24, 2017
Having a condition characterized by low blood pressure and high heart rate may be cause for concern, prompting a visit to your local physician. Tachycardia, also known as a high heart rate, is a term used to refer to a pulse rate greater than 100 beats per minute and may be a reflex when the body senses a fall inblood pressure. This is generally considered a normal transient physiologic response that occurs to help correct an abnormality in blood pressure.
However, there are pathological conditions causinglow blood pressureand high heart rate, such as when the neural connections between the heart and the brain become dysfunctional, often leading to fainting spells. This condition, as well as others, should be assessed by a trained physician to find the underlying cause.
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Why Is Hypertension An Important Issue In Low
The prevalence of hypertension varies across regions and country income groups. The WHO African Region has the highest prevalence of hypertension while the WHO Region of the Americas has the lowest prevalence of hypertension .
The number of adults with hypertension increased from 594 million in 1975 to 1.13 billion in 2015, with the increase seen largely in low- and middle-income countries. This increase is due mainly to a rise in hypertension risk factors in those populations.
Diastolic Blood Pressure: How Low Is Too Low
- May 17, 2015
Blood pressure consists of two numbers. Systolic pressure, the force exerted on blood vessels when the heart beats, is the upper number. Diastolic pressure, the force exerted when the heart is at rest, is on the bottom ;in more ways than one. Systolic pressure attracts the lions share of attention from physicians and patients, says UAB cardiologist Jason Guichard, M.D., Ph.D.
Physicians are busy people, and like it or not they often focus on a single number, Guichard said. Systolic blood pressure is the focus, and diastolic pressure is almost completely ignored. That is a mistake, he argues. The majority of your arteries feed your organs during systole. But your coronary arteries are different; they are surrounding the aortic valve, so they get blood only when the aortic valve closes and that happens in diastole.
Diastolic pressure has been getting more attention lately, however, thanks in part to an influential paper in Hypertension, written in 2011 by Guichard and Ali Ahmed, M.D., then a professor of medicine in UABs Division of Gerontology, Geriatrics and Palliative Care;and now the associate chief of staff for Health and Aging at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Washington, D.C.
Most people are trying to lower their blood pressure. What would you define as too low, and why is that a problem?
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Low Blood Pressure Definition And Facts
- 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.
Why You Might Have Low Blood Pressure
Low blood pressure has many possible causes, from lifestyle choices, to medication or an underlying health condition.
In some cases, it may just be the result of being healthy and active or a tendency you’ve inherited from your parents.
Throughout the day, it’s normal for your blood pressure;to vary depending on what you’re doing. Stress at;work, the temperature outside and;your diet;could all;affect your blood pressure reading.
This is why;it’s important your blood pressure is checked under similar conditions;each time;to make sure;results are consistent.
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Treatment For High Pulse
Treatment for high pulse will vary according to a range of factors.
It is helpful to try to identify when the pulse first began to rise. Some episodes of a high pulse may be temporary. For example, if a person develops a high pulse after moving from a prone to a standing position too quickly, the heart might beat more quickly to compensate for gravitys effects.
People who experience bouts of low blood pressure or high pulse while moving from a prone to standing position could try to slow down these movements to help avoid the issue.
Exercising may also lead to a high heart rate, especially if a person is not very fit. This is because the heart may start beating faster even after a person attempts minor exercise.
If a person notices that their heart is beating faster, finding ways to calm the body and brain may help. A person can try slowing down their breathing rate or practicing guided meditations to help them relax and reduce heart rate.
If the heart rate does not go back to normal or if a person is worried, contact a doctor for a full diagnosis.
Treatment For Low Blood Pressure
Having low blood pressure is not always an immediate cause for concern. Many people with low blood pressure are unaware that they have it. Doctors may only consider treatment for low blood pressure if it causes troubling symptoms.
People who experience temporary symptoms of low blood pressure, such as lightheadedness or increased heart rate after standing up too quickly, should sit down to rest until the symptoms subside.
People who frequently experience these symptoms must take great care when moving from a prone position to standing to avoid falling.
If a medication causes symptoms of low blood pressure, doctors may recommend switching medications or lowering a dosage. A person should only change their medication under the guidance of a doctor.
The note that some people may not need treatment for low blood pressure at all. However, for those that do, possible treatments may include:
- drinking water to avoid dehydration
- taking medications to raise the blood pressure
- changing eating habits
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Prevention And Management Of Low Diastolic Blood Pressure
There are some things you can do to help prevent and manage low diastolic pressure.
- Try to keep your salt intake to between 1.5 and 4 grams per day. An ideal number is probably about 3.5 grams. You can do this by reading food labels and avoiding added salt in your diet.
- Eat a heart-healthy diet. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, and include whole grains. For protein, stick to lean meats and fish. Avoid fatty foods.
- Drink enough fluids and avoid alcohol, which can increase your risk for dehydration.
- Stay physically active and start an exercise program. Ask your doctor what type and amount of exercise is safe for you.
- Maintain a healthy weight. If youre overweight, ask your doctor to help you with a safe weight loss plan.
- Dont smoke.
When To Contact A Doctor
Anyone who experiences worrying symptoms of shock should seek emergency medical attention.
People who experience mild but uncomfortable symptoms of low blood pressure may also want to talk with their doctor to discuss treatment options.
Anyone uncertain or uncomfortable about symptoms such as low blood pressure and high heart rate should see a doctor as well. A full diagnosis can help bring peace of mind and identify any underlying issues.
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When To Contact A Medical Professional
If low blood pressure causes a person to pass out , seek treatment right away. Or call 911 or the local emergency number. If the person is not breathing or has no pulse, begin CPR.
- Black or maroon stools
Hypotension; Blood pressure – low; Postprandial hypotension; Orthostatic hypotension; Neurally mediated hypotension; NMH
Low Blood Pressure Symptoms
Low blood pressure is pressure so low it causes symptoms or signs due to the low flow of blood through the arteries and veins. When the flow of blood is too low to deliver enough oxygen and nutrients to vital organs such as the brain, heart, and kidney, the organs do not function normally and may be temporarily or permanently damaged.
Unlike high blood pressure, low blood pressure is defined primarily by signs and symptoms of low blood flow and not by a specific blood pressure number. Some individuals routinely may have blood pressure numbers of 90/50 with no symptoms and therefore do not have low blood pressure. However, others who normally have higher blood pressures may develop symptoms of low blood pressure if their blood pressure drops to 100/60.
During pregnancy, blood pressure tends to decrease. Normal blood pressure during pregnancy may be lower than 100/60. Your OB/GYN or Midwife should monitor your bood pressure if you are pregnant.
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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
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.
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Blood Pressure Vs Heart Rate
Blood pressure and heart rate are both important indications of how well your heart is working, but they measure different things. As noted above, blood pressure is the force of your blood flowing through your arteries. By contrast, heart rate is the number of times your heart beats each minute.
In adults, the heart typically beats 60 to 100 times per minute while at rest. But as with blood pressure, a healthy heart rate will differ between individuals. For instance, a pulse below 60 beats per minute is slower than normal, but it might not cause any issues for you.
However, in some situations, a low pulse means that the heart is not circulating enough blood to satisfy the body’s needs. That can cause you to feel dizzy and weak. A pulse in the 30s is a dangerously low heart rate and should be investigated.
The relationship between blood pressure and heart rate is complex. If you’re concerned about your numbers, see your doctor.
Is Low Blood Pressure A Problem
For some people, low blood pressure is a sign of good health. These are generally people who are very fit and who have a slow pulse. For other people, low blood pressure is a problem.
Often, people with low blood pressure can be expected to lead longer lives.
However, people who experience continuing symptoms of low blood pressure should see a doctor. Sudden, severe low blood pressure can be associated with serious medical conditions.
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Heart Disease & Hypotension
Although each and every individual will, at some point in their lives, experience a drop in blood pressure for one reason or another,;certain conditions can cause prolonged periods of hypotension that can become dangerous if left untreated.;Unfortunately, there are several types of heart problems that may cause low blood pressure, in addition to other more widely associated symptoms of heart disease.
Low blood pressure may be a potential complication of the following heart conditions:
As a consequence of the aforementioned medical issues, a patients;heart may not be able to circulate enough blood to meet your bodys needs,;provoking low blood pressure.
What Does A Blood Pressure Reading Look Like
When you have your blood pressure measured, 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.
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Stroke And Brain Problems
High blood pressure can cause the arteries that supply blood and oxygen to the brain to burst or be blocked, causing a stroke. Brain cells die during a;stroke;because they do not get enough oxygen. Stroke can cause serious disabilities in speech, movement, and other basic activities. A stroke can also kill you.
Having high blood pressure, especially in midlife, is linked to having poorer cognitive function and dementia later in life. Learn more about the link between high blood pressure and dementia from the National Institutes of Healths Mind Your Risks®external icon;campaign.
Frequently Asked Questions About Low Blood Pressure
Isn’t it good to have low blood pressure?Isn’t it good to have low blood pressure?
As long as its not causing any problems, the lower your blood pressure, generally the better. High blood pressure;is a risk to your health it can lead to serious conditions such as stroke, coronary heart disease and kidney failure. The lower your blood pressure, the less likely you are to suffer from these problems.
However, if your blood pressure becomes lower than usual for you, it can cause problems. If you have any symptoms like feeling dizzy or faint, you should contact your doctor. See the symptoms sections above for more information.
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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
Check Your Blood Pressure
The only way of knowing whether you have low blood pressure is;to have a;blood pressure test.
All adults over 40 are advised to have their blood pressure checked at least every five years.;Getting this done is easy and could save your life. If you have problems with your blood pressure, it is likely your GP will advise more regular checks.
You can get your blood pressure tested at a number of places, including:
- at your GP surgery
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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.