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What Reading Is Low Blood Pressure

When To Call Your Doctor

Blood Pressure Facts : What Is a Low Blood Pressure Reading?

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.

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.

References

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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Which Number Is More Important

Typically, more attention is given to systolic blood pressure as a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease for people over 50. In most people, systolic blood pressure rises steadily with age due to the increasing stiffness of large arteries, long-term buildup of plaque and an increased incidence of cardiac and vascular disease.

However, either an elevated systolic or an elevated diastolic blood pressure reading may be used to make a diagnosis of high blood pressure. According to recent studies, the risk of death from ischemic heart disease and stroke doubles with every 20 mm Hg systolic or 10 mm Hg diastolic increase among people from age 40 to 89.

Should You Use Herbal Remedies To Treat Low Blood Pressure

Learning to Take an Accurate Blood Pressure Reading

Certain herbs like licorice18, arnica 19, guarana20, and Asian ginseng21 have been known to increase blood pressure. However, do keep in mind that these herbs may have significant side effects and may also raise your blood pressure to undesirable levels. High blood pressure, in turn, is associated with serious conditions like heart failure, kidney failure, and stroke. So, on balance, it might not be advisable to use herbal remedies to raise your blood pressure. In case you are considering it, get your doctors go-ahead and have them under the guidance of an expert practitioner.

References

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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.

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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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.

Postural Or Orthostatic Hypotension

Lower Blood Pressure Readings May Be Dangerous When Treating Hypertension

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.

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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.

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What Numbers Mean High Blood Pressure What Numbers Mean Normal Blood Pressure

Normal blood pressure is at or under 120 over 80.

In November 2017, blood pressure guidelines were modified. Any blood pressure measurement at or above 130 over 80 is now considered high. And thats what we in the medical community call hypertension. These numbers are down from the old recommendation of 140 over 90.

In the past, many people in the United States were considered prehypertension. The new recommendations get rid of that category, and now almost half of U.S. adults fall into the category of hypertension. That could seem shocking. But patients who are in this category should already be discussing their blood pressure numbers with their primary care doctor. If they arent, now is a good time to connect with their medical provider and come up with a plan for treatment.

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When To Worry About Low Blood Pressure

We all know that high blood pressure can be dangerous. But what about low blood pressure

Also called hypotension, low blood pressure is not a problem if youre healthy and show no signs or symptoms of the condition. However, abnormally low blood pressure can cause problems such as dizziness and fainting and can be a sign that other serious conditions, such as heart disease, are present.

What Is A Hypertensive Crisis

Blood Pressure Readings Explained

A hypertensive crisis occurs when blood pressure suddenly rises above 180 systolic and/or 120 diastolic. This prompt either a hypertensive urgency or hypertensive emergency.

A hypertensive urgency accounts for about 75% of hypertensive crises. In these cases, a person has high blood pressure, but without any serious accompanying symptoms. A hypertensive emergency requires immediate medical care, as high BP is accompanied by one or more serious symptoms, including:

  • Acute pulmonary edema

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What Are The Causes Of High Blood Pressure

Elevated blood pressure increases your risk of chronic high blood pressure as you age. Taking steps to manage your blood pressure helps decrease this risk.

There are also some health conditions that increase your risks of chronic high blood pressure, including obesity and diabetes. Other causes include:

  • Genetics/family history
  • Lack of exercise
  • Alcohol or tobacco abuse

As adults age, their odds of high blood pressure increase, with 90% of Americans forecasted to develop high blood pressure in their lifetimes. Black people tend to develop high blood pressure more often and earlier in life compared to white people. Hispanics, Asians, American Indians, and Pacific Islanders also stand an increased risk of high blood pressure compared to other ethnicities.

Low Blood Pressure In Elderly People: The Vital Facts You Should Know

Most people are aware that high blood pressure in seniors can lead to serious medical issues, but low blood pressure in elderly individuals gets far less attention. However, blood pressure that drops too low can have equally serious effects on your health. It’s important to know the facts so that you can take proper care of yourself.

A low blood pressure reading is not necessarily cause for panic. While high blood pressure is harmful even if you don’t know you have it, low blood pressure is generally not a problem unless you start experiencing symptoms like dizziness or blurred vision. If that happens, you need to take action. Symptomatic low blood pressure in the elderly can be very dangerous because it raises the risk of a fall. At its most extreme, it can lead to shock and even death.

This article explains the basic facts about blood pressure, including how it’s measured and what the measurements mean. It also describes common symptoms of low blood pressure and outlines a variety of factors that can cause such a condition. And it provides information about different ways that low blood pressure in older adults can be treated or managed.

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What To Do If You Experience A Sudden Drop In Blood Pressure

A single low blood pressure reading is no cause to be concerned unless you experience other symptoms.

A sudden drop in blood pressure as little as a drop from 120 to 100 in your systolic number can be dangerous if it triggers dizziness and fainting. Such symptoms can be a sign of an underlying problem that may need medical attention.

You should keep a record of your activities and when symptoms happen to discuss them with your doctor. If you experience any low blood pressure symptoms related to shock, you should seek immediate medical attention.

British Columbia Specific Information

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

High blood pressure, also called hypertension, can damage your blood vessels, heart and kidneys. This damage can cause a heart attack, stroke or other health problems. Your blood pressure reading is based on two measurements called systolic and diastolic. The systolic and diastolic are written as a ratio, for example . A reading of more than 140/90 mmHg taken at your healthcare providers office may indicate high blood pressure. This figure is different for people with diabetes whose blood pressure should be below 130/80 mmHg. People suffering from other illnesses will have different target normal values. For more information on hypertension, visit the Heart & Stroke Foundation and Hypertension Canada.

Healthy lifestyle choices can help lower your blood pressure and improve your health. For information on healthy eating for lowering your blood pressure, see:

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How Is Low Blood Pressure Treated

If your blood pressure is naturally low and isnt causing you any problems it probably wont need any treatment. If you have symptoms and your doctor or nurse feels that you would benefit from treatment, they will try to find the cause of your low blood pressure so that they can find the best way to treat it.

The treatments will vary depending on the cause.

  • A change in medications. If your GP thinks that your blood pressure is caused by a medication youre taking they might want to try an alternative medication or a different dose.
  • Hormone replacement. If your low blood pressure is caused by a change in certain hormones, for example if your adrenal glands have been damaged, you may be referred to a specialist called an endocrinologist. They might prescribe hormone replacement medication.
  • Medicines to stimulate your nerves. If you have a neurological condition, you may be given medicines to stimulate the nerves.
  • Medicines for low blood pressure. These medicines narrow your blood vessels or expand the volume of your blood to raise your blood pressure. These are very rarely needed, as the treatments listed above and the changes you can make for yourself are usually enough.

Which Is More Important Systolic Or Diastolic Blood Pressure

In practice, systolic blood pressure should be regarded as more important than diastolic blood pressure . In general, there is a high correlation between systolic blood pressure and heart health. However, both systolic blood pressure and DBP are important risk factors for heart disease.

  • Systolic blood pressure is the force generated on the inside of the blood vessels called the arteries when your heart contracts.
  • DBP is pressure placed on your arteries between beats when your heart is relaxed.

According to a recent study, having DBP or systolic blood pressure thats too high is a health risk but for different reasons.

  • A high systolic reading increases the risk of heart attacks and heart disease more. Systolic blood pressure is most strongly linked with heart disease and heart failure but also with kidney disease and overall mortality.
  • A high diastolic reading was linked with a higher risk of disease of the large artery called the aorta that carries blood from the heart to the abdomen and chest. People with an elevated diastolic reading were more prone to develop an abdominal aortic aneurysm . The problem with such an enlargement is that it can lead to sudden rupture and a high risk of death.

Research favored high systolic readings as the most predictive of a harmful cardiovascular outcome. As a result, these readings were given more weight in cardiology guidelines and in estimating risk.

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Low Blood Pressure When You Stand Up

Sometimes, changes in your posture can cause your blood pressure to drop, for example, going from sitting or lying down to standing up. You might feel the symptoms listed above when you stand up, such as feeling dizzy or faint. They will pass quickly as your body adjusts, but can put you at risk of falls.

This is called postural hypotension or orthostatic hypotension. Its caused by changes to your arteries which happen as you get older and if youre taking medications to lower your blood pressure.

The animation below provides information on the causes, symptoms and potential interventions related to orthostatic hypotension.

This film was produced by Newcastle University for work completed by Dr James Frith, supported by the NIHR Newcastle Biomedical Research Centre.

When Low Blood Pressure Is An Emergency

Low and High Blood Pressure Chart Readings

If you frequently experience symptoms of low blood pressure, such as dizziness or fainting spells, you should consult a doctor. While low blood pressure, itself, usually isn’t fatal, there are serious medical situations where it is considered an emergency, and you should go to the hospital.

“The likelihood of dying from low blood pressure is low unless it is related to another disease process,” Weinberg says.

For example, a blood infection, or , can result in low blood pressure. Sepsis occurs when the chemicals released by the body to fight an infection trigger widespread inflammation, resulting in blood clotting that reduces blood flow to vital organs, such as your heart, kidneys, and brain. This can progress to septic shock and very low blood pressure, which may be fatal, and should be treated immediately.

Low blood pressure can also be affiliated with Addison’s disease a disorder in which the adrenal glands do not produce enough cortisol, a hormone that helps your body respond to stress. Lack of cortisol production can cause addisonian crisis, which is characterized by low blood pressure and can be fatal without proper treatment.

The treatment for low blood pressure varies depending on the cause. In severe cases, someone might need intravenous therapy to deliver fluids into the veins and raise blood pressure. In critical situations, such as septic shock, doctors may use drug therapies either orally or through an IV to quickly raise blood pressure.

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Serious Injuries And Shock

Low blood pressure can also be caused by serious injuries or burns, particularly if you have lost a lot of blood. This can mean that there is less blood being pumped around your body. Low blood pressure can also occur if you go into shock after having a serious injury.

Other kinds of shock are described below.

Anaphylactic shock

Anaphylactic shock, or anaphylaxis, is caused by an allergic reaction to something – for example, a wasp sting or a peanut. During an allergic reaction, your body produces a large amount of a chemical called histamine, which causes your blood vessels to widen and leads to a sudden, severe drop in blood pressure.

Cardiogenic shock

Cardiogenic shock occurs when your heart cannot supply enough blood to your body, so your blood pressure drops. This can happen during a heart attack.

How Does Blood Pressure Work

During relaxation of the heart , the left ventricle of the heart fills with blood returning from the lungs. The left ventricle then contracts and pumps blood into the arteries . The blood pressure in the arteries during contraction of the ventricle is higher because blood is being actively ejected into the arteries. It is lower during relaxation of the ventricle when no blood is being ejected into the arteries. The pulse we feel when we place our fingers over an artery is caused by the contraction of the left ventricle and the ejection of blood.

Blood pressure is determined by two factors:

  • The amount of blood pumped by the left ventricle of the heart into the arteries, and
  • The resistance to the flow of blood caused by the walls of the arterioles .
  • Generally, blood pressure tends to be higher if more blood is pumped into the arteries or if the arterioles are narrow and/or stiff. Narrow and/or stiff arterioles, by resisting the flow of blood, increase blood pressure. Arterioles may become narrower when the muscles surrounding them contract. Arterioles may become stiff and narrow when older patients develop atherosclerosis.

    Blood pressure tends to be lower if less blood is being pumped into the arteries or if the arterioles are larger and more flexible and, therefore, have less resistance to the flow of blood.

    The heart rate increases and the forcefulness of the heart’s contractions increase, pumping more blood through the heart.

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