Low Blood Pressure Causes
Before starting any new exercise program, it is important to have the cause of your low blood pressure properly diagnosed. According to U.S. National Library of Medicine , hypotension could be caused by dehydration, heart failure, nerve damage from diabetes and changes in heart rhythm. Alcohol consumption can also be a factor, as well as certain medications like diuretics, painkillers and antidepressants and anti-anxiety drugs.
Your blood pressure can also drop when you change positions too quickly, a condition called orthostatic hypotension. NLM notes that this type of low blood pressure usually lasts only a few seconds or minutes.
Once your doctor has diagnosed the underlying problem, then the correct exercise program can be developed.
What To Eat To Help Raise Low Blood Pressure
Low blood pressure can be caused by a variety of factors, including medication side effects and conditions like diabetes. What you eat also has a notable impact on your heart health and blood pressure. Here are eight diet tips that might help raise your blood pressure back up to a healthy level.
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
Your provider may recommend certain steps to prevent or reduce your symptoms including:
- Drinking more fluids
- Getting up slowly after sitting or lying down
- Not drinking alcohol
- Not standing for a long time
- Using compression stockings so blood does not collect in the legs
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What Is Low Blood Pressure
Low blood pressure occurs when blood pressure drops below the normal range. Doctors generally define low blood pressure as 90/60 mm Hg or below, commonly said as 90 over 60 Usually, doctors only treat hypotension if it is severe enough to cause symptoms.
Low blood pressure can be temporary, or it can be a chronic condition. The main types of hypotension are:
- Orthostatic hypotension: People with orthostatic hypotension feel faint or lightheaded when they stand up or change position suddenly.
- Postprandial hypotension: This condition causes people to feel lightheaded or dizzy after eating a meal because their blood pressure drops suddenly.
- Neurally mediated hypotension: People with this disorder feel faint, dizzy, and nauseous after exercising or standing for a long time.
- Severe hypotension linked to shock: Shock is the most extreme form of hypotension. When a person is in shock, blood pressure drops to dangerously low levels, and the brain and organs cant get enough blood to function.
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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Low Blood Pressure And Pregnancy
A drop in blood pressure is common during the first 24 weeks of pregnancy. The circulatory system starts to expand, and hormonal changes cause your blood vessels to dilate.
If you experience low blood pressure symptoms, let your OB-GYN know. You may need to pay more attention to your hydration during this time.
Pregnancy-related low blood pressure usually goes away later on in the pregnancy or shortly after delivery.
Its important to have your blood pressure checked and monitored during pregnancy to eliminate any underlying causes for it, such as anemia or an ectopic pregnancy.
Talk to your healthcare provider about your overall activity level and dietary habits to determine what changes, if any, you should make.
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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Boost Your B12 Intake
Vitamin B12 performs a critical role in helping the body produce healthy red blood cells. Lack of this important vitamin can result in anemia, which lowers blood pressure and can result in excessive bleeding as well as organ and nerve damage. Foods that are rich in vitamin B12 include eggs, chicken, fish like salmon and tuna, and low-fat dairy products.
What Procedures And Tests Diagnose Low Blood Pressure
In some people, particularly relatively healthy ones, symptoms of weakness, dizziness, and fainting raise the suspicion of low blood pressure. In others, an event often associated with low blood pressure, for example, a heart attack, has occurred to cause the symptoms.
Measuring blood pressure in both the lying and standing positions usually is the first step in diagnosing low blood pressure. In patients with symptomatic low blood pressure, there often is a marked drop in blood pressure upon standing, and patients may even develop orthostatic symptoms. The heart rate often increases. The goal is to identify the cause of the low blood pressure. Sometimes the causes are readily apparent . At other times, the cause may be identified by testing:
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What Causes Low Blood Pressure
Genetics, family history, and being very physically fit can all contribute to lower than normal blood pressure. Your lower blood pressure may simply be normal for you.
Sometimes low blood pressure can indicate another health condition that needs treatment or assessment. The following conditions can cause low blood pressure:6
- Anemia or nutritional deficiencies, particularly deficiencies in folate and B vitamins.
- Early pregnancy.
Exercise Dos And Donts
When exercising, take precautions to help stabilize your blood pressure. Because your body needs blood to digest food, eating smaller meals before exercise can help, according to Natasha Trentacosta, MD, a sports medicine specialist and orthopedic surgeon at Cedars Sinai Kerlan-Jobe Institute in Santa Monica, California.
She also recommends changing positions slowly, such as standing up after doing exercises on a bench or the ground, to prevent orthostatic hypotension.
“If you’re doing exercises like bicep curls on a bench, for example, and you suddenly stand up to switch weights, your blood vessels don’t have enough time to adjust their pressure,” she says. “That can bring on symptoms like dizziness, headache and even blurry vision.”
Also remember to drink plenty of fluid. If you’re dehydrated, it means that your body is losing more water then you’re consuming, and not only can that worsen low blood pressure, but NLM notes that dehydration symptoms can also mean dizziness, fatigue, excessive thirst and dry mouth.
If you have hypotension and plan to work out, make sure you hydrate properly, Dr. Trentacosta says. If you are participating in vigorous exercise, you may need to drink a sports drink that contains electrolytes as well. Each person’s need for water is different, so your doctor can recommend the proper fluid intake based on your personal health.
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When To See A Healthcare Provider Or Go To The Hospital
If you have symptoms of low blood pressure, you should discuss your concerns with your healthcare provider. Low blood pressure can be successfully treated. Treatment can include medication and lifestyle changes. Getting up slowly when you go from a sitting to a standing position, getting enough fluids, and avoiding excess heat can all help to reduce the frequency of hypotensive episodes.
If you notice the symptoms of shock in yourself or someone else, you should contact emergency services immediately.
How To Raise Low Blood Pressure
If youre dealing with hypotension, the first step is making an appointment with your doctor. After discussing your medical history, lifestyle, and other factors, your doctor may change your medication or suggest certain lifestyle changes to get to the root of the issue.
Its important not to stop taking any medications or change dosages without talking to a healthcare professional first. The same is true of dietary or other changes.
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Treatments For Low Blood Pressure
At first, your doctor may ask that you make changes to your diet and exercise routine to see if improvements are possible without medication. Following a heart-healthy diet is great for managing your blood pressure.
You may need to make changes in your medication to manage your blood pressure. It is more common to prescribe medication that lowers your blood pressure than to raise it. If your doctor suspects that a current medication is causing your blood pressure to drop, you may need to stop it and try something new.
So What Can I Do About Low Blood Pressure
Finding a solution often starts with pinpointing the culprit. Many people with hypotension can be treated by avoiding triggering medications or situations, says Dr. Wong.
In many cases, she says, medications may need to be adjusted or discontinued. Talk to your doctor about your symptoms and whether your medications could be the cause. Maybe you need to switch your antidepressant. Or your beta blocker dose is too high.
Lifestyle changes can also be helpful, adds Dr. Wong. Most of the recommendations to raise blood pressure are the same ones experts suggest for lowering it.
Those include eating a wholesome diet and getting moderate-intensity aerobic exercise for at least 30 to 60 minutes a day to keep your blood pumping. Aim to fill your days with fruits, vegetables and whole foods low in added sugar. This will help ensure that your food is rich in heart-boosting minerals such as potassium and magnesium, says Dr. Bonney.
Reducing stress is another strategy that can help, Dr. Bonney adds. Elevation of cortisol, the fight-or-flight hormone, can negatively affect blood pressure, she says. Mindfulness exercises and meditation can help regulate blood pressure levels for many people.
In general, low blood pressure isnt cause for alarm. But if you find yourself affected in ways that concern you such as feeling unsteady from head rushes whenever you stand speak with your doctor about how to reduce the impact of your symptoms.
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What Are The Treatments For Low Blood Pressure
For many people, chronic low blood pressure can be effectively treated with diet and lifestyle changes.
Depending on the cause of your symptoms, your doctor may tell you to increase your blood pressure by making these simple changes:
- Eat a diet higher in salt.
- Drink lots of nonalcoholic fluids.
- Avoid straining while on the toilet.
- Avoid standing still in place for long periods of time.
- Avoid prolonged exposure to hot water, such as hot showers and spas. If you get dizzy, sit down. It may be helpful to keep a chair or stool in the shower in case you need to sit to help prevent injury, use a nonslip chair or stool designed for use in showers and bath tubs.
- To avoid problems with low blood pressure and lessen episodes of dizziness after meals, try eating smaller, more frequent meals. Cut back on carbohydrates. Rest after eating. Avoid taking drugs to lower blood pressure before meals.
- If needed, use elastic support stockings that cover the calf and thigh. These may help restrict blood flow to the legs, thus keeping more blood in the upper body.
Medications for Low Blood Pressure
If these measures don’t lessen the problem, you may need medication.
The following drugs are sometimesÃ used in treating low blood pressure.
What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Low Blood Pressure
The symptoms of low blood pressure may include:
These symptoms can occur when doing nothing. They are more likely to occur when changing position, such as standing up or when straining on the toilet.
However, often there are no symptoms and low blood pressure is often only identified as a result of a routine medical examination or during the course of an investigation for some other condition or underling illness.
Low blood pressure may be more serious in elderly people who may have an underlying illness or who may be at risk of a fall.
Check your symptoms with healthdirects Symptom Checker to get advice on when to seek medical attention.
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Diagnosis Of Low Blood Pressure
A familiar instrument for diagnosis of low blood pressure is a sphygmomanometer, which has an inflatable cuff that goes around your forearm while you are sitting and supported. This cuff is worn at the heart level and must be the right size since a too large or too small cuff would result in the wrong measurement.
The inflation and deflation causes the blood vessels to constrict and relax in conjunction, and a doctor uses a stethoscope near the crook of your elbow to determine when the blood flow is constricted, and the time that it starts. The pressure diagnosed at these two times is what is noted as your blood pressure.
The pulse rate is also an important indicator of any abnormalities in blood pressure, and a doctor may repeatedly measure your pulse in addition to measuring blood pressure. A rapid, shallow beating of the pulse may indicate inability of the heart to pump adequate blood through the body. Sometimes, an electrocardiogram may also be used for accurate measurement of the heart rate, or a blood sugar test may be prescribed to determine any symptoms or effects of low blood pressure. A “tilt-table test” that simulates a change in posture while lying down on a table may also be prescribed to check for orthostatic hypotension.
Diagnosis depends on the outcome of these tests and is relatively simple to do. Medical history is also a consideration when determining if a person has signs of low blood pressure, or a more short-term incident.
Low Diastolic Blood Pressure: Causes Treatment And More
Low diastolic blood pressure is when blood pressure between heartbeats is lower than it should be. Blood pressure is the force that blood exerts against the arteries as the heart pumps it around the body.
This article will take a closer look at low diastolic blood pressure, including its causes, symptoms, and treatments.
Systolic blood pressure: This is the top number, and is the higher of the two. It measures how much pressure the blood applies to the artery walls when the heart beats.
Diastolic blood pressure: This is the lower number, which shows the pressure that the blood applies to the artery walls when the heart rests between beats.
A blood pressure reading will show the systolic blood pressure number first, and diastolic blood pressure second. A doctor will assess a persons blood pressure by considering both numbers. In most adults, a is usually less than 120/80 mm Hg. Low blood pressure, or hypotension, is blood pressure that is below 90/60 mm Hg.
Low diastolic blood pressure, or isolated diastolic blood pressure, is when the diastolic blood pressure falls below 60 mm Hg , while the systolic blood pressure remains at a normal level.
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Home Remedies To Treat Low Blood Pressure Naturally
Some people naturally have low blood pressure. This generally doesnt cause any symptoms and should not be a cause for worry. Remember, low blood pressure requires treatment only when its causing symptoms that affect your normal life. If your low blood pressure is caused by an underlying condition, your doctor may initiate treatment for it. And in some cases, medication may be prescribed for your condition. However, the symptoms of low blood pressure can usually be treated with home remedies and lifestyle changes. Here are some measures you can try.
What Is The Lowest Bp Before Death
The lower number indicates how much pressure the blood is exerting against artery walls while the heart is at rest between beats. When an individual is approaching death, the systolic blood pressure will typically drop below 95mm Hg. However, this number can vary greatly as some individuals will always run low.
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