Also Known As Hypotension
Low blood pressure, also known as hypotension, occurs when blood flows through your blood vessels at pressures that are lower than normal. Blood pressure is defined as the force of blood pushing against artery walls as it is pumped by the heart. Low blood pressure is primarily a concern if it produces symptoms such as dizziness, fainting, blurry vision, or fatigue, or if you have a sudden drop in blood pressure.
Maintaining a healthy blood pressure can protect you from a host of health issues.
But blood pressure that is too lowdefined as below 90/60 mm Hgcan prevent your organs from getting adequate amounts of the oxygenated blood they need to function properly. Hypotension is of particular concern for vital organs like the brain.
Treatment And Medication Options For High Blood Pressure
Most people who have high blood pressure will likely need lifelong treatment to help ward off or delay serious health problems brought on by the condition.
Options to treat high blood pressure may include eating a healthy diet with less salt, taking medication, and incorporating additional lifestyle changes. These include exercise, limiting alcohol intake, smoking cessation, and managing stress.
Surprising Facts About Dizziness And Vertigo
Dizzy spells and vertigo may be caused by different factors. Learn the potential reasons you may be dizzy, plus why you may be experiencing nausea.
Many of us have found ourselves asking the question, be it on ordinary days or in times of illness, Why am I dizzy?
While dizzy spells can be uncomfortable, it probably wont surprise you to learn that occasional dizziness is very common in adults. But you may not have suspected that vertigo a related but more serious condition that makes you feel like the room is spinning as you stand still is also common, affecting nearly 40 percent of people over age 40 at least once in their lifetime, according to the University of California San Francisco Medical Center.
So, how do you know if you have vertigo or ordinary dizziness? The main difference is vertigo can cause nausea and vomiting and may be a symptom of a serious balance disorder while dizziness simply makes you feel momentarily unbalanced. That said, dizzy spells can range in severity from merely annoying to seriously debilitating.
Heres what causes vertigo and general dizziness plus what to do if you experience one of these episodes.
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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 Endocrine Function The main function of endocrine glands is to secrete hormones directly into the bloodstream. Hormones are chemical substances that affect the activity of another part of the body … read more that are primarily made by the kidneys
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.
About Low Blood Pressure
The heart pumps a constant supply of blood around the body. The blood flows through different networks in the body, for example, arteries, veins and capillaries. Blood pressure is a measure of the force of the blood on the walls of the arteries as the blood flows through them.
It’s measured in millimetres of mercury and recorded as two measurements:
- systolic pressure the pressure when your heart beats and squeezes blood into your arteries
- diastolic pressure the pressure when your heart rests between beats
For example, if your systolic blood pressure is 120mmHg and your diastolic blood pressure is 80mmHg, your blood pressure is 120 over 80, which is commonly written as 120/80.
Normal blood pressure is between 90/60 and 140/90. If you have a sustained reading of 140/90 or more, you have high blood pressure . This puts you at greater risk of developing serious health conditions, such as heart attack or stroke.
People with a blood pressure reading under 90/60 are usually regarded as having low blood pressure.
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How To Raise Your Blood Pressure
Some of the healthy tips that can prevent or help you to raise your blood pressure include the following.
How Is Blood Pressure Generated
The left lower chamber of the heart receives oxygenated blood from the lungs and pumps it throughout the body. The heart fills with blood between heartbeats. This phase in the heart cycle is called diastole. When the heart pumps to push blood throughout the arteries, this phase is called systole. You can place your fingers on your neck or the inside of your wrist to detect your heartbeat. The pulse you feel is the contraction of the heart’s left ventricle.
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What Is Blood Pressure
As blood pumps through the circulatory system, it pushes against the walls of the arteries and veins. Blood pressure is the force of the blood as it presses against the blood vessel walls. It is measured in systolic pressure and diastolic pressure .
Blood pressure rises and falls throughout the day. Normal blood pressure is considered to be below 120/80 mm Hg. In a blood pressure reading, the top number refers to systolic pressure, and the bottom number refers to the diastolic pressure.
What The Studies Found And What They Mean
In one of the observational studies, published Oct. 16, 2016, in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, researchers analyzed the medical records of more than 11,000 adults collected over a period of three decades as part of the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study. They found that people who had low diastolic blood pressure were twice as likely to have subtle evidence of heart damage compared with people whose diastolic blood pressure was 80 to 89 mm Hg. Low diastolic values were also linked with a higher risk of heart disease and death from any cause over 21 years.
For the second, published Oct. 29, 2016, in The Lancet, researchers analyzed data from CLARIFY, a registry of more than 22,600 people with heart disease from 45 countries. They determined that, compared with people who had systolic blood pressure of 120 to 139 mm Hg and diastolic pressure of 70 to 79, people with a systolic blood pressure of 140 mm Hg or higher were more likely to experience heart attacks or strokes, to be hospitalized with heart failure, or to die within a five-year period. But the same was true for heart attacks, heart failure, and death in people with low blood pressure .
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Q What Can Cause Low Blood Pressure
- Nutrition deficiency in the diet
- Certain antidepressants
What A Sudden Drop In Blood Pressure Means
A sudden drop in blood pressure, also called hypotension, can occur for any number of reasons. Some may be of no real concern, while others may be a sign of a potentially life-threatening condition.
This article will cover the various causes of low blood pressure, possible symptoms, and treatment options.
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How To Check Your Blood Pressure
You can check your blood pressure:
- at home yourself using a home blood pressure monitor – talk to your GP about home monitors
Low blood pressure is a measurement of 90/60mmHg or lower.
The first number is the highest pressure when your heart beats and pumps blood around your body. The second number is the lowest pressure when your heart relaxes between beats.
See a GP if you have low blood pressure and keep getting symptoms such as dizziness.
Low Blood Pressure: What To Eat And What To Avoid
Many people live normally with low blood pressure , but some suffer dizziness, fainting, and even life-threatening effects such as heart attack or stroke. The condition can be characterized by a sudden drop in pressuresometimes triggered by standing up or eating or defined as chronically low blood pressure . There are many causes, including dehydration, injury, pregnancy, medication and disease, among others, and dietary measures that can improve or worsen low blood pressure. Here are a few of the dos and donts.
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What Do The Guidelines Mean For Older Adults
One criticism of the new guidelines is how to best treat older adults with high blood pressure. For example, if an older persons systolic blood pressure is over 170, trying to get it down to 120 can be very challenging. In this scenario, lowering the blood pressure to 150 or even 145 can still have benefits, notes Frishman.
In January 2017, the American College of Physicians and the American Academy of Family Medicine announced a guideline on blood pressure targets for people 60 and older that appeared in an article published in March 2017 in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine. They recommended that physicians initiate treatment when persistent systolic blood pressure is at or above 150 mmHg, to achieve a target systolic blood pressure of less than 150 mmHg, because high-quality evidence shows that it reduces the risk of mortality, stroke, and cardiac events.
All experts agree that reducing blood pressure to levels of 150/90 in all patients is beneficial. Almost all agree that in some patients reducing further has benefit. If you cant achieve that goal through weight loss, diet, and exercise you will benefit from a conversation with your physician about what medications are best for you, and what target blood pressure best meets your needs, says Dr. Forciea.
But even with the new guidelines, treatment must be individualized.
Diagnosing The Cause Of Low Blood Pressure
The first key to know how to raise low blood pressure is to detect what causes the problem in the first place. This is something which should only be done by a doctor as they will not only be able to determine major illnesses or underlying conditions, but advise on the most effective course of treatment. The best medical professional to see will be an arterial hypotension specialist as they should have the most comprehensive knowledge on the subject.
However, raising low blood pressure is also about stopping certain actions which might lower blood pressure. This is why we have some general recommendations to help keep a healthy blood pressure level until a specialist can make confirmation of a diagnosis. Until then, keeping an eye on the symptoms and making sure you are not in need of emergency care is important. If you are, then you will need to see a doctor right away.
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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.
Causes Of Secondary Hypertension
When high blood pressure arises suddenly due to an identifiable condition, its called secondary hypertension.
Some conditions and drugs can lead to secondary hypertension, including the following:
- Kidney problems
HormonesBirth control pills can also affect blood pressure. Women who take birth control pills usually experience a small rise in systolic and diastolic blood pressure .
Hormone therapy used to relieve symptoms of menopause can also cause a small rise in systolic blood pressure.
If you know you have high blood pressure, but are considering hormone therapy, talk with your doctor about the risks and benefits of undergoing hormone therapy, as well as the best ways to control your blood pressure.
Additionally, some recreational and illegal drugs, such as cocaine, ecstasy , and amphetamines, are also known to increase blood pressure.
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Low Blood Pressure Symptoms
Low blood pressure is manifested by various symptoms. They can vary in degree, but also be part of another problem, so it is important to give consideration as well as seeking professional medical advice. Low blood pressure symptoms include:
- Tiredness and constant fatigue
- Dizziness or vertigo
- Having you the feeling you’re going to faint or in some cases even fainting
- Reduced concentration
- Pallid skin color
You are probably wondering how to raise low blood pressure because you have experienced a drop in yours. If this blood pressure drop is due to cardiac problems you will be able to feel the beating of your heart intensely. However, if the pressure drops due to something like internal bleeding, you will see different symptoms such as blood in your stool. When it is due to an infection, a high fever above 38 degrees may develop. If you experience low blood pressure, you should be attentive to any other symptoms and consult your doctor as soon as possible.
Q What Can I Do To Prevent Low Blood Pressure
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Heart Rate And Exercise
In discussions about high blood pressure, you will often see heart rate mentioned in relation to exercise. Your target heart rate is based on age and can help you monitor the intensity of your exercise.
- If you measure your heart rate before, during and after physical activity, youll notice it will increase over the course of the exercise.
- The greater the intensity of the exercise, the more your heart rate will increase.
- When you stop exercising, your heart rate does not immediately return to your normal heart rate.
- The more fit you are, the sooner your heart rate will return to normal.
Feeling Dizzy May Be Related To Anxiety
Many people who experience dizziness, especially people in their twenties, may also have anxiety, says Whitman. They usually dont want to hear that dizziness can be linked to anxiety because it suggests that its all in their heads, he notes. But whats in your head is your brain. And anxiety can reflect a brain function disturbance that’s possibly genetic.
Compared with people who dont have anxiety, people with anxiety disorders appear to sway more when subjected to a moving visual environment, Whitman says. And they sway in a way that seems to be synchronized with the visual movement. These people may be abnormally sensitive to visual stimulation, because their dizziness can increase when theyre watching moving objects or walking through a large, bright store, says Whitman.
This is called visual dependence, and little is known about how common it is. We need to develop better tests of visual dependence, and we need laboratory tests for what we now call anxiety disorders,” ways Whitman. “Its likely that in the future, these disorders will be reclassified, in part, based on genetics.
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