Health Risks Of Low Blood Pressure
There are both direct and indirect risks to having low blood pressure:
1. Inadequate Oxygen
As Dr. Lajoie mentioned, the main risk of low blood pressure is that there isn’t enough pressure in your blood vessels to get blood and thus, oxygen where it needs to go in your body, especially to the brain. Think of it like trying to take a shower when the water pressure is too lowyou just can’t get the job done easily or effectively.
2. Heart Problems
Severely low blood pressure can cause damage to your heart by depriving it of oxygen, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Individuals with existing coronary heart disease and very low blood pressure as a result of treatment are at an increased risk for cardiovascular events, such as a heart attack, according to a February 2017 study in the British Medical Journal.
Another study, published September 2018 in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, found that very low blood pressure is associated with increased angina, or chest pain, in people with chronic coronary artery disease.
If you experience a sudden drop in blood pressure, you are at risk for fainting, which could lead to an injury from falling.
4. Kidney Damage
According to Dr. Lajoie, certain patients with kidney failure can experience worsened kidney function if their blood pressure is too low.
5. Exacerbation of Stroke Symptoms
“Patients with prior strokes can have recurrence of stroke symptoms if their blood pressure drops too low,” Dr. Lajoie says.
More Serious Or Lasting Causes
Some potentially more severe health issues can also cause low blood pressure, including:
- Nutrient deficiencies: These might involve vitamin B12 or folic acid.
- Neurally mediated hypotension: This disorder causes a drop in blood pressure after the person has been standing up for a prolonged period.
- Endocrine problems: These affect the regulation of the bodys hormones. One example is hypothyroidism, also known as an underactive thyroid.
- Heart problems: These can limit how effectively the heart pushes blood around the body.
- : This is a potentially life threatening response to a severe bacterial infection.
- Anaphylactic shock: This is a potentially life threatening complication of anaphylaxis, which is a severe allergic reaction.
In addition, loss of blood due to an injury can lead to low blood pressure.
What Is Systolic Blood Pressure
When you get a blood pressure reading, youll see two numbers one on the top and one on the bottom. The top number is your systolic blood pressure, and this is the amount of pressure your heart creates as it beats to pump blood through your arteries. The bottom number is your diastolic blood pressure, which is the amount of pressure in your arteries in between heartbeats.
Low systolic blood pressure is defined as being lower than 90, and low diastolic blood pressure is any number lower than 60.
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What A Sudden Drop In Blood Pressure Means
Sudden drops in blood pressure can occur for any number of reasons, some of which may be incidental and of no real concern, while others may the sign of a potentially life-threatening condition.
Sudden drops in blood pressure are often recognized by symptoms ranging from mild lightheadedness and fatigue to severe heart rhythm problems and respiratory distress.
Although low blood pressure is easily diagnosed with a blood pressure cuff , the underlying cause of sudden, severe drops may require extensive investigation, including a physical exam, lab tests, cardiac monitoring, and imaging studies.
Symptoms Of Low Blood Pressure In Elderly Individuals
As long as you feel OK, a low blood pressure reading is generally nothing to worry about. Doctors are not usually concerned about a low BP in otherwise healthy individuals.
So, when is blood pressure too low? You should see your healthcare provider if you experience hypotension symptoms such as:
- Confusion or inability to concentrate
- An irregular or rapid heartbeat
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What’s The Difference Between Blood Pressure And Pulse
While your blood pressure is the force of your blood moving through your blood vessels, your heart rate is the number of times your heart beats per minute.
- They are two separate measurements and indicators of health.
- For people with high blood pressure;, theres no substitute for measuring blood pressure.
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
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Why Diastolic Pressure Is Important Too
The findings about low diastolic blood pressure are intriguing, and they make sense intuitively, Dr. Conlin says. Diastolic pressure is measured during the point in the heart cycle when blood flows into the coronary arteries that feed the heart. When those arteries are clogged with fatty deposits, blood pressure beyond the narrowed areas will drop as blood works its way through the narrowed channels. As a result, part of the heart muscle may not get enough blood. Starved for oxygen and nutrients, the heart may become weak and prone to damage.
When To See A Doctor
If you have signs or symptoms of shock, seek emergency medical help.
If you have consistently low blood pressure readings but feel fine, your doctor will likely just monitor you during routine exams.
Even occasional dizziness or lightheadedness may be a relatively minor problem the result of mild dehydration from too much time in the sun or a hot tub, for example. Still, it’s important to see your doctor if you have signs or symptoms of low blood pressure because they can point to more-serious problems. It can be helpful to keep a record of your symptoms, when they occur and what you’re doing at the time.
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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.
What Causes Low Blood Pressure
There are several causes of low blood pressure. Some are temporary and can be easily fixed.
Low blood pressure may also be a sign of a health issue or emergency condition. Treatment may be necessary.
Several health conditions can cause low blood pressure. These include:
- trauma or head injury
Diagnosing and treating these conditions can help balance blood pressure. Your doctor may recommend simple tests such as:
- blood tests to check hormone levels, blood sugar levels, and for infections
- an electrocardiogram or Holter monitor to check heart rhythm and function
- an echocardiogram to check your heart health
- an exercise stress test to check your heart health
- a tilt table test to check low blood pressure due to changes in body position
- the Valsalva maneuver, a breathing test to check for nervous system causes of low blood pressure
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What Can I Do For Myself
There are other things you can do for yourself to help with your symptoms.
- Wear supportive elastic stockings . They put extra pressure on your legs which helps to improve circulation and raise your blood pressure. For some people this can be enough, but speak to your GP first because they arent suitable for everyone.
- Stand up slowly from sitting or lying down. You can try other simple movements to get the blood flowing before you stand up, such as straightening and bending your legs.
- Avoid standing for long periods of time.;
- Drink enough water throughout the day, around 2 litres, so you dont get dehydrated.
- Eat little and often throughout the day. This avoids low blood pressure after eating.;
Read more about how blood pressure works.
What To Do If Your Blood Pressure Is Too Low
Drops in blood pressure occur when less blood reaches the brain than usual and, therefore, oxygenation is also lower. Although some people have hypotension, drops in blood pressure or faintingnormally occur in a timely manner, being more common in summer. It is necessary to know what should be done if a person is in this situation, so on OneHowTo we explain what to do if your pressure is too low.
When a drop in blood pressure occurs, symptoms such as dizziness, vertigo, nausea, blurred vision, weakness, fainting… are presented. At the appearance of the first signs it will be necessary that the person suffering from hypotension lies down on the floor with legs raised. Thus, they will help blood to flow more easily get to the brain.
Keep the person with their legs about 45 degrees to the ground for a few minutes to facilitate oxygenation, which has been reduced due to the lipothymy or drop in blood pressure.
It will also be convenient to loosen the clothing of the person who has suffered from a drop in blood pressure, to facilitate breathing. You may need to fan them and it will be essential to avoid crowds around them.
If conscious, give them a sugary or caffeinated drink -such as coke or some sweets to revitalize them and increase their blood glucose level.
If you want to read similar articles to What to do if your blood pressure is too low, we recommend you visit our Diseases & secondary effects category.
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Possible Complications And Risks
In some cases, your blood pressure can drop so low that your body goes into shock. This is because without proper blood flow your organs dont get enough oxygen. Signs that your body is going into shock include feeling clammy with cold but sweaty skin, faster breathing, and a rapid pulse.;
If you experience these symptoms it is imperative that you seek medical attention. The greatest risk lies in not addressing your low blood pressure. Talk to your doctor about any blood pressure-related concerns you have.;
How To Raise Low Blood Pressure
When we talk about blood pressure we are referring to the force applied by the flowing blood on the artery walls. If your blood pressure is too high or too low, it can seriously threaten your health. To measure this pressure two values must be taken into account: a systolic value and a diastolic value. Normal blood pressure will oscillate between a systolic value of 100 to 129 mmHg and a diastolic value of 60 to 84 mmHg. Pressure values below these levels are considered to be low and may or may not be problematic. You can raise low blood pressure in two main ways: treating the underlying cause of low blood pressure and changing lifestyle habits. oneHOWTO goes into the specifics of how to raise low blood pressure, especially if you have been feeling adverse symptoms.
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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.
Does High Blood Pressure Increase Heart Rate
Heart rate and blood pressure do not necessarily increase at the same rate. A rising heart rate does not cause your blood pressure to increase at the same rate. Even though your heart is beating more times a minute, healthy blood vessels dilate to allow more blood to flow through more easily. When you exercise, your heart speeds up so more blood can reach your muscles. It may be possible for your heart rate to double safely, while your blood pressure may respond by only increasing a modest amount.
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When Is Low Blood Pressure An Emergency
In many cases, low blood pressure readings are not a cause for concern. A person with low blood pressure may not even be aware that their blood pressure is low, as it does not cause symptoms in many cases.
There is also no specific cutoff point at which blood pressure becomes too low or dangerously low, as it may vary from person to person.
Some people may have chronic low blood pressure and can be otherwise healthy. The American Heart Association note that most doctors will only consider chronic low blood pressure to be dangerous if it causes other symptoms.
Severe symptoms that come on suddenly may also be a cause for concern.
While symptoms may vary from person to person, they typically include:
If a person experiences any of these symptoms, they should contact a doctor.
When blood pressure is very low or drops rapidly, it can also be a medical emergency. The note that extremely low drops in blood pressure may put the bodys organs at risk of not getting enough blood, which may lead to shock.
Some concerning signs accompanying very low blood pressure to look out for include:
- rapid, shallow breathing
- very weak but rapid pulse
- cold, clammy skin
- blue hue to the skin
Anyone experiencing these symptoms should seek emergency medical attention.
When Blood Pressure Drops During Exercise
This is a concern because it could be a sign of certain types of heart disease. One way doctors check for that is with a treadmill test.
Under normal circumstances, your blood pressure will go up with exercise, typically in increments of 20 mm Hg, depending on the intensity of the workout, and then come down afterward. “The more quickly it comes down, the better shape you’re in, and the more it’s delayed, the more you’re deconditioned,” explains Dr. Osborne.
Read more: About Systolic & Diastolic Pressure During Exercise
However, blood pressure that falls during a stress test can be a sign of severe coronary artery disease blockages in your arteries. Studies have shown that a drop of 20 mm Hg during exercise can put you at risk for a cardiac event, so the American Heart Association guidelines are to stop a treadmill test if blood pressure falls by even 10 mm Hg.
Researchers also have found that a rise in systolic pressure can be a warning sign as well if it’s too small less than the expected 20 mm Hg increase that exercise should cause, according to a May 2015 study in the Journal of the American Heart Association.
Signs of low blood pressure during exercise include chest pain and light-headedness, fainting and whiteouts when your field of vision goes white, says Dr. Osborne. Always stop immediately if you experience these symptoms and call your doctor right away.
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When Is Low Blood Pressure Too Low Hypotension And More
Some people naturally have low blood pressure, known as hypotension. However, when high blood pressure suddenly becomes low blood pressure, it could be cause for concern.
Low blood pressure, or hypotension, may be a sign of good health and of a decreased risk of heart disease. But not always. At times, continually low blood pressure or a sudden drop in blood pressure can lead to worrisome symptoms and even serious health problems.
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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