What Is Cardiac Syncope
Cardiac or cardiovascular syncope is caused by various heart conditions, such as bradycardia, tachycardia or certain types of hypotension. It can increase the risk of sudden cardiac death.
People suspected of having cardiac syncope but who don’t have serious medical conditions may be managed as outpatients. Further inpatient evaluation is needed if serious medical conditions are present. Conditions that may warrant hospital evaluation and treatment include various cardiac arrhythmic conditions, cardiac ischemia, severe aortic stenosis and pulmonary embolism. If evaluation suggests cardiac vascular abnormalities, an ambulatory external or implantable cardiac monitor may be required.
When To See Your Gp
You should see your GP if you have frequent symptoms of low blood pressure. Your GP can measure your blood pressure and help identify any underlying causes of the problem.
All adults should have their blood pressure checked at least every five years. If you haven’t had yours measured or don’t know what your reading is, ask your practice nurse or GP to check it.
How Does This Condition Affect My Body
Under normal circumstances, your body can automatically control your blood pressure and keep it from dropping too much. If it starts to drop, your body tries to compensate for that, either by speeding up your heart rate or constricting blood vessels to make them narrower. Symptoms of hypotension happen when your body cant compensate enough to offset the drop in blood pressure.
For many people, hypotension doesn’t cause any symptoms. Many people don’t even know their blood pressure is low unless they get their blood pressure measured.
For people with symptoms, the effects depend on why hypotension is happening, how fast it develops and what caused it. Slow decreases in blood pressure happen normally, so hypotension becomes more common as people get older. Fast decreases in blood pressure can mean certain parts of your body arent getting enough blood flow. That can have effects that are unpleasant, disruptive or even dangerous.
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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 about 3.5 grams. Read food labels to avoid added salt in your diet.
- Eat a heart-healthy diet. This diet includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. For protein, stick to lean meats and fish. Avoid fatty foods.
- Drink enough fluids and avoid alcohol, which can increase your risk of dehydration.
- Stay physically active and start an exercise program. Ask your doctor what type and amount of exercise is safe for you.
- Maintain a moderate weight. If youre overweight, your doctor can help you create a safe weight loss plan.
- If you smoke, quit. Quitting can be difficult, so consider reaching out for support.
Facts You Should Know About Low Blood Pressure
- 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.
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What Medications/treatments Are Used
Treating hypotension directly usually happens in one of three ways:
- Increasing blood volume. This method, also known as fluid resuscitation, involves infusing fluids into your blood. Examples of this include intravenous fluids, plasma or blood transfusions.
- Making blood vessels constrict. Just as there are medications that lower your blood pressure by relaxing blood vessels in your body, there are also medications that have the opposite effect.
- Change how your body handles fluids. Your kidneys are responsible for maintaining the fluid balance in your body. Certain medications can make your kidneys keep fluid and salt in your body, which can help with low blood pressure.
Complications/side effects of the treatment
The complications of either treatment depend on the exact medication or treatment you receive. Your healthcare provider can best explain the possible complications or side effects. Thats because they can consider your specific circumstances, including other health conditions, medications you take and more.
Postural Or Orthostatic Hypotension
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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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.
Look For Warnings Related To High Blood Pressure Or Hbp Medication
Always read the labels on all over-the-counter medications, especially if you have high blood pressure . Look for warnings to those with high blood pressure and to those who take blood pressure medications. If you have high blood pressure and certainly if you are on prescription medication, consult your healthcare professional before taking any OTC medications or supplements.
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Be Careful With Supplements Or Natural Remedies
There are no special pills, vitamins or drinks that can substitute for prescription medications and lifestyle modifications. Talk to your healthcare provider before taking any over-the-counter drug or supplement that claims to lower your blood pressure. They may not work as advertised and/or interfere with other medications. In fact, some can even raise your blood pressure.
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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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:
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.
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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
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, 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 occurs when your heart cannot supply enough blood to your body, so your blood pressure drops. This can happen during a heart attack.
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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.
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.
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Types Of Low Blood Pressure
The following are the general Low Blood Pressure types.
Orthostatic: This type of Low Blood Pressure is caused when you suddenly transition from sitting or lying down to standing. The abrupt position change may cause lightheadedness or dizziness. This type of low bp tends to develop in people with autonomic nervous system-related conditions like Parkinson’s disease or diabetes.
Postprandial: This condition is characterised by a decrease in blood pressure after eating a meal. Postprandial is more common in older people and individuals suffering from autonomic disorders.
Neurally mediated: This type of reduced blood pressure is triggered by an unusual reflex interaction between the brain and the heart. This condition is more common in children and can be triggered by sudden shock or fear.
Severe: This serious form of decreased blood pressure is generally caused by infection or injury-induced shock. This is because, during a shock, blood is not circulated efficiently throughout the body. If this condition is left untreated, it can become fatal.
Q What Can I Do To Prevent Low Blood Pressure
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Treatments For Low Blood Pressure
Based on the cause, the following Low Blood Pressure treatments are administered.
Fluid infusion: This type of treatment is commonly carried out if you have lost a lot of blood due to an injury. The blood transfusion performed to compensate for the lost blood can also help to stabilise the blood pressure in your body.
Medication: There are medicines available that can constrict blood vessels and cause blood pressure to increase. There are also medications for the kidney that can help to bring blood pressure levels back to normal.
S For Treating A Person With Symptoms Keeping Them From Being Able To Treat Themselves
Dont hesitate to call 911. If someone is unconscious and glucagon is not available or someone does not know how to use it, call 911 immediately.
- Provide food or fluids
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Treatment Of Low Blood Pressure
Unless accompanied by other conditions, low blood pressure is usually easy to treat and does not require much medication. Often, a low blood pressure diet may be prescribed, or a change in lifestyle may become necessary. Common recommendations include:
Increased intake of water: Dehydration can cause an electrolyte imbalance resulting in signs of low blood pressure, and care towards adequate hydration would be important, especially in high temperature situations, during fevers or dysentery.
Increased sodium in diet: Salted nuts, cheeses and cured fish and meats are high in sodium content, and would help stabilize blood pressure in case it is very low. Care must be taken to not overdo it, however, and for a balance to be maintained.
Limiting alcohol consumption: Alcohol consumption can cause fluctuation in heart rate and limiting its consumption for some time will help alleviate symptoms of low blood pressure in otherwise healthy individuals.
Exercise: Light exercises not involving much strain to the body help improve circulation of blood throughout, and keep the heart healthy. In cases of low blood pressure, it is important to be aware of its symptoms such as palpitations and cold skin so that exercising does not aggravate the condition.
Ceasing any aggravating medication:If intake of certain medication is seen to cause dips in blood pressure, your doctor may recommend a substitute for the drug, or even stopping its consumption till pressure is stabilized.
What Puts People With Diabetes At A Higher Risk Of Bouts Of Low Blood Pressure
Diabetes and age-related changes can result in damage to your nerves involved in monitoring blood pressure as well as your reflexes that help constrict blood vessels and increase heart rate to compensate for standing up or eating a meal. Your nerve sensors in your arteries that monitor blood pressure may not work as effectively if you have diabetes especially if you have poor blood sugar control making them more prone to a drastic drop in blood pressure.
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What Is Blood Pressure
Blood pressure is the force of blood pushing on the artery walls as it is pumped out of the heart. Blood pressure is measured in two kinds of pressures. Systolic pressure is when the heart beats while pumping blood. Diastolic pressure is when the heart is at rest between beats.
Blood pressure is measured in millimeters of mercury . Systolic pressure is listed first , then diastolic pressure .
Normal blood pressure in adults is less than 120/80 mmHg.Low blood pressure is a reading below 90/60 mmHg.
Most forms of hypotension happen because your body can’t bring blood pressure back to normal or can’t do it fast enough.
For some people, low blood pressure is normal. They have it all the time, with no symptoms or negative side effects.
In other people, abnormally low blood pressure is caused by certain medical conditions or factors. When this happens, less blood and oxygen flow to the body’s organs.
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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