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Why Does Blood Pressure Drop

Medications That Can Cause Low Blood Pressure

Dizziness, balance problems, and blood pressure swings can be from upper cervical instability

Several medicines may cause low blood pressure, including some medications used to control high blood pressure.

Working with your doctor or other health care provider to change your medication or adjust your dosage can help control low blood pressure. You should never modify a dose or stop taking a medication without first consulting your health care provider.

Alpha and beta blockers, diuretics, erectile dysfunction drugs, Parkinsons disease drugs and some types of antidepressants can cause low blood pressure.

Medications that can cause low blood pressure include:

  • Benicar a prescription blood pressure medication
  • Cialis an erectile dysfunction drug; risk is especially high when taken with nitroglycerin heart medication
  • Cymbalta a serotonin and norepinephrine inhibitor antidepressant
  • Hydrochlorothiazide a widely used generic diuretic
  • Inderal, Innopran XL and other versions of propranolol beta blockers
  • Lasix a diuretic
  • Confusion

Diagnosis Of Low Blood Pressure

Your GP will ask about your symptoms and examine you. Theyll measure your blood pressure using either an automated digital device or a manual device. To find out more about how blood pressure is measured, see our animation at the top of this page, Having your blood pressure taken, in the introduction above.

If you have symptoms of postural hypotension , your GP may also measure the change in your blood pressure while youre sitting and then standing. If its much lower when you stand up compared with when youre sitting down, this suggests you have postural hypotension.

Your GP may also recommend that you have some blood tests to check your general health and an electrocardiogram ;to check the electrical activity of your heart. They may also ask you to have an echocardiogram; if they need to check for any underlying problems affecting your heart.

If your symptoms need further investigation, your doctor may recommend that you have a tilt test. The test involves being slowly tilted from lying down to an upright position on a table as your blood pressure, heart rate and rhythm are monitored. For more information, see our FAQ: What happens in a tilt test? below.

Hyperventilation And Low Blood Pressure

Hyperventilation occurs when a persons breathing pattern changes in a way that reduces his or her CO2 levels. The most common reason this occurs is when the rate of increases , which often happens during periods of intense anxiety. It may also occur when people recognize their breathing rate increases, and try to slow the breathing through taking in deeper breaths. The body has a way of regulating the levels of oxygen and CO2 that is needed, so when a person attempts to control their breathing rate, it not uncommon to take in too much air.

Without enough carbon dioxide, the body has to work harder to function properly. Blood needs to move more quickly, and blood vessels dilate as a result. This dilation causes a drop in blood pressure but still may show up in a blood pressure reading.

Also Check: What Can Cause High Blood Pressure Spikes

Exercise For People At Risk For Or With High Blood Pressure

Its safe to exercise if youre at risk for high blood pressure or with high blood pressure . In fact, regular exercise can help you keep your blood pressure in check.

If youre at risk for or have hypertension, speak to your doctor about the safest way to exercise. This may involve:

  • choosing moderate activities
  • working up to daily exercise

If youre concerned about your blood pressure, you can monitor it before, during, and after your workout.

White Coat And Masked Hypertension

Why Does My Blood Pressure Drop When I Exercise?

It’s important to distinguish fluctuating blood pressures from two phenomena known as white-coat hypertension and masked hypertension.

In the phenomenon of;white coat hypertension,;a person’s blood pressure is considered to be “high” at a healthcare provider’s office, but normal when at home. This high blood pressure is attributed to the stress of being in a healthcare provider’s office, which is why a nurse will often wait for a person to rest comfortably for five minutes before taking a read.

In addition, it’s also recommended that two blood pressure reads are taken and repeated if there is a difference of more than 5 millimeters of mercury .

Masked hypertension is the opposite;and occurs when healthcare provider’s visit blood pressures are normal but out of the healthcare provider’s office, reads are high.

To sort these issues out, a healthcare provider may recommend home monitoring or ambulatory blood pressure monitoring.;Home monitoring may also be recommended for:

  • Persistent high blood pressure readings despite increasing medications
  • Low blood pressure readings while taking high blood pressure medications

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Reasons Your Blood Pressure Fluctuates

If you are seeing regular fluctuations in your blood pressure readings, youre not alone. Some variation in your blood pressure throughout the day is normal. In fact, there are a number of reasons for this including small changes in daily life, such as stress, exercise or even how well you slept the night before.

According to the American Heart Association , there are more than 116 million adults in the U.S. with high blood pressure. Recently, the U.S. Surgeon General, VADM Jerome Adams, released a for hypertension control to make it a national public health priority. Experts have called for monitoring your blood pressure at home because it is a great way to gain a better understanding of your numbers.

Knowing and regularly measuring your can help you see irregularities that you want to call to your doctors attention. Keeping track of your numbers may help your doctor determine a course of action or treatment. If variances in your blood pressure readings exist, it is important to know that there are some factors you can controlbut some you cant. Lets look at some of the reasons that may cause your blood pressure to fluctuate.

Poor Nutrition And Anemia

Poor nutrition can cause anemia, which in turn can cause a rapid heart rate and low blood pressure. When you do not take in enough iron, your body lacks what it needs to form adequate red blood cells. Lack of folate and vitamin B12 also can lead to low blood pressure due to anemia. Anemia also is characterized by fatigue.

When you are anemic and not producing enough red blood cells, your body’s ability to carry oxygen to tissues like muscle throughout your body is diminished. Other symptoms may include fatigue, lightheadedness, shortness of breath during exercise, concentration problems, headaches, chest pain, tingling and constipation, according to the American Society of Hematology. Consult a doctor if you have signs of anemia.

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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.

  • Fluid Intake. Increase the water intake, dont wait for the time you feel thirsty. Avoid alcoholic beverage, as they often cause more dehydration. Tomato juices or sports drink might also help.
  • Salt Intake. Sodium, which is present in salt, is necessary to help maintain blood pressure and must be consumed as per the daily requirement. For those who are consistently having low blood pressure and not suffering from high blood pressure, increasing salt intake can help.
  • Get a Leg Up. While rising from the bed, make a little bit up and down leg movement to get the blood flowing. This prevents pooling of blood in one area, warms up the muscles to improve blood circulation. This prevents sudden dropping of blood pressure on raising up.
  • Leg and Lower Belly Support. Pooling of blood , which is a common cause of low blood pressure on standing from a lying down position can also be relieved by using stockings. Compression stockings which are thigh high or waist-high are best to squeeze the legs, and prove to be really helpful in maintaining blood pressure, particularly for people with postural hypotension.
  • Eat Small Frequent Meals. Blood pressure also drops on eating large and heavy meals. Eating small frequent meals throughout the day help in maintaining blood pressure. So, in to raise your blood pressure if it is too low, have often, but make sure it is healthy food.
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    How Can You Prevent Low Blood Pressure

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    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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    Is It Normal For My Blood Pressure To Drop After Exercise

    General responses to selected questions from Joel Braunstein, MD, of Johns Hopkins University and Joseph Toscano, MD.


    I am 6 foot tall and weigh 210 lbs. and have been exercising regularly for the past year. Oftentimes my blood pressure before exercise will read, for example, 145/89, but after exercise will read lower, such as 117/79. Is this normal? I feel great. Thanks for your help.


    Normally, blood pressure increases from resting level with exercise. Based on criteria used for exercise treadmill tests, any decrease in blood pressure during exercise might be a sign of heart disease. The same is true, to a lesser extent, if there is a failure of the blood pressure to increase with exercise. Once exercise has stopped, blood pressure should return to resting levels and may even drop to slightly below pre-exercise levels for a while based on a number of factors, like any medications one might be taking, overall fitness level, and the type and duration of exercise.

    Is Low Blood Pressure Bad For Your Health

    Lower blood pressure is associated with a lower risk of conditions like heart disease, stroke, and kidney disease. Those who exercise regularly, athletes, non-smokers, and those who maintain an optimal body weight experience lower blood pressures. Lower blood pressure is a good thing as long as it doesn’t cause symptoms that could damage organs and tissues of the body.

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    What Are The Symptoms

    Many people with low blood pressure have no symptoms. Their low blood pressure doesnt create problems; in fact, it is a good thing, as they are less likely to develop issues with high blood pressure.

    But some people with low blood pressure do have symptoms. The most common are sudden dizziness, light-headedness, or even fainting, especially when standing up from sitting, squatting or lying down.2 This is called postural or orthostatic hypotension and is caused by not enough blood getting to the brain. Usually it lasts only seconds. In the elderly, however, it can have a greater impact, resulting in more health problems and injuries.3

    Other symptoms of low blood pressure can include:

    • nausea
    • inability to concentrate
    • headache

    The biggest risk of harm from low blood pressure comes from losing your balance or fainting and then falling; an injury from a fall can be significant.

    Some people, especially the elderly, experience low blood pressure after eating, as blood moves to the vessels that supply the stomach and intestines to aid digestion.4

    In other people, mostly children and youth, a rare condition may result in low blood pressure when standing for too long.5

    If you have low blood pressure and regularly experience difficult or distressing symptoms, or have had sudden onset of low blood pressure with symptoms, see your doctor for a full assessment.

    Efferent Sympathetic Nerve Activity

    What Is A Normal Blood Pressure Reading? Understanding ...

    A number of studies have examined the influence of sympathetic nerve activity on PEH. The use of microneurography has allowed researches to directly measure sympathetic nerve activity. Measures of muscle sympathetic nerve activity as an indication of vascular tone have yielded contradictory results. Halliwell et al has documented decrements in MSNA in a normotensive population, whereas others have found no changes., Floras and co-workers reported a reduced muscle sympathetic nerve activity following exercise in borderline hypertensives. It has been suggested that borderline hypertensive subjects exhibit higher than normal MSNA in the resting condition, and thus the observed hypotension was due to a transient suppression of augmented sympathetic outflow. Rodent data are no more conclusive. Following exercise, blood pressure and lumbar sympathetic nerve activity have been found to be reduced in spontaneously hypertensive rats and measures of splanchnic sympathetic nerve activity have also been found to be decreased in this population. On the other hand, in separate studies, Kenney et al reported both unchanged renal and elevated lumbar sympathetic nerve activity and decreased renal sympathetic nerve activity after prolonged stimulation of the sciatic nerve in Dahl salt-sensitive rats.

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    Causes And Risk Factors For A Lowblood Pressure

    Some medications may also trigger hypotension. These include beta blockers, water pills , alpha blockers, Parkinsons disease medications, erectile dysfunction drugs, and some antidepressants. All these can negatively affect the rate at which the heart contracts. Elderly people tend to be highly sensitive to some of these medications. This is because they are more susceptible to ill heart problems. High blood pressure medications can also largely contribute to symptomatic low blood pressure, especially in the elderly. Check out this page to see how Apple Cider Vinegar can help maintain a healthy 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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    What To Know About Blood Pressure Changes When You Move From One Position To Another

    Your blood pressure can also change as you move from one position to another. This may be particularly noticeable when you move from a sitting or lying position to a standing position.

    When you stand, gravity causes blood to pool in your lower body. This can cause a temporary drop in blood pressure. However, your body has a way to adjust to this change.

    Certain reflexes in your body send a signal to your brain when a drop in blood pressure is detected. Your brain then tells your heart to beat faster in order to pump more blood. This works to stabilize your blood pressure.

    However, sometimes this process can be interrupted, causing the drop in blood pressure to last longer than normal. When this happens, theres a delay in blood flow to your brain. As a result, you may feel lightheaded, dizzy, or faint for a short while after you stand.

    This condition is called orthostatic hypotension or postural hypotension. It can be caused by a variety of factors, including:

    Duration Of The Response

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    The onset of hypotension following exercise has been found to occur within the initial minutes after exercise,, or at some time point between 30min and 1h following exercise.,,,,,, Most studies have measured blood pressure for only 12h following exercise,,,,,,,,,,,,,, and the majority of these have found a nadir in blood pressure during that time with a return or trend towards baseline pressure at the cessation of measurement.

    We have recently completed a study in a controlled setting using continuous, indwelling blood pressure monitoring and tracked the blood pressure changes during a standardised protocol of mild exercise and activities of daily living following both rest and a bout of cycle ergometry. We showed a significant decrease in SBP, DBP, and mean arterial pressure to the end of the 70-min monitoring period, with no trend towards returning to baseline values when preceded by prior exercise. In our study, the decrement in SBP averaged 16 mmHg, and was as much as 23 mmHg below control levels when preceded by a bout of exercise. It may be that activities of daily living following exercise potentiate the reductions in blood pressure. Studies in our laboratory using a similar borderline hypertensive population have found blood pressure returning to normal within the first hour after exercise when subjects remained sedentary., A long duration, controlled study needs to be completed to truly assess the time course of PEH.

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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 that are primarily made by the kidneys

    • Certain drugs

    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.


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