Postprandial Hypotension And Blood Pressure
Some people are genetically predisposed to postprandial hypotension. In others, it comes on after a stroke, accident, or other trauma damages key nerves or blood pressure sensors. In most people, though, postprandial hypotension stems from aging-related changes that interfere with the body’s ability to respond quickly to sudden changes in blood pressure.
A major culprit is high blood pressure, which stiffens arteries, making it harder for them to narrow and relax as needed. Failure of blood pressure sensors in the arteries or stretch receptors in the stomach can lead to postprandial hypotension, as can diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, and other nerve-damaging conditions.
What Are The Symptoms Of Low Blood Pressure
Low blood pressure often has no symptoms, but can sometimes mean that not enough blood is flowing to your brain or organs. This can cause symptoms such as:
- feeling dizzy, faint or light-headed
- feeling unsteady
- suddenly noticing your heartbeat
If you have these symptoms, stop what youre doing and sit down or lie down in case you fall, and drink some water.
Speak to your doctor or nurse if you experience these symptoms. As well as being unpleasant, they could mean youre at risk of having a fall. They could also be a sign of another health problem.
What To Do If You Experience A Sudden Drop In Blood Pressure
A single low blood pressure reading is no cause to be concerned unless you experience other symptoms.
A sudden drop in blood pressure as little as a drop from 120 to 100 in your systolic number can be dangerous if it triggers dizziness and fainting. Such symptoms can be a sign of an underlying problem that may need medical attention.
You should keep a record of your activities and when symptoms happen to discuss them with your doctor. If you experience any low blood pressure symptoms related to shock, you should seek immediate medical attention.
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What Causes A Sudden Drop In Blood Pressure
Postural or orthostatic hypotension is triggered when you suddenly stand up from a sitting position or from lying down. It can make you feel lighthearted, faint or dizzy. It happens for a number of reasons including hunger, fatigue or dehydration. It can also occur as a result of your genetics, medication, age, diet and psychological factors. In some cases it is caused by allergy and infection.
The majority of people who suffer from postural hypotension are those taking medications for high blood pressure. This sudden drop in blood pressure is also associated with emotional turmoil, pregnancy, diabetes and the hardening of arteries. Seniors are particularly prone to this condition, especially if they have a dysfunction of the autonomic nervous system or high blood pressure.
How to deal with it: This type of hypotension is usually mild and only lasts a few minutes at most. If it lasts longer than that, then it could be a pointer to an underlying problem. You might need to talk to your doctor about it if you often feel lightheaded when standing up. If at any time you lose consciousness due to orthostatic hypotension, see your doctor urgently. Mild cases of orthostatic hypotension do not need any medical attention and shouldnt be a cause for concern.
Other Possible Causes
How Does Blood Pressure Work
During relaxation of the heart , the left ventricle of the heart fills with blood returning from the lungs. The left ventricle then contracts and pumps blood into the arteries . The blood pressure in the arteries during contraction of the ventricle is higher because blood is being actively ejected into the arteries. It is lower during relaxation of the ventricle when no blood is being ejected into the arteries. The pulse we feel when we place our fingers over an artery is caused by the contraction of the left ventricle and the ejection of blood.
Blood pressure is determined by two factors:
Generally, blood pressure tends to be higher if more blood is pumped into the arteries or if the arterioles are narrow and/or stiff. Narrow and/or stiff arterioles, by resisting the flow of blood, increase blood pressure. Arterioles may become narrower when the muscles surrounding them contract. Arterioles may become stiff and narrow when older patients develop atherosclerosis.
Blood pressure tends to be lower if less blood is being pumped into the arteries or if the arterioles are larger and more flexible and, therefore, have less resistance to the flow of blood.
The heart rate increases and the forcefulness of the heart’s contractions increase, pumping more blood through the heart.
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Why You Should Pay Attention To Your Blood Pressure
Hypertension can wreak havoc on the body before alarming symptoms appear. Thats why regular checkups are a must.
Sometimes, Dr. Lioudis asks patients to check their blood pressure at different times of the day. Its the only way to spot masked hypertension. People with this condition have normal blood pressure in the doctors office, but high blood pressure at home.
We cant do anything for hypertension unless we know it exists, he says. Thats why we advise everyone to have their pressures checked at least yearly. They should also talk with their family doctor about stress, heart or kidney disease, family history of high blood pressure and any other potential contributing factor. By working together, you can bring your blood pressure under control.
This article originally appeared in Cleveland Clinic Heart Advisor.
Solutions For Preventing Syncope Or A Faint Feeling
Rise slowly from your chair or bed.
Rise slowly from your squat or kneel.
Clench your fists upon rising. Some yoga instructors advise their students to do this when rising off the floor to a standing position.
Dont obsess about the condition. This tends to bring it on more. Some people find that when their orthostatic hypotension is absent, its when their mind is distracted by busyness as they bolt up from a seated position.
If you forget to take the above measures and feel the room turning black, of course you already know that sitting back down again corrects the problem or at least leaning into something stable and bending forward.
Wed really be in big trouble if sitting caused a sudden drop in blood pressure, what with all the sitting that modern peoples do every day.
Dr. Manger, who began practicing medicine in 1949, has conducted research on the mechanism of salt-induced hypertension, and has published research in peer-reviewed journals.
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. Shes also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.
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What Causes High Blood Pressure
According to Dr. Singh, hypertension is broken down into two types: primary and secondary. Primary hypertension, also called essential hypertension, has no identifiable cause and is the most common form of high blood pressure. Disposition towards primary hypertension is mostly attributed to:
- General aging
- Poor diet
Genetic factors, as well as lifestyle choices to diet and exercise, may contribute to the development of primary hypertension, Dr. Singh says.
Secondary hypertension, on the other hand, occurs when the elevation in pressure has a readily identifiable underlying condition,” explains Dr. Singh. Those causes can include:
- Poor diet
- An underlying condition such as:
- Kidney disease
Elevated Risk To Heart And Head
The study, published in the May 7, 2018 Journal of the American Heart Association, tracked more than 9,100 middle-aged adults for more than two decades. Researchers found that people with OH had a higher risk of future heart attack, heart failure, and stroke than those without the condition. They were also more likely to have early signs of heart disease, such as plaque buildup in the carotid arteries and elevated levels of blood proteins indicating heart damage.
Orthostatic hypotension could be a red flag for latent cardiovascular disease. It’s important to be aware of this possible link because some of the treatments for OH could make heart disease worse.
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What Causes Orthostatic Hypotension
When youre seated or lying down, blood from veins in your legs flows easily to the heart. When you stand up, blood in your lower extremities has a harder time reaching your heart. Theres less blood available for your heart to send to organs and muscles. As a result, blood pressure temporarily drops.
How Is Low Blood Pressure Diagnosed
Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and take your blood pressure by placing a blood pressure cuff around your upper arm. The cuff will tighten on your arm, and the monitor will measure your systolic and diastolic pressure. A blood pressure reading of 90/60 mm Hg is considered low blood pressure.
Low blood pressure may be a sign of an underlying condition, so your doctor will try to determine what caused your blood pressure to drop. Depending on your medical history and symptoms, your doctor may also check your heart using an echocardiogram, electrocardiogram, or stress test. Your doctor may also perform blood tests to check for:
- Hormonal imbalances.
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How High Is Too High For Blood Pressure
Although the term labile hypertension means blood pressure that fluctuates more than usual, the term actually has no official definition. Theres no line that must be crossed no minimum blood pressure reading or number of spikes necessary to make the diagnosis.
The term simply indicates a situation where blood pressure is rising beyond whats considered normal and acceptable for an individual.
Most times, these people have reasonable blood pressure control, says Dr. Lioudis. Yet they have periods when they may experience facial flushing, tension headaches, sweating or feelings of unease. When they check their blood pressure, its high.
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.
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.
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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When Should I Talk To My Doctor
Feeling dizzy when you stand every once in a while is probably no cause for concern. But if you have the symptoms of orthostatic hypotension often, you should bring it up with your doctor so they can figure out whatâs causing it. Before your appointment, keep a record of your symptoms, when they happen, and how long they last. If you fall during one of your dizzy spells, or have any of the following symptoms of heart failure, you should get medical help ASAP:
Medications That Can Cause Low Blood Pressure
Medications might also cause your blood pressure to become too low.
If a medication youre taking causes your blood pressure to become too low, your doctor may adjust the dosage or change the medication. This usually improves the hypotension.
Hypotension doesnt always cause symptoms. But sometimes low blood pressure means your vital organs arent receiving as much blood flow as they need. If this happens, you might feel tired or unwell. Symptoms of hypotension may include:
- fatigue, an all-around sense of tiredness or lacking energy
- lightheadedness, or feeling like you might faint
- dizziness, feeling off-balance when you get up from a reclined or seated position, or while youre standing
- nausea, a sense of discomfort in your stomach and feeling like you want to vomit
- clammy skin, when you feel damp or sweaty to the touch
- depression, persistent feelings such as sadness or low mood that interfere with your daily activities
Your treatment plan will depend on whats causing your hypotension. Your doctor will consider factors including:
- the type of hypotension youre experiencing
- the situations that may be causing hypotension for you
For some people, low blood pressure may not cause any symptoms. In cases where treatment is needed, your doctor may recommend lifestyle changes, medical treatment, or a combination of both.
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Journal Of The American College Of Nutrition
United States Department of Agriculture scientists discovered eating wild blueberries can help prevent oxidative stress. Remember, oxidative stress can trigger many serious health problems including hardening of the arteries and heart failure! Wild blueberries contain powerful antioxidants that combat free radical damage that cause oxidative stress!
Blueberries also contain polyphenols to fight inflammation that can weaken and even seriously damage your blood vesselsand lead to a serious heart or brain problem!
But James Joseph, Ph.D., from the USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging reported in the journal Nutritional Neuroscience that polyphenols found in blueberries can improve brain function, enhance memory recall and douse the flames of inflammation!
What Is Low Blood Pressure
Hypotension is the medical term for low blood pressure .
A blood pressure reading appears as two numbers. The first and higher of the two is a measure of systolic pressure, or the pressure in the arteries when the heart beats and fills them with blood. The second number measures diastolic pressure, or the pressure in the arteries when the heart rests between beats.
Optimal blood pressure is less than 120/80 . In healthy people, low blood pressure without any symptoms is not usually a concern and does not need to be treated. But low blood pressure can be a sign of an underlying problem — especially in the elderly — where it may cause inadequate blood flow to the heart, brain, and other vital organs.
Chronic low blood pressure with no symptoms is almost never serious. But health problems can occur when blood pressure drops suddenly and the brain is deprived of an adequate blood supply. This can lead to dizziness or lightheadedness. Sudden drops in blood pressure most commonly occur in someone who’s rising from a lying down or sitting position to standing. This kind of low blood pressure is known as postural hypotension or orthostatic hypotension. Another type of low blood pressure can occur when someone stands for a long period of time. This is called neurally mediated hypotension.
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How Do I Lower My Blood Pressure
Once youve been diagnosed with high blood pressure, the first thing your healthcare team will do is test you for different conditions that cause secondary hypertension. If they identify a problem, they will work with you to treat the underlying condition, he says.
In all instances of hypertension, however, there are some basic measures that can be taken that can help lower your blood pressure as well as promote overall heart health, Dr. Singh says. These include:
- Reducing salt, red meat, saturated fat, and alcohol intake
- Getting regular cardiovascular exercise, such as brisk walking or running 30 minutes per day
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Taking time to minimize stress daily
- Avoiding all tobacco products like cigarettes and vapes
If your blood pressure remains high despite making lifestyle modifications, there are several different medications available that can work on their own or in combination with others to treat hypertension, Dr. Singh says. Your healthcare team will work with you to determine which medication regimen is best for your personal situation.
The bottom line: Since high blood pressure is asymptomatic, make sure youre going to your regular doctors visits. The sooner you get a diagnosis, the sooner you can make healthy changes.
A Reaction To Medication
An adverse reaction to prescribed or over-the-counter medicine can drop blood pressure unexpectedly. Diuretics and other drugs designed to treat hypertension, some anti-depressants, and medication to help with erectile dysfunction can lower blood pressure to unsafe levels. You can also experience a drop in blood pressure if you combine high blood pressure medications with others.
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