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
Should I Be Treated For Low Diastolic Blood Pressure
Most people with low diastolic blood pressure do not display any signs and symptoms and, hence, do not require any treatments. However, for symptomatic people
- Careful examination that includes anemia screening and cardiovascular assessment is required. If they have low blood pressure due to certain medications, a change in the type of medication or dosage is necessary. They need to control alcohol and other addictions.
- Regular exercise is compulsory.
- Some leg exercises are necessary if they get up from prolonged rest.
- The intake of salt and water should be increased but not above 1,500 mg salt a day.
- If the problem still persists, a detailed cardiovascular check with neuroendocrine assessment is required.
- There are certain medications such as fludrocortisone that may be prescribed in certain cases.
Baroreceptor Signals Sent To The Kidneys
Kidneys participate in blood pressure control by regulating urine production. When kidneys pull more water out of the blood, blood pressure decreases. When the kidneys decrease urine output, water remains in the blood and blood pressure increases. The action of the kidneys on blood pressure is slow — acting over hours to days — compared to baroreceptor control and other systems that influence blood pressure very quickly.
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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.
When To Contact A Doctor
Anyone who experiences worrying symptoms of shock should seek emergency medical attention.
People who experience mild but uncomfortable symptoms of low blood pressure may also want to talk with their doctor to discuss treatment options.
Anyone uncertain or uncomfortable about symptoms such as low blood pressure and high heart rate should see a doctor as well. A full diagnosis can help bring peace of mind and identify any underlying issues.
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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.
Whats The Relationship Between High Blood Pressure And Low Pulse
To consider how your pulse and blood pressure can affect each other, think of your pulse as an electrical system and your blood pressure as plumbing.
Your pulse is mostly controlled by electrical impulses. These impulses travel through your heart, telling the chambers to beat in even time. Exercise, stress, fear, and other factors can speed up your pulse. Being sedentary can slow it down.
This electrical system stimulates the pumping motion that propels your hearts plumbing system. When the pipes, or blood vessels, arent blocked, blood easily flows through them.
If your blood vessels are narrow or have some kind of obstruction, your heart has to either squeeze harder or beat faster to pump blood. This results in high blood pressure.
When your blood pressure and pulse are out of balance, it strains your heart. You might also experience a range of symptoms, including:
Several things can cause a combination of high blood pressure and low pulse.
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Why Readings Usually Differ
Our blood pressure is highly dependent on the activities we are performing. That means if you are doing tasks that require heavy lifting or running or any other work that may result in greater heart rate, your heart rate is likely to increase. Similarly, if the day-to-day task results in less heartbeat rate, it will have a lower blood pressure reading.
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 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.
Common Causes Of Low Blood Pressure
Fertig says low blood pressure may be caused by:
Hypothyroidism or adrenal insufficiency, because both thyroid hormone and cortisol promote adrenaline, which constricts blood vessels
Pituitary tumors, which damage the function of regulatory hormones that stimulate the release of thyroid and adrenal hormones
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Who Is Affected By Low Blood Pressure
Low blood pressure can affect people of all ages, although it is more common in older people who are frail or bedridden. Pregnant women and older adults are more likely to have orthostatic hypotension. Children and young adults are most likely to experience neurally mediated hypotension, but they often outgrow it.
Hypotension commonly affects people who:
- Are taking certain medications that cause low blood pressure.
- Have hormonal imbalances or vitamin deficiencies.
- Also have heart problems or liver disease.
What Are The Possible Signs And Symptoms Of Low Diastolic Blood Pressure
A diastolic blood pressure of somewhere between 60 and 90 mm Hg is good in older people. Once your blood pressure reading plummets to below 60 mm Hg, you may faint.
Many older people with low DBP get tired or dizzy and have frequent falls. Obviously, none of that is good news for people who are older and who may have brittle bones and poor healing. Common signs and symptoms of low DBP may include
- Feeling giddy
Studies have reported that very low DBP is associated with an increased risk of heart disease. Importantly, a study found that low DBP was associated with an increased likelihood of coronary heart disease events and mortality. Studies have explained that if individuals have DBP that is too low, there might not be enough blood flow to the heart muscle itself. This could lead to heart attacks or weakening of the heart muscle.
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.
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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How Can You Prevent Low Blood Pressure Symptoms
If you have orthostatic hypotension, your doctor may suggest that you try some simple ways to prevent symptoms like dizziness. For example, you can:
- Stand up slowly.
- Drink little or no alcohol.
- Limit or avoid caffeine.
- Wear compression stockings.
If you feel dizzy or light-headed, sit down or lie down for a few minutes. Or you can sit down and put your head between your knees. This will help your blood pressure go back to normal and help your symptoms go away.
Symptoms And Causes Of Low Blood Pressure
Many different conditions and situations can cause low blood pressure, from standing up too fast to being pregnant. Sometimes, low blood pressure is linked to an underlying problem. Thats why its important to see your doctor right away if you experience the signs of low blood pressure.
Symptoms of low blood pressure can include:
Low blood pressure can be a sign of serious heart, endocrine or neurological conditions. If left untreated, the brain and other vital organs do not get the oxygen and nutrients they need. In extreme cases, this can cause shock, a life-threatening condition.
If you show signs of low blood pressure, your doctor will conduct an exam and may perform tests to determine whats causing the condition. Low blood pressure can occur with many other conditions.
Some causes of low blood pressure are:
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Diagnosis Of Low Blood Pressure And High Pulse Rate
A condition involving low blood pressure and high pulse rate is often transient in nature and not likely to be diagnosed during a routine doctors visit. However, if it is due to an underlying condition, it may be reproducible through testing or have certain markers that can be identified. The following are various testing modalities that help doctors reach a diagnosis.
- Blood testing: Can provide information about blood constituents, disease markers, and other abnormalities that can affect overall health.
- Electrocardiogram : Measures the electrical activity of the heart and can identify arrhythmia such as atrial fibrillation.Echocardiogram: An imaging test that allows doctors to view the size, shape, and relative function of the heart.
- Cardiac stress test: With the use of a treadmill and ECG, the heart can be stressed to varying degrees, looking for changes in heart rate and blood pressure.
- Tilt table test: Allows for careful measurement of the heart rate and blood pressure in response to varying degrees of tilt while laying down on a table. It is often used to investigate the causes of repeated and unexplained fainting.
Low Diastolic Pressure: No Symptoms
“When your systolic blood pressure gets too low, it can manifest as lightheadedness, fainting, and weakness. But low diastolic pressure by itself doesn’t have any symptoms,” says Dr. Paul Conlin, professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and chief of medicine at the VA Boston Healthcare System.
One of the new studies, which analyzed the medical records of more than 11,000 adults over a period of three decades, 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 to a higher risk of heart disease and death from any cause. The findings appeared in the Aug. 30, 2016, Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
Another study, published in The Lancet, involved more than 22,000 people with heart disease, whom researchers grouped according to their blood pressure readings. People with well-controlled blood pressure values were considered the reference group.
Not surprisingly, people with high systolic blood pressure were more likely to experience heart attacks or strokes, be hospitalized with heart failure, or to die compared with people in the reference group. But the same was true for heart attacks, heart failure, and death in people with 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 .
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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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.
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