If you have low blood pressure, which is also known as hypotension, then it means that the pressure of your blood circulating around in your body is lower than normal. You can have low blood pressure and still be relatively healthy. However, low blood pressure can be a problem if it has a negative impact on your body. There are many causes of low blood pressure. Treatment for low blood pressure depends on what causes it in the first place.
What is Low Blood Pressure?
While it is generally desired to have a relatively low blood pressure, you can have low blood pressure that is below normal levels, which is known as having hypotension. Blood pressure has two numbers, the systolic and diastolic number. The systolic number refers to the amount of pressure from your heart when it pumps blood all over your body. The diastolic number refers to the amount of pressure in your arteries. Normal blood pressure lies between 90/60 mmHg and 120/80 mmHg. On the other hand, low blood pressure or hypotension is when your blood pressure reading is less than 90 mmHg for the systolic or number on the top, and less than 60 mmHg for the diastolic or number on the bottom.
Having low blood pressure or hypotension can be fine, if you feel just fine. However, your doctor or healthcare provider may still want to monitor your blood pressure regularly. Blood pressure should be monitored regularly, in case it points to more serious health conditions.
Your blood pressure can change throughout the day. Blood pressure can depend on the medications you take, the way your body is positioned, your breathing rhythm, your physical condition, your stress level, your intake of food and drinks, and the time of the day your blood pressure was taken.
Here are some symptoms of low blood pressure you may experience:
- blurred vision
- difficulty concentrating
Having low blood pressure can be life threatening if it results to shock. If you think you have shock, then you must seek immediate medical attention.
Here are some symptoms of shock from low blood pressure:
- cold, clammy, or pale skin
- rapid or shallow breathing
- weak and rapid pulse
What are the Causes of Low Blood Pressure?
Low blood pressure can have many different causes. It is important to figure out what causes your low blood pressure, so that its root cause may be addressed and corrected.
Here are some causes of low blood pressure:
- anaphylaxis, or having a severe allergic reaction
- blood donation
- blood loss from internal bleeding
- blood loss from trauma or a major injury
- endocrine problems, such as Addison’s disease, diabetes, low blood sugar, or hypoglycemia, parathyroid
- feeling emotional stress, fear, insecurity, or pain
- having an allergic reaction to drugs or chemicals
- having a severe infection such as septicemia
- having low blood pressure from being exposed to heat
- heart conditions, such as bradycardia, heart attack, heart failure, and heart valve problems
- heart disease
- lacking certain nutrients in your diet which can lead to anemia which can cause you to have low blood pressure
- nervous system disorders, such as Parkinson’s disease
- taking medication for certain heart conditions
- taking medication for depression, such as tricyclic antidepressants
- taking medication for erectile dysfunction
- taking medication for high blood pressure
- taking medication for Parkinson’s disease
- taking medication such as alpha blockers, beta blockers, or diuretics
Anybody can get low blood pressure. However, certain risk factors may make you more prone to having low blood pressure than other people.
Here are the risk factors for having low blood pressure:
- Age – Certain types of low blood pressure problems are more likely to occur if you are a child, a young adult, or an adult older than 65 years old.
- Certain Diseases – Having certain health conditions may make you more prone to having low blood pressure. Having diabetes, certain heart conditions, and Parkinson’s disease may put you at higher risk of getting low blood pressure.
- Medication – Taking certain kinds of medication may make you more prone to having low blood pressure. These medications include alpha blockers.
Low Blood Pressure Treatment
Treatment depends on the particular cause of low blood pressure. For instance, if your low blood pressure is caused by taking a certain medication, then your doctor may adjust its dosage. There are different types of low blood pressure, which depend on whatever has caused it in the first place.
1. Multiple System Atrophy with Orthostatic Hypotension
Multiple system atrophy with orthostatic hypotension is a type of low blood pressure which occurs due to nervous system damage. It is a rare disorder associated with having high blood pressure while lying down. This disorder causes damage to your autonomic nervous system.
2. Neurally Mediated Hypotension
Neurally mediated hypotension occurs when the body’s blood pressure drops after standing for long periods of time. This type of hypotension happens as a result of faulty brain signals. Neurally mediated hypotension usually affects children and young adults.
3. Orthostatic Hypotension
Orthostatic hypotension is a type of low blood pressure which is caused by suddenly standing or sitting up. Because of gravity, blood pools in your legs when you stand up. Your body can increase its heart rate and constrict its blood vessels in order to make sure that blood can reach the brain. If you have orthostatic hypotension, the sudden change in blood pressure can lead to feeling dizzy and lightheaded. You might experience blurred vision while this happens, and in some cases you may even faint.
Orthostatic hypotension can have many causes, such as burns, dehydration, diabetes, excessive heat, heart problems, pregnancy, prolonged bed rest, varicose veins, and certain neurological disorders.
4. Postprandial Hypotension
Postprandial hypotension is a type of low blood pressure which can occur after eating. Postprandial hypotension usually affects older adults. It can also affect people with high blood pressure and Parkinson’s disease. After eating a meal, blood flows to the digestive tract. Your body can multitask and handle this most of the time. However, when this fails it may lead to feelings of dizziness, faintness, and falls.