Learn more about the causes, symptoms and treatment of low blood pressure, a condition in which your blood pressure reading is lower than. The goal in testing for low blood pressure is to find the underlying It can also tell if you're having a heart attack or have had one in the past. Learn more about the types and causes of low blood pressure, or hypotension, from the experts at WebMD.
Blood Pressure Low 1.
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. A blood pressure reading is taken using two measurements. The first measurement is known as systolic, which is the pressure in your arteries when your heart contracts and pushes the blood around your body. The second measurement is known as diastolic, which is the pressure in your arteries when your heart refills with blood in between heartbeats.
Both systolic and diastolic blood pressures are measured in millimetres of mercury mmHg. Your GP, or practice nurse, will use a device known as a sphygmomanometer to measure your blood pressure.
This device has an inflatable cuff and a scale of mercury, like a thermometer, as a pressure gauge. The cuff is placed around your upper arm and inflated to restrict the flow of blood in your arm.
The air is then slowly released from the cuff. Your GP or practice nurse will watch the mercury pressure gauge and listen to your blood flow in the main artery of your arm using a stethoscope. Upon hearing your heart beat, the systolic pressure will be recorded. When the sound disappears, the diastolic pressure will be recorded. Alternatively, a digital sphygmomanometer may be used. This measures your pulse using electrical sensors and takes blood pressure readings automatically.
Blood pressure testing kits are also commercially available. After you have had your blood pressure taken, your GP or nurse will give you your systolic reading first, followed by your diastolic reading. However, it is not necessary for both your systolic and diastolic readings to be in this range for it to be considered low blood pressure. If you have low blood pressure according to this guide, you do not need to worry.
Having low blood pressure is considered healthy as it protects you from the risks and diseases of high blood pressure. You will only need to have treatment if you are experiencing symptoms as a result of your low blood pressure. If your symptoms of low blood pressure mostly occur when you change position postural or orthostatic hypotension , then your blood pressure may be measured before and after you move.
For example, your blood pressure may be measured while you are sitting down and again while you are standing up. Depending on what your seated blood pressure was, if your systolic reading drops by between mmHg when you stand up, you may have orthostatic hypotension.
Your GP or practice nurse will usually be able to diagnose low blood pressure very easily. However, determining the reason for low blood pressure can be more difficult. If you have an underlying condition that is causing low blood pressure, it is likely that you will have other symptoms as well.
You should discuss these with your GP who may recommend that you have further tests. If you have low blood pressure hypotension , but you do not have any symptoms, you do not require treatment.
If you are experiencing symptoms, your GP will try to establish the underlying cause of your hypotension in order to determine what treatment is necessary. If you are taking medication, and your GP suspects that it may be causing low blood pressure, they will probably recommend a change of medication or alter your dose. Your blood pressure will be monitored while you are taking medication and any changes will be noted by your GP or practice nurse.
If you are experiencing side effects from taking medication, you should discuss this with your GP. If your GP suspects that a disorder - such as a heart condition, adrenal gland failure or a nerve condition - is causing your low blood pressure, you may be referred to hospital for further tests and treatment.
If adrenal gland failure is found to be causing your low blood pressure, your GP may prescribe fludrocortisone to replace the missing hormone, aldosterone. This will usually be in tablet form and will need to be taken for life. If a nerve condition is causing your low blood pressure, it can be more difficult to treat. You may be prescribed medication in order to help stimulate your nervous system. Increasing your fluid and salt intake can easily treat this. Ensuring that you drink enough fluid - at least eight glasses a day - will help with hypotension.
This is because more fluids will increase the volume of your blood, and having more blood in your arteries will increase your blood pressure. While people who have high blood pressure are usually advised to restrict their salt intake, if you have low blood pressure, you may be advised to include more salt in your diet. Your GP will be able to advise you about how much additional salt you need, and whether you can add salt to your usual food, or if you need to take salt tablets. The following general advice will help to limit your symptoms of your hypotension, particularly postural or orthostatic hypotension.
Very few people are prescribed medication for hypotension. The symptoms of hypotension can be usually be treated by making these small changes to your lifestyle and, in particular, by increasing your fluid and salt intake. If medication is necessary, it will usually be medicines to expand the volume of your blood, or to constrict narrow your arteries. By increasing your blood, or decreasing your arteries, your blood pressure will increase, as there will be more blood flowing through a smaller space.
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The heart The heart is a muscle that is designed to pump a constant supply of blood around the body. Some patients may also exhibit confusion, and this can make them seem like they are suffering from intoxication or some other neurological problem.
Blurred vision is usually reported with extreme cases of low blood pressure. There are many other symptoms of low blood pressure to look out for. Orthostasis literally means standing upright. Orthostatic hypotension , or postural hypotension , is defined as a decrease in systolic blood pressure of at least 20 mm Hg or at least 10mm Hg within 3 minutes of the patient standing. If orthostatic hypotension is present, the client may be at risk of falls and should be closely supervised with ambulation or advised to call for assistance with activity.
To test for orthostatic hypotension, take the blood pressure whilst the patient is supine and at rest. Then stand the patient — they must be able to stand for 3 minutes before taking the blood pressure again. If the measurements meet the criteria stated previously, then orthostatic hypotension is evident. If the result is equivocol, record it and request a formal assessment.
Note, the accuracy of orthostatic hypotension has been questioned in recent years. Resting your feet never hurts. This will encourage blood flow to the brain and aid perfusion. Blood work should also be conducted to find out if there is an electrolyte imbalance that is leading to the loss of water.
If the patient is on a cocktail of blood pressure-lowering medications , these will need to be adjusted to prevent the low event from happening again. However, if symptoms continue to occur, the underlying cause should be investigated by a doctor.
Orthostatic hypotension, also called postural hypotension , is an inability to regulate blood pressure quickly. People with this type of low blood pressure have a sudden fall in blood pressure upon changing positions — usually standing up — which causes fainting or feeling faint, or light-headed or dizzy.
There are many causes of orthostatic hypotension, including dehydration, pregnancy and certain medicines. One type of orthostatic hypotension is low blood pressure that happens after eating — this is called postprandial hypotension and usually affects older people. Neurally mediated hypotension is low blood pressure that is often brought on by stress, pain or prolonged standing especially in a hot environment. In this type of low blood pressure, there is a simultaneous drop in heart rate and dilatation widening of blood vessels that results in fainting or feeling faint.
Shock is a condition where there is a severe drop in blood pressure related to a serious problem, such as massive blood loss, sepsis an overwhelming bacterial infection or anaphylaxis a severe allergic reaction.
This is an emergency and needs immediate treatment. Low blood pressure that does not result in symptoms in otherwise healthy, active people often runs in families. Low blood pressure that causes symptoms may result from a number of different causes, including the following. Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and perform a physical examination, including a blood pressure check. They may ask to take your blood pressure while you are sitting and again while you are standing.
Also, tell them about any medical conditions you may have and any prescription or non-prescription medicines you may be taking including herbs, supplements and eye drops , so that an accurate diagnosis can be made. Depending on your symptoms and physical examination, initial tests your doctor may recommend include:.
Healthy people with low blood pressure that is not causing any symptoms generally do not need any treatment. If low blood pressure is causing symptoms, the aim of treatment is to bring the blood pressure back to normal to relieve the symptoms, as well as treat the cause. If the underlying cause is a particular type of medicine, your doctor may advise you to stop taking it or reduce the dose. Orthostatic hypotension may occasionally require treatment with medicines.
However, the following self-care measures can often help relieve symptoms. In addition, there are steps you can take to prevent symptoms occurring, for example, tilting the bed head upwards, taking salt supplements and wearing supportive compression stockings.
Serious conditions that cause a sudden drop in blood pressure need urgent medical treatment in hospital. Treatment will depend on the cause, but will often include measures to raise blood pressure. Depending on the cause and severity of the condition, these may include:. If you have had episodes where you feel faint or have fainted, see your doctor. In many cases, an episode of low blood pressure is nothing to worry about, but some people may have an underlying problem that needs treatment.
Treating low blood pressure will help reduce symptoms and lower the chances of you fainting or falling and injuring yourself. Dizziness can be used to describe a wide variety of sensations. Find out the difference between vert. See our diagram showing how your heart pumps blood to the organs and tissues of your body. Why is blood pressure important?
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Low blood pressure
Low blood pressure, or hypotension, may be caused by a medical condition that can be treated with medication or, for many people, lifestyle. Find out the symptoms of low blood pressure and the causes of low blood pressure. Even mild dehydration (a loss of as little as 1 percent to 2 percent of body. One type of orthostatic hypotension is low blood pressure that happens after eating – this is called postprandial hypotension and usually affects older people.