Primary Care Doctor, Cardiology, General Medicine, Clinical Pharmacology, General Practice

Low blood pressure

Introduction to Low blood pressure

Low blood pressure, or hypotension (as opposed to hypertension, or increased blood pressure) is when the fluid pressure of blood pumping through your body is too low to adequately reach and oxygenate all tissues. This leads to your brain or other organs suffering from a decreased oxygen supply which itself can lead to further complications. Many people who have sit or lie down for an extended period of time and suddenly stand up may experience a brief dizziness and faintness known as postural hypotension.

Written by Doctify Team 27/04/2020

What is Low blood pressure?

Low blood pressure, or hypotension (as opposed to hypertension, or increased blood pressure) is when the fluid pressure of blood pumping through your body is too low to adequately reach and oxygenate all tissues. This leads to your brain or other organs suffering from a decreased oxygen supply which itself can lead to further complications. Many people who have sit or lie down for an extended period of time and suddenly stand up may experience a brief dizziness and faintness known as postural hypotension.

Lower than normal blood pressure isn’t necessarily a medical condition. In fact it is sometimes suggested that as long as your lower blood pressure doesn’t cause problems such as dizziness, faintness or a decreased oxygen supply in any tissues it could be beneficial, reducing the likelihood of a range of serious conditions contributed to by high blood pressure. It is when hypotension impairs your quality of life that the condition becomes pathological and requires medical attention.

What causes Low blood pressure?

There is a range of potential causes and it is often impossible to determine the causative factor of your hypotension. Potential causes may include genetic inheritance, your diet, work, temperature, and the frequency and type of exercise you do. Most people experience progressively increasing blood pressure but sudden, massive lifestyle changes such as retirement may cause a large decrease from what your body has acclimatised to. There are also multiple medications that could contribute such as beta-blockers, ACE inhibitors, angiotensin receptor blockers, diuretics and calcium channel blockers. Many of these are used to treat hypertension.

Hypotension can be a symptom of a variety of medical conditions such as neurological or hormonal disorders and septic, cardiogenic or anaphylactic shock. Massive hypotension is a serious issue in many types of shock and in such situations the patient is under close supervision.

What are the symptoms of Low blood pressure?

Symptoms normally include dizziness, faintness, and confusion though more serious cases have also shown blurred vision, palpitations as your heart attempts to compensate for the lower blood pressure and nausea. The best thing to do if you experience these symptoms is to sit or lie down and consume some fluids. If these symptoms persist or occur frequently then you should seek medical attention.

How is Low blood pressure treated?

The main treatments for hypotension involve educating the patient about their condition and making lifestyle changes that may include avoiding alcohol and any other causes of dehydration, changing regular medications that may play a role, wearing compression socks and avoiding long periods without any movement while awake. If there is an underlying condition that causes your hypotension, such as in the obvious case of anaphylactic shock, then that primary condition will be treated.

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