Low Blood Pressure (Hypotension): Types, Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

Introduction to Low Blood Pressure

Low blood pressure is the condition in which the systolic pressure lies below 90 mmHg and diastolic pressure falls below 60 mmHg. Blood pressure is commonly measured in millimeters of mercury and pressure up to 120/80 is considered normal in the adult population.

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Photo by Marcelo Leal on Unsplash

Hypotension is common in the general population. Study shows that it is associated with certain body status such as thin body structure, with lower creatinine value. However, it is supposed to carry a generally not harmful or benign cardiovascular risk factor profile.

Although hypotension generally shows benign effects in human health, it sometimes is a symptom of a different health concern. Conditions such as plaque build-up, age-related medical conditions, heart disorders also show symptoms of hypotension. So, it is necessary to give attention to signs of hypotension in its early stages.

Types of hypotension

There are different classifications based on the situation when the pressure drops.

Orthostatic

If the pressure drops down when a person transitions from lying down or sitting position to standing, then it is called orthostatic hypotension. It is the common cause of hypotension in people of all ages and gender. It is accompanied by “seeing stars” when getting up.

Postprandial Hypotension

The pressure drops down right after having a meal and it is called postprandial hypotension. In addition, it is considered the type of orthostatic hypotension. This is likely to affect older adults, especially those who have Parkinson’s disease.

Naturally Mediated Hypotension

It happens after standing for a long time. And, this type of hypotension is more common in children than in adults. Emotional upsets trigger this type of hypotension.

Severe Hypotension

It is mostly related to shock. During shock, the body organs can’t get sufficient blood and oxygen to function properly. So severe hypotension is sometimes life-threatening if left untreated.

Blood Pressure Chart

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Source: Blood Pressure UK

What are the causes of low blood pressure?

Blood exerts pressure on the wall of arteries during expansion and contraction of the heart. So, it is a vital sign of the health status of the individual. So, pressure measurement is an important routine check-up in every medical test, along with body temperature measurement, pulse rate, and rate of respiration measurement.



Blood pressure of every human being drop-down sometimes and it often shows no noticeable symptoms. But there are some particular conditions which can cause prolonged low blood pressure and may become risky it left untreated. Some of the major conditions include:

  • Infections of blood and the bloodstream
  • A large quantity of blood loss from injured body parts
  • During pregnancy due to the high demand for blood for both mother and growing fetus
  • Certain heart disorders like heart attacks and faulty heart valves
  • Severe allergic reactions like anaphylactic shock
  • Weakness and shock associated with dehydration

What are the symptoms of Low Blood Pressure?

Symptoms are prominent when pressure plummeted below 90/60 mmHg. Most of the people with hypotension show the following symptoms.

  • Weakness
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Cold, clammy skin
  • Fainting or loss of consciousness
  • Pale skin
  • Dizziness
  • Lightheadedness
  • Unsteadiness
  • Dimming or blurring of vision
  • Depression
  • Chest pain
  • Increased thirst

Symptoms may vary from slight discomfort to quite ill based on severity.

Diagnosis of Hypotension

There is a standard device, sphygmomanometer, to measure pressure. A cuff is wrapped around the upper arm and the cuff is inflated. Here, the inflated cuff restricts the flow of blood and a manometer measures the pressure.

Another type of sphygmomanometer is a digital one. There are electrical sensors to measure the pressure.

Prevention Of Low Blood Pressure

Modification in lifestyle is required to prevent hypotension. Important preventive tips include:

  • Eating a small quantity of meals frequently
  • Drinking plenty of water daily
  • Avoiding sitting and standing still for a long period
  • Raise the head side of the bed by six inches with the help of bricks
  • Not changing position or posture suddenly
  • Avoiding drinking caffeinated drinks in the evening and not drinking excessive alcohol

Prompt treatment of low blood pressure

Hypotensive people with no signs and symptoms or very mild symptoms require no treatment. But if there are above-mentioned signs of underlying problems, the patient needs to be referred to a specialist.

If hypotension is due to medication, the dose should be altered. In addition, other medicines need to be prescribed if possible.

Fluid and salt intake should be increased. Salt intake, however, can be increased by adding more salt to a meal or by taking salt tablets.

To increase blood volume and thus reduce the risk of hypotension, fluid intake should be increased. It’s always better to consult medical specialists before making significant changes is a lifestyle.

HealthKura does not provide medical advice of any kind. If you have any questions related to this, you can contact the related health care practitioner for more information.

Sources


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