Low Blood Pressure

low blood pressureAbnormally low blood pressure is medically known as hypotension.   Hypotension (unlike hypertension) is NOT a disease; it is just an abnormal physiologic state of the body.

In other words, blood pressure is the amount of force that is required to pump blood through the walls of the arteries. If blood pressure is below normal range, a patient is said to have low blood pressure.

If we want to classify hypotension according to medical definitions, it is the state when the systolic blood pressure is less than 90 over 60.

The scenario is different when clinical practice comes into consideration. This is because many of us, particularly women have an average blood pressure of 90/60, but do not exhibit symptoms of low blood pressure.   For these people, even a blood pressure of 90/60 appears to be perfectly normal.  As a result, you should focus more than on blood pressure readings alone, we also look at the symptoms the patient is having.

What are the key symptoms that might indicated that you have hypotension?

Dizziness! – the key symptom

Dizziness or in simple words, lightheadedness, is a common and unpleasant sensation when a person feels that he/she is about to faint. The person may feel that the room is spinning.

Remember that if you think that you are going through a “hypo-state”, you will be in a condition where the blood pressure will be too low for your organs like your heart, brain and kidneys and they will lack for blood.  As a result, patients experiencing hypotension can fell dizzy and fall down or black out.

The likelihood of having a hypotensive episode increases after eating food, in hot environments, after consuming alcohol, or some endocrine (hormonal) disorder in your body such as Addison’s Disease.

Dangers of Hypotension

Hypotension must be properly treated, otherwise it may prove hazardous to the organs (mentioned above) that are not receiving adequate oxygenation and nutrients.

Reduced blood volume (Hypovolemia) makes you develop hypotension. This can occur due to any type of hemorrhage, blood loss, insufficient fluid intake (as seen in starvation), or due to the fluid losses that occur in diarrhea and vomiting.  Often, drugs that you might be taking for your elevated blood pressure (if you are a hypertensive) may themselves prove to be the risk factor for bringing you into a hypo-tensive state.

Always remember, that there may be some root cause for your hypotension beyond just having “normally low blood pressure”.  Therefore, the treatment of hypotension depends upon identifying and treating the root cause of hypotension.

Also, many people, particularly women, may just have individual low readings, but their average blood pressure is more in the normal range.  Blood pressure changes throughout the day, and can even vary day to day.  This is why it’s important to focus on average blood pressure over time, not on individual readings.   If you think you might have low blood pressure (or even high blood pressure), you should purchase a blood pressure monitor and begin testing your blood 1-2 times a day, at different times,  and watch for trends.

Drinking water can raise low blood pressure

If you are facing hypotension on a regular basis, try this:

  • Add more electrolytes, like salt to your diet.
  • Drink large quantity of water in order to maintain your blood volume.
  • Consult your physician

You can find additional reading on low blood pressure in our information section, and also find tips and suggestions in our tips area.