A person’s blood pressure is measured using two numbers that are combined in the form of a ratio. The systolic blood pressure is the top number in the ration. This number is higher than the other one and indicates the pressure found in the arteries during the beating of the heart, specifically when the muscle contracts. The bottom number is called the diastolic blood pressure. This number indicated the pressure found in the arteries between a person’s heartbeats, meaning when the muscle rests and refills with blood. Low blood pressure is known as hypotension and while it can be good in some cases, if it drops too low, it can become life-threatening.
When Is Blood Pressure Too Low?
Hypotension or low blood pressure seems as if it should be good but many people who experience low blood pressure levels will suffer from various symptoms including fainting and dizziness. In some severe cases, hypotension can even be life-threatening.
It is important to remember that everyone has a slightly different blood pressure level. However, there are some general guidelines to follow. If a person’s systolic blood pressure is 90 mm Hg (millimeters of mercury) or less, this is considered low. The same is true if their diastolic blood pressure reading is 60 millimeters of mercury or less.
Low blood pressure can have many different causes including serious surgical or medical disorders and dehydration. Although hypotension can be treated, this involves finding the cause of the problem.
What Are Symptoms of Low Blood Pressure?
When some people have low blood pressure, this can be a signal of an underlying problem. This is especially true when the drop occurs suddenly or if it includes other symptoms. Some of the most common symptoms that indicate an underlying problem causing low blood pressure include:
- Shallow, rapid breathing
- Clammy, cold and pale skin
- Blurred vision
- Lack of concentration
- Lightheadedness or dizziness
When Can Low Blood Pressure Strike
It is possible for someone to experience low blood pressure normally and not show any symptoms of it. An issue frequently occurs when someone normally has high blood pressure and then it drops for some reason. If this is the case, the symptoms mentioned above may happen and this drastic drop in blood pressure may cause a problem. Certain things increase the chances of low blood pressure occurring and these include:
- If a person spends a lot of time on bed rest and then sits or stands, resuming an upright posture.
- If a woman is still in the first twenty four weeks of her pregnancy.
- If someone has lost a great deal of blood.
- Certain medications can also cause hypotension. Sometimes a medication designed to lower blood pressure levels will do so too much, changing a person’s problem from high blood pressure to low blood pressure. Other medications that can have similar effects include ones that treat erectile dysfunction, tricyclic antidepressants, certain medications that are used to treat Parkinson’s disease and certain medications that are used to treat heart conditions.
- If someone has a heart problem. Specific problems that could lead to low blood pressure include heart failure or a heart attack or less dangerous situations such as heart valve problems or a heartbeat that is very slow.
- If someone has an endocrine problem. Specific issues that could cause hypotension include diabetes, low blood sugar levels, Addison’s disease, parathyroid disease and hypothyroidism.
- If someone has a severe infection and it enters their blood stream.
- If someone suffers from nutrient deficiency such as folic acid and Vitamin B deficiency.
- If someone experiences anaphylaxis
When Do You Need Profession Help
Some people are unsure whether or not they need to seek the help of a medical professional for their low blood pressure. In general, if you and your primary health care professional are both aware that your blood pressure tends to be low, you will not need to get help unless you are experiencing any symptoms that cause concern. You should of course still follow the advice your doctor has given you in the past. Another time that it is probably not necessary to seek medical attention is if you use an at-home blood pressure kit and get one abnormally low reading that is not accompanied by any symptoms. It is important to remember that everyone’s blood pressure will vary over time, rising and falling. In almost all cases, your body will naturally make the necessary changes to return the blood pressure to normal.
While it is not essential to visit the doctor if you don’t experience any symptoms, you should contact them immediately if you start noticing any of the signs or symptoms mentioned above. This is especially true if you have taken your blood pressure reading using an at-home kit and found that it is low. Your medical health professional will be able to take a look at your personal situation. They will try to get to the cause of the problem in order to treat it and this includes eliminating the possibility of any underlying conditions. Specific things they may check for include an allergic reaction, a serious infection and unrecognized internal bleeding.
Your doctor will then determine the best treatment option for you depending on the cause of your low blood pressure. Because of this, the various treatment options may vary and while they may suggest medications, it is also possible they will ask you to make some simple lifestyle changes. Some recommendations may include drinking more fluids, lying down with your feet higher than your heart and avoiding standing for too long.