Hypotension, also commonly known as low blood pressure is a condition in which blood pressure in the arteries gets abnormally low. In some cases, the blood pressure gets so low that it fails to reach all the body organs, resulting in lightheadedness, dizziness, and even fainting.
The ideal reading level for blood pressure is more than 120 over 80 but less than 140 over 90 (120/80-140/90). The higher of the two is the measure of systolic pressure, which means the pressure in the arteries when the heart beats and fills them with blood. The second number measures diastolic pressure, which means the pressure in the arteries when the heart rests between beats. If either number is below the ideal reading level, your pressure is lower than normal.
Usually, in healthy people, low blood pressure without any symptoms means negligible health concerns. But if it shows symptoms, it is an indication of inadequate blood flow to the heart, brain, and other vital organs, which needs to be treated as soon as possible.
Chronic low blood pressure which shows no symptoms is not considered as a serious health concern. But there are possibilities that sudden drop in blood pressure may develop several health issues. Mostly, sudden fall in blood pressure occurs while getting up from a lying position or suddenly standing from a sitting position. This kind of low blood pressure is also referred to as postural hypotension or orthostatic hypotension.
Postural hypotension happens when there is a failure of the cardiovascular system or nervous system to react appropriately to sudden changes. Our body normally compensates by sending messages to the heart to beat faster and to the blood vessels to constrict. But if this does not happen, or happens too slowly, it causes postural hypotension and can lead to fainting.
Low blood pressure may also occur when a person is standing for a longer duration. This type of low blood pressure is referred to as neurally mediated hypotension.
Cause & Symptoms
It should be noted that with age, the risk of both low and high blood pressure normally increases. This is due to the reason that blood flow to the heart muscle and the brain declines with age, often as a result of plaque build-up in blood vessels.
The signs and symptoms of low blood pressure are as follows:
Fainting in case of syncope
Lack of concentration
Dizziness or lightheadedness
However, extreme hypotension can result in a life-threatening situation. The signs and symptoms of this condition include:
Rapid pulse rate
Feeling of confusion, which mainly occurs in elderly people
Pale skin color
Rapid, shallow breathing
This condition requires immediate medical attention. In case you are suffering from consistent low blood pressure condition, you should definitely seek medical help. Also, you should keep a record of persistent signs and symptoms as this may help you in treatment.
Prevention & Myths
Chronic low blood pressure can be treated with lifestyle and dietary changes. You may make following changes:
Drink lots of fluids.
Avoid alcoholic beverages.
During hot weather and sickness, increase water intake.
Avoid over-the-counter medications until you consult an expert.
Exercise regularly to promote normal blood flow.
Be careful when you get up from your sleep. Also, if you have been experiencing low blood pressure, be careful while standing up.
Weightlifting management and feet or ankles pumping before stand up position.
Prefer a diet higher in salt.
Avoid prolonged exposure to hot water, such as hot showers and spas.
To avoid problems with low blood pressure and lessen episodes of dizziness after meals, try eating smaller, more frequent meals.
Cut back on carbohydrates.
Rest after eating.
Myth: Low Blood pressure always problematic.
Fact: It depends on the personality of person and health. It is effective for few person and problematic for another person. It’s all about how you feel. In healthy people, low blood pressure might not show any symptom and in unhealthy, low blood pressure might cause major health issues.
Myth: It doesn’t affect young people
Fact: Although with age, people get more prone to low blood pressure, but it can also impact the younger age groups. The factors such as stress level, lifestyle, physical condition, medications, eating and drinking habits, are greatly responsible for causing low blood pressure.
Myth: It’s hereditary so you cannot do anything to prevent it.
Fact: This is a misconception that prevails for high as well as low blood pressure. Even if it runs in your family, you can surely control it. Healthy lifestyle choices can surely help you in preventing low blood pressure levels.
Myth: Over-the-counter medicines are safe for people with low blood pressure.
Fact: You should always seek an expert’s advice before relying on over-the-counter medicines.
Myth: There is nothing to be worried about if you have low blood pressure.
Fact: If you develop symptoms such as dizziness, fainting or shock, then it’s a matter of concern. Shock, if not treated immediately, could lead to death. But this is true that low blood pressure is normal for some people. That is because it is not severe and remains close to the normal blood pressure limit.
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