Do you have low blood pressure or hypotension?
In such a case, it can often cause dizziness and fainting, and in severe cases, can be life-threatening as well.
Your blood pushes against the arteries with each heartbeat.
This pushing of blood against the wall of arteries is Blood Pressure.
In most cases, having low blood pressure i.e. less than 120/80 is good.
However, it can sometimes be an indication of an underlying medical condition.
Blood pressure measures your heartbeats and the periods of rest between them.
The measurement of your blood pumping through the arteries when the ventricles of the heart squeeze are systolic pressure or systole.
On the other hand, the measurement for the periods of rest is diastolic pressure or diastole.
Systole supplies your body with blood, while diastole supplies your heart with blood by filling the coronary arteries.
Hypotension in adults is when the blood pressure is 90/60 or lower.
Let’s learn more about it in detail.
Types of Low Blood Pressure
Hypotension is divided into different classifications according to the blood pressure drops.
Let’s discuss them as follows:
Orthostatic hypotension is the drop in blood pressure that occurs when you change your position.
This transition from sitting or lying down to standing is common in people of all ages.
As your body adjusts to the position change, there may be a brief period of dizziness.
This is what some individuals may describe or refer to as ‘seeing stars’ when they get up.
Postprandial hypotension is a drop in your blood pressure that occurs right after eating.
It is a type of orthostatic hypotension.
Older adults with Parkinson’s disease are more likely to develop postprandial hypotension.
This type of hypotension happens after you stand for a long time.
Moreover, it is important to note that children experience this form more than adults.
An emotionally upsetting event can also cause this drop in blood pressure.
Severe hypotension is related to shock.
Shock often occurs when your organ does not get the blood and oxygen they need to function properly.
Severe hypotension can be life-threatening if you do not get immediate treatment.
Symptoms of Low Blood Pressure
With hypotension, you may experience symptoms when your blood pressure drops below 90/60.
Symptoms of hypotension are as follows:
Fatigue, lightheadedness, dizziness, nausea, clammy skin, depression, loss of consciousness, and blurry vision.
It is important to note that symptoms can range in severity.
Some individuals can be slightly uncomfortable, while others may feel quite ill.
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Causes of Low Blood Pressure
Blood pressure is the measurement of the pressure in your arteries during the active and resting phases of your heartbeat.
Blood pressure is measured in two forms:
Systolic Pressure: The top number in the blood pressure reading.
This is the amount of pressure your heart makes when pumping blood through your arteries to the rest of your body.
Diastolic Pressure: The lower or bottom number in a blood pressure reading.
It refers to the amount of pressure in your arteries when your heart is at rest between the beats.
Current guidelines help to identify normal blood pressure as lower than 120.90 mm/Hg.
It is important to note that blood pressure varies throughout the day, This depends on the following:
Body position, breathing rhythm, stress level. physical condition, medications, time of day, and your eating and drinking items.
However, your blood pressure is usually the lowest at night and rises when you wake up.
Conditions that Causes Hypotension
Certain medical conditions can also cause hypotension.
These are as follows:
Pregnancy: As the circulatory system expands rapidly during pregnancy, blood pressure can drop.
This is, however, normal, and is likely to return to pre-pregnancy level after giving birth.
Heart Problems: Some heart conditions like bradycardia, heart valve problems, heart attack, or heart failure can lead to hypotension.
Endocrine Problems: Parathyroid diseases, adrenal insufficiency or Addison’s disease, low blood usage or hypoglycemia, and in some cases diabetes can trigger hypotension.
Dehydration: When your body loses more water than it takes, it can lead to weakness, dizziness, and fatigue.
Moreover, fever, vomiting, severe diarrhea, overuse of diuretics, and strenuous exercises can lead to dehydration.
Blood Loss: Losing excessive blood like in a major injury or in case of internal bleeding results in a reduction of the amount of blood in your body.
Thus, it leads to a severe drop in blood pressure.
Severe Infection or Septicemia: When an infection enters your bloodstream it can lead to a life-threatening drop in blood pressure or septic shock,
Severe Allergic Reaction or Anaphylasxis: Common triggers can be severe and potentially life-threatening.
This includes foods, certain medications, insect venoms, and latex.
Moreover, it can cause breathing problems, hives, itching, a swollen throat, and a dangerous drop in it.
Lack of Nutrients: If your diet lacks vitamin B-12, folate, to iron it can prevent your body from producing red blood cells or anemia, thus causing hypotension.
Medications that Causes Hypotension
Certain medications can also cause low blood pressure.
These medications are as follows:
Warer Pills or Diuretics: These include furosemide, and hydrochlorothiazide.
Alpha-Blockers: Like prazosin.
Beta-Blockers: These include medications like atenolol and propranolol.
Medications for Parkinson’s disease: Like pramipexole or those containing levodopa.
Certain types of Antidepressants: Such as tricyclic antidepressants like doxepin and imipramine.
Medications for Erectile Dysfunction: Includes sildenafil or tadalafil, particularly when individuals with heart medications take it with nitroglycerin.
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Diagnosis of Hypotension
The goal of diagnosis is to determine the cause of hypotension.
Other than taking your medical history, physical examination, and measuring it, your doctor may recommend the following:
Blood Tests: These test helps to provide information about your overall health.
Moreover, they can determine whether you have low blood sugar, hypoglycemia, high blood sugar, hyperglycemia, or diabetes, or a low blood cell count, Anemia.
Electrocardiogram, ECG: During this non-invasive test, your doctor will put sift sticky patches or electrodes to your skin, chest, arms, and legs.
These patches detect electrical signals of your heart while a machine records them on a graph or displays them on the screen.
Your doctor will perform this test in their office and it can help detect irregularities in your heart rhythm.
Moreover, it can help detect structural problems and problems with the supply of blood and oxygen to your heart muscle.
Tilt Table Test: In case you have hypotension on standing or from faulty brain signals or neurally mediated hypotension, a title table test can help.
It evaluates how your body reacts to changes in position.
During this test, you will lie on the table that is tilted to raise your upper part of the body.
This helps to stimulate the movement from a horizontal to a standing position.
Treatment for Low Blood Pressure
The treatment for hypotension depends on the underlying cause of your condition.
This can include medications for heart disease, diabetes, or infection.
Moreover, drink plenty of water to avoid hypotension that occurs due to dehydration.
This is particularly the case if you are vomiting or have diarrhea.
Staying hydrated can help to treat and prevent the symptoms of neurally mediated hypotension.
However, if you experience hypotension while standing for long periods of time, make sure to take a break and sit down.
Also, try to reduce your stress levels to avoid emotional trauma.
Treat orthostatic hypotension with slow and gradual movements instead of standing up quickly.
Moreover, work your way into a sitting or standing position using small movements.
You can avoid orthostatic hypotension by not crossing your legs while you are sitting.
In case of shock-induced hypotension, seek treatment immediately.
It is severe hypotension and emergency personnel will give you fluids and possibly blood products.
These help to increase your blood pressure and stabilize your vital signs.
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What to Eat?
Certain food items can help your raise your blood pressure.
Monitor your symptoms and regularly measure your blood pressure to understand what works best for you.
Try consuming the following:
Fluids: Dehydration decreases the blood volume, thus causing it to drop.
Make sure to drink enough water especially when exercising.
Vitamin B-12 Foods: Too little vitamin B-12can lead to a certain type of anemia.
This can cause hypotension and fatigue.
Foods high in vitamin B-12, like eggs, fortified cereals, animal meat, and nutritional yeast can help.
Salt: Salty foods can help increase it.
Try eating canned soup, smoked fish, cottage cheese, pickled items, or olives.
Caffeine: Caffeine and other caffeinated products can temporarily spike your blood pressure.
They do this by stimulating the cardiovascular system and boosting heart rate.
Hypotension can affect anyone, though certain types are more common depending on your age or other factors;
Age: Drop in your blood pressure on standing or after eating occurs in adults older than 65 years of age.
Moreover, neurally mediated hypotension affects children and younger adults.
Medications: If you take certain medications especially for high blood pressure like aloha-blockers are at a greater risk of hypotension.
Certain Diseases: Parkison’s disease, diabetes, and some heart conditions can put you at a greater risk of developing hypotension.
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You can manage and prevent hypotension by understanding your condition and educating yourself about it. Learning about the triggers and trying to avoid them can help.
Moreover, taking the prescribed medication as directed by your physician can help increase your blood pressure and avoid permanent harmful complications.
Thus, it is always best to notify your doctor if you are concerned about your blood pressure levels and any symptoms you have.