By: Tuan Vo, Medically reviewed by: Dr. Duyen Le.
Hypotension, also called low blood pressure, is a sudden drop in blood pressure below 90/60 mmHg. Hypotension makes blood volume decreased because of lack of heart contraction.
A blood pressure reading appears as two numbers. The first and higher of the two is a measure of systolic pressure, or the pressure in the arteries when the heart beats and fills them with blood. The second number measures diastolic pressure, or the pressure in the arteries when the heart rests between beats.
Therefore, you are considered to have low blood pressure if your reading is less than 90/60, meaning:
Hypotension is a symptom of many medical conditions and can cause many effects on a person’s health, especially in the elderly. However, regular exercise, standing up for too long, or even standing up from a sitting or lying down position can decrease your blood pressure. This is called postural hypotension or orthostatic hypotension.
Low blood pressure can happen to anyone. It can be managed by reducing your risk factors. Please discuss with your doctor for further information.
The symptoms of hypotension (low blood pressure) occur when the blood supply to the brain is reduced. Common symptoms include:
Chronic low blood pressure with no symptoms is almost never serious, as some healthy people who exercise regularly tend to have lower blood pressure. But a sudden drop in blood pressure can lead to insufficiency of blood supply to vital organs, especially the brain. Decreased blood volume causes malnourishment multi-organs.
Patients with hypotension often suffer some severe symptoms such as syncope, circulation shock and pulse collapse.
There may be some symptoms not listed above. If you have any concerns about a symptom, please consult your doctor.
In most cases, hypotension isn’t a serious problem. Many people have low blood pressure reading but feel just fine. Sometimes you might feel lightheadedness and dizziness, but it should be no problem if the symptoms don’t interfere with your daily life. Still it is important to see your doctor if you have hypotension as it can point to other more serious health problem. See your doctor or nurse if you have any of the following symptoms:
There are many causes of hypotension. It can happen if:
In some patients, hypotension is tied to another problem, such as:
But people who are otherwise healthy can have the condition, too. Older people are more likely than younger people to have hypotension. Low blood pressure is also common in pregnant women.
Some cases, blood pressure can drop suddenly. In these cases, causes can be:
The risk of both low and high blood pressure normally increases with age. Blood flow to the heart muscle and the brain declines with age, often as a result of plaque buildup in blood vessels. An estimated 10% to 20% of people over age 65 have hypotension.
Some medications can increase your risk of hypotension, such as diuretics, nitrates and vasodilation.
Other risk factors include:
The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. ALWAYS consult with your doctor for more information.
There are a few tests that can help your doctor or nurse find out if hypotension is causing your symptoms. The most common test is to take your blood pressure and pulse while you are sitting or lying down and then again after you stand up. Other tests could include:
Low blood pressure that either doesn’t cause signs or symptoms or causes only mild symptoms, such as brief episodes of dizziness when standing, rarely requires treatment.
The first thing your doctor or nurse will want to do to treat your hypotension is found out if it is caused by any medicines you take. If so, he or she might switch you to another medicine or lower your dose. If you have symptoms, the most appropriate treatment depends on the underlying cause, and doctors usually try to address the primary health problem
Depending on your age, health status and the type of low blood pressure you have, you can do this in several ways:
The following lifestyles and home remedies might help you cope with Hypotension but only after you pay a visit to your doctor or nurse:
If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor to better understand the best solution for you.
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Hypotension Symptoms. www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/low-blood-pressure/basics/definition/con-20032298. Accessed December 4, 2016.
Review Date: April 17, 2017 | Last Modified: April 17, 2017