Low Blood Pressure

Low Blood Pressure

With every beat that your heart makes, your blood will push against your arteries, the force of this is called blood pressure.

This pressure can go either up or down as a response to what you’re currently doing, such as if you are asleep or walking around. When your blood pressure is low, the term is called Hypotension.

When blood pressure is measured, two things are analyzed:

  • The pressure created in your arteries when your heart beats- Systolic pressure.
  • The residual pressure in your arteries between heartbeats- Diastolic pressure

The blood pressure measurement consists of two numbers, systolic pressure and diastolic pressure. For example, having a lower blood pressure is good in a majority of scenarios (So less than 120/80).

However, having lower blood pressure can also lead to complications such as dizziness, or tiredness, and these are signs that your lower blood pressure is a sign of an underlying condition and should be looked at by a doctor.

Types of Hypotension

There are a few different types of Hypotension, and they’re categorised by when it happens and what the cause is. The most common types are as follows:

Orthostatic Hypotension

This is a drop in blood pressure as a result of moving from a sitting down or lying down position to a standing position, as your body adjusts to the change, it’s common to feel dizzy or lightheaded.

This is the most common form of low blood pressure and can affect people of all ages, but it’s typically seen in older adults, as well as pregnant people.

Medical conditions that affect the nervous system such as Parkinson’s or diabetes can lead to this type of low blood pressure.

Postprandial Hypotension

This type of blood pressure drop occurs after eating and is more common in older adults.

Neurally Mediated Hypotension

Neurally mediated hypotension occurs when there is an abnormal interaction between your heart and brain which can be caused by either standing in position for a long period of time or having a strong emotional response to a trigger.

Severe Hypotension

Severe Hypotension is a more extreme drop in your blood pressure that occurs during shock from a serious injury or infection. This is because, during shock, your organs aren’t provided with the blood and oxygen they need in order to function normally.

If this type of Hypotension is not treated quickly, it can be life-threatening.

Causes of Hypotension

There are conditions and actions which can cause either a sudden drop in your blood pressure or just cause it to be low generally which includes:

  • Eating a meal.
  • If you stand up too quickly.
  • Having a sudden emotional response.
  • If you’re pregnant due to the increased demand for blood.
  • Having impaired circulation.
  • Being dehydrated.
  • Suffering from Parkinson’s or diabetes.
  • Prolonged bed rest.
  • Shock and anaphylactic shock.
  • Blood loss or infections.

Symptoms of Hypotension

When you suffer from Hypotension, it’s common to have the following symptoms:

  • Fatigue or tiredness.
  • Suffering from lightheadedness.
  • Feeling dizzy or nauseous.
  • Having clammy skin or hands.
  • Blurred vision.

Treatments for Hypotension

If you suspect you’re suffering from Hypotension because you’re experiencing any of the above symptoms, you can have privately have your blood pressure monitored for either 24 or 48 hours to see if your blood pressure levels are too low or you can have a confidential, private appointment with a GP if you’re worried about hypotension to see what can be done and to see if any treatment options are available.

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