What is Low Blood Pressure or Hypotension?
Is Low Blood Pressure Dangerous?
What Causes Low BP?
Several factors and health conditions can cause low blood pressure. Treating the condition usually improves blood pressure
Temporary causes of low blood pressure
Low blood pressure can often be caused by dehydration. When you do not drink enough water, it could lead to low blood volume and thus low blood pressure. Dehydration can happen due to inadequate fluid consumption, exercise, hot temperatures, sickness, etc.
Eating a carbohydrate-rich meal
Foods rich in carbohydrates digest much quicker when compared to others and as such, need more blood to be digested. As a result, your body redirects blood to your gut from other parts of your body, which could cause a drop in your blood pressure levels.
Some pregnant women may experience low blood pressure due to the expansion of their circulatory system. In most cases, the condition resolves itself after the woman gives birth.
Blood loss or hypovolemic shock
When massive amounts of blood or other fluids are lost due to an accident, injury, severe dehydration, etc., the volume of blood in circulation decreases. This makes the heart unable to pump blood efficiently, resulting in low blood pressure and causing multiple organ failures.
Alcohol consumption affects your body in several ways. It causes dehydration, and fluid and electrolyte imbalances. It also interferes with the functioning of various hormones that regulate kidney function. All of these factors can have a negative impact on your blood pressure levels.
Serious and long-term causes of low blood pressure
When your body does not get enough vitamin B12 (cobalamin), vitamin B9 (folate), or iron, it can lead to anemia (low hemoglobin). Low hemoglobin and red blood cell count can lead to low blood pressure.
Sometimes, insufficient production of adrenal hormones (Addison’s disease) and excessive production of parathyroid hormone can also cause low blood pressure. Endocrine disorders like diabetes may also lead to low BP.
Infection or sepsis
When you have a bacterial infection, the bacteria can sometimes enter your bloodstream (sepsis) and cause a drastic drop in your blood pressure levels. This can lead to multiple organ failures if left untreated.
Cardiac problems like a slow heart rate, heart failure, heart attack, or physiological abnormalities in the heart valve can lead to lowered blood pressure levels.
Certain medications that are used to treat conditions like Parkinson’s disease, depression, hypertension, etc., may cause hypotension.
What are the Types of Low Blood Pressure?
Orthostatic or postural hypotension
Neurally mediated hypotension
Multiple system atrophy with orthostatic hypotension
Symptoms of Low Blood Pressure
The following are the symptoms of hypotension or low blood pressure:
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
- Blurred vision
- Fatigue or weakness
- Inability to focus or concentrate
- Rapid or irregular heartbeat
How is Hypotension Diagnosed?
Hypotension: Treatment & Management
Eat more salt
Make changes to your diet
Drink more coffee
Limit alcohol consumption
Wear compression socks
Low Blood Pressure Emergency Treatment at Home
Lie down on a flat surface
Drink Oral Rehydration Salts (ORS) solution
Drink water or other fluids
Eat something salty
If you are still experiencing any symptoms of low blood pressure, seek immediate medical attention.
When to See a Doctor?
Don’t Have Time To Read?
- Low blood pressure or hypotension occurs when your BP levels are under 90/60 mm Hg.
- Severe hypotension can be dangerous and may cause fainting, coma, or death.
- Low blood pressure can be caused by several factors like dehydration, eating a high-carb meal, alcohol consumption, blood loss, pregnancy, nutritional deficiencies, severe infections or sepsis, endocrine health issues, heart problems, medications, etc.
- Based on the cause, low blood pressure can be divided into orthostatic hypotension, postprandial hypotension, neurally mediated hypotension, and multiple system atrophy with orthostatic hypotension.
- Symptoms of low blood pressure include dizziness, weakness, tiredness, blurry vision, confusion, irregular heartbeat, fainting, etc.
- Low BP is diagnosed using a BP monitor. The cause of low blood pressure can be diagnosed using blood tests, ECG, imaging, tilt table test, cardiac stress test, etc.
- Hypotension can be reversed in some cases by treating the condition that may be causing it.
- Low blood pressure can be managed by eating more salt, drinking more fluids, eating a low-carb diet that is rich in iron, vitamin B12, and folate, exercising regularly, upping your caffeine intake, limiting your alcohol consumption, wearing compression stockings, and through medication.
- Low blood pressure can be treated in emergencies by licking salt, or by drinking water, fluids, or ORS solution.
- Seek immediate medical attention if your blood pressure readings are consistently low or if you experience symptoms like dizziness, blurred vision, or fainting frequently.
- Use the Phable Care App to consult India’s leading cardiologists, order medicines, book lab tests, integrate BP monitors and other devices to get real-time remote care from the comfort of your home. Let’s treat blood pressure problems together.
The fastest way to relieve low blood pressure would be through drinking more water or fluids, licking salt, or consuming oral rehydration salts (ORS).
Blood pressure levels below 90/60 mm Hg are considered hypotension. You may experience symptoms like dizziness, fatigue, or fainting at a blood pressure level below 80/50 mm Hg, at which point you should seek immediate medical assistance.
The following drinks can help improve low blood pressure:
- Juices high in sodium (tomato juice)
- Foods high in folate (kale, spinach, and leafy veg smoothies)
- Electrolyte replenishing drinks (lemon juice with salt, sports drinks etc.)
The following home remedies may help improve low blood pressure:
- Eat more sodium.
- Drink more water and fluids.
- Eat smaller, more frequent meals.
- Consume more caffeine.
- Change your posture slowly.
Vitamin B12 (cobalamin) and vitamin B9 (folate) can help improve low blood pressure levels. These vitamins are found in meat, fish, dairy, eggs, green leafy vegetables, beans, lentils, etc.