Constantly feeling dizzy? It can be a sign of low blood pressure. Understanding the symptoms of low blood pressure can help in early detection and management.
Is having low blood pressure alarming? Not always! If you are healthy and there are no symptoms, then it is not a cause for concern. Your blood pressure naturally varies throughout the day and sometimes it may drop and may be misinterpreted as low blood pressure. When low blood pressure is accompanied by symptoms like dizziness, fainting, or shock, then it can be a problem.
Timely detection and management of low blood pressure are important to prevent complications.
What is Low Blood Pressure or Hypotension?
Blood pressure that is lower than normal is considered low blood pressure or hypotension. Blood pressure is the force exerted by the blood on the walls of the blood vessels during the pumping of blood from the heart. In an individual with low blood pressure, blood flows with very little force through the blood vessels. Low blood pressure in healthy individuals without any symptoms can occur temporarily due to dehydration or changes in the environment. Whereas, in other cases, it can indicate an underlying condition that requires attention.
Know Your Readings and Understand Low Blood Pressure Range
Your blood pressure constitutes two numbers. The top number indicates the systolic blood pressure (the pressure in your arteries while your heart beats) and the bottom number indicates the diastolic blood pressure (the pressure in your arteries in between the beats).
Optimal blood pressure is less than 120/80 mm Hg (systolic/diastolic). A blood pressure where the systolic blood pressure is less than 90 mm Hg and the diastolic blood pressure is less than 60 mm Hg is generally considered as low blood pressure.
What Causes Low Blood Pressure?
Low blood pressure can result from medical conditions such as heart diseases, endocrine disorders, pregnancy, severe infection or septicemia, dehydration, blood loss, and malnutrition.
What are the Types of Low Blood Pressure?
Depending on the cause, low blood pressure is divided into different types:
Orthostatic or Postural Hypotension
It is a sudden drop in your blood pressure while standing up from a sitting or a lying down position.
This drop in your blood pressure occurs one to two hours after having food. It is commonly seen in older adults.
Neurally Mediated Hypotension
Here the blood pressure drops after standing for long periods. It is common in young adults and children.
Multiple System Atrophy With Orthostatic Hypotension
It is a rare condition that is associated with damage to your nervous system which controls involuntary functions (autonomic nervous system) such as blood pressure, heart rate, breathing, and digestion. It is also called Shy-Drager syndrome.
What are the Signs and Symptoms of Low Blood Pressure (Low BP)?
Dizziness or Lightheadedness
It is a sense of unsteadiness or disorientation in space. It can affect your posture and balance, hence increasing the risk of falling. Dizziness can occur when you are moving, standing still, or lying down. While you are dizzy you may feel lightheaded, woozy, nauseous, and unsteady.
Blurred vision is a common symptom of low blood pressure. In case of a temporary drop in your blood pressure, the vision gets blurred for a brief period and returns to normal once your blood pressure shoots up.
Individuals with low blood pressure tend to get tired or fatigued easily. It can hamper your daily activities and affect the quality of your life.
Low blood pressure is often accompanied by nausea or a sensation to vomit. It can be short-lived or prolonged. Nausea is often accompanied by symptoms such as headache, dizziness, or diarrhea.
Lack of Concentration
Poor concentration or an inability to focus on a task is a common symptom of low BP. Difficulty in concentrating is a normal periodic occurrence in your everyday life. With low blood pressure, you may experience it often and it can affect your everyday activities.
Precautions For Low Blood Pressure
Certain lifestyle changes can help in preventing low blood pressure:
Stay well hydrated:
Drink at least 7 to 8 glasses of water in a day. Avoid sugary beverages and aerated drinks.
Eat at regular intervals:
Eat small portions multiple times a day. This will prevent a drop in your blood pressure levels between meals.
Choose low carb meals:
Limit foods that are high in carbohydrates such as rice, pasta, and bread. It helps in preventing the drop in your blood pressure after meals.
Pay attention to your body posture:
Avoid sudden movements, especially while standing up from a sitting or a lying down position. Try to move slowly and gently.
Aiming for at least 30 minutes of exercise every day will help in maintaining healthy blood pressure levels. It improves your heart rate and blood circulation.
When To See A Doctor
If your blood pressure is low and you do not experience any symptoms, then your doctor may just examine you during routine screenings.
If you experience signs and symptoms of extreme hypotension, seek emergency medical care. These symptoms include:
- Dizziness and/or confusion
- Cold, clammy, pale skin
- Shallow breathing
- Rapid, weak pulse
Don’t Have Time To Read?
- A blood pressure where the systolic blood pressure is less than 90 mm Hg and the diastolic blood pressure is less than 60 mm Hg is generally considered as low blood pressure.
- Low blood pressure can result from medical conditions such as heart diseases, endocrine disorders, and medications such as blood pressure medications and antidepressants.
- Depending on the cause, low BP is divided into 4 different types: postural, postprandial, neurally mediated, and multiple system atrophy with orthostatic hypotension.
- Common low blood pressure symptoms include dizziness, blurred vision, fatigue, nausea, and lack of concentration.
- Lifestyle changes that help manage and prevent low blood pressure include dietary changes, having smaller meals, drinking more water, and exercising regularly.
- 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. Also, check out our Hypertension Management Program which provides 360º care. Let’s treat low/high blood pressure problems together.
Friendly Asked Questions
To raise your blood pressure you can drink plenty of water, have more salt, eat smaller meals, have a balanced diet, and exercise regularly.
Yes! Low blood pressure can make you tired or fatigued easily. You may feel exhausted even while performing regular activities such as walking or climbing stairs.
Having food that is high in sodium or salt content can help in elevating your blood pressure immediately. Drinking caffeinated drinks can also help in a temporary elevation of blood pressure.
With low blood pressure, you can choose low-carb meals and follow the diet plan as advised by your doctor. Having small meals at multiple intervals also helps in maintaining healthy blood pressure.
Having caffeinated beverages can improve low blood pressure temporarily.
Exercise is beneficial for elevating your blood pressure. It helps in improving your blood flow and heart rate.