June 11, 2024

How Do You Get Low Blood Pressure: Causes and Treatments

Low blood pressure, medically termed as hypotension, occurs when blood flows through blood vessels at pressures significantly lower than normal. Typical readings for low blood pressure are considered to be lower than 90/60 mm Hg.

Causes of Low Blood Pressure

The underlying causes of low blood pressure can vary widely, making it essential to identify the specific reason for appropriate treatment. Causes may include:

  • Dehydration
  • Severe blood loss
  • Infections
  • Severe allergic reactions
  • Malnutrition
  • Pregnancy
  • Heart conditions
  • Hormonal disorders

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Certain medications, such as diuretics, alpha blockers, beta blockers, antidepressants, and drugs for Parkinson’s disease and erectile dysfunction, can also contribute to lowered blood pressure.

Types of Low Blood Pressure

Orthostatic Hypotension

This type occurs when one stands up quickly, causing blood pressure to drop. Symptoms include dizziness, lightheadedness, and potential fainting.

Postprandial Hypotension

Happens after eating a meal, as blood is redirected towards the digestive system, reducing blood pressure elsewhere in the body.

Neurally Mediated Hypotension

Caused by a miscommunication between the heart and the brain, leading to sudden drops in blood pressure.

Multiple System Atrophy with Orthostatic Hypotension

A rare disorder that affects the autonomic nervous system, causing severe drops in blood pressure when standing up.

Depiction of a hypotension (low blood pressure) patient getting her blood pressure checked

"Depiction of a hypotension (low blood pressure) patient getting her blood pressure checked" by https://www.myupchar.com/en is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0. To view a copy of this license, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/.

Table of Types of Low Blood Pressure

Type of Low Blood Pressure Description Symptoms
Orthostatic Hypotension Occurs when standing up quickly, causing blood pressure to drop. Dizziness, lightheadedness, potential fainting
Postprandial Hypotension Happens after eating a meal, as blood is redirected towards the digestive system. Symptoms may vary; often similar to orthostatic hypotension
Neurally Mediated Hypotension Caused by miscommunication between the heart and the brain. Sudden drops in blood pressure
Multiple System Atrophy with Orthostatic Hypotension A rare disorder affecting the autonomic nervous system, causing severe drops in blood pressure. Severe hypotension when standing up

Symptoms of Low Blood Pressure

Individuals with low blood pressure often experience:

  • Blurred vision
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting
  • Fatigue
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Nausea

Risk Factors and Complications

Risk factors for low blood pressure include age, certain medications, and conditions like Parkinson's disease and diabetes. Low blood pressure can lead to complications such as:

  • Dizziness and weakness
  • Fainting and falls
  • Potential heart and brain damage due to reduced oxygen levels

Borderline low blood pressure. Explains the dizzies. But not the bronchitis.

"Borderline low blood pressure. Explains the dizzies. But not the bronchitis." by lu_lu is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/.

Treatment and Management

Treatment for low blood pressure often involves addressing the underlying condition, adjusting medications, or making lifestyle changes such as increasing water intake and wearing compression stockings. Monitoring symptoms and consulting with a healthcare provider for persistent or severe cases is vital to ensure that blood pressure levels are maintained within a healthy range.

Frequently Asked Questions about Low Blood Pressure

What is low blood pressure (hypotension)?

Low blood pressure, medically termed as hypotension, occurs when blood flows through blood vessels at pressures significantly lower than normal. Typical readings for low blood pressure are considered to be lower than 90/60 mm Hg.

What is the cause of low blood pressure?

The underlying causes of low blood pressure can vary widely. Common causes include dehydration, severe blood loss, infections, severe allergic reactions, malnutrition, pregnancy, heart conditions, and hormonal disorders. Certain medications like diuretics, alpha blockers, beta blockers, antidepressants, and drugs for Parkinson’s disease and erectile dysfunction can also contribute to low blood pressure.

What are the types of low blood pressure?

There are several types of low blood pressure, including:

  • Orthostatic Hypotension: Occurs when standing up quickly, causing dizziness and potential fainting.
  • Postprandial Hypotension: Happens after eating as blood is redirected towards the digestive system.
  • Neurally Mediated Hypotension: Caused by a miscommunication between the heart and the brain.
  • Multiple System Atrophy with Orthostatic Hypotension: A rare disorder affecting the autonomic nervous system.

What are the symptoms of low blood pressure?

Symptoms of low blood pressure include blurred vision, dizziness, fainting, fatigue, trouble concentrating, and nausea.

What are the risk factors and complications associated with low blood pressure?

Risk factors for low blood pressure include age, certain medications, and conditions like Parkinson's disease and diabetes. Complications can include dizziness, weakness, fainting, falls, and potential heart and brain damage due to reduced oxygen levels.

What to do if blood pressure is too low?

If blood pressure is too low, it’s important to address the underlying condition and adjust medications accordingly. Making lifestyle changes such as increasing water intake and wearing compression stockings can also help. For persistent or severe cases, monitoring symptoms and consulting with a healthcare provider is essential to maintain healthy blood pressure levels.

How can low blood pressure be treated and managed?

Treatment for low blood pressure often involves addressing the underlying cause, whether it's a medical condition or medication adjustment. Lifestyle changes such as improving hydration and wearing compression stockings can help manage symptoms. It's important to monitor symptoms and consult with a healthcare provider to ensure blood pressure levels are kept within a healthy range.

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