Hypotension is a condition in which the blood pressure falls below the normal range caused by dehydration, medications, and underlying medical conditions.
This can cause a wide variety of symptoms, depending on the person. In some cases, low blood pressure can be a sign of a more serious health problem. In other cases, it can be treated with lifestyle changes or medication. In this blog post, we will discuss the causes and symptoms of hypotension, as well as treatment options.
What is hypotension?
Low blood pressure (hypotension) is a condition in which the blood pressure falls below the normal range. The amount of blood pumped by the heart and the degree of resistance to blood flow in the arteries determine blood pressure.
Low blood pressure is defined as a systolic pressure reading of 90 mm Hg or less for the top number and diastolic pressure reading of 60 mm Hg for the bottom number. A low blood pressure reading appears as 90/60 mm Hg. Normal blood pressure readings are 120/80 mm Hg.
This can be due to a variety of reasons, including dehydration, medications, and underlying medical conditions. Low blood pressure can also be a side effect of some medical procedures, such as surgery.
Types of hypotension
The types of hypotension:
- Orthostatic hypotension or postural hypotension: This type occurs when blood pressure drops suddenly after standing up or changing positions. It is more common in older adults and can be a side effect of some medications, such as diuretics.
- Neurally mediated hypotension: This type is also called vasovagal syncope and can be caused by a variety of triggers, such as fear, pain, or the sight of blood. It is more common in young adults and children.
- Postprandial hypotension: This type occurs after eating a meal, especially if the meal is high in carbohydrates. It is more common in older adults with diabetes and high blood pressure and can be a side effect of some medications, such as beta-blockers.
What are the symptoms of hypotension?
Low blood pressure symptoms can include dizziness, lightheadedness, fainting, blurred vision, and fatigue. If you experience any of these symptoms, it is important to seek medical attention.
Some individuals may be concerned about their blood pressure when it drops suddenly or has symptoms, especially if it decreases significantly.
Blood pressure can drop suddenly for several reasons. If you experience a sudden drop in blood pressure, lie down and raise your legs above your heart level. Drink plenty of fluids and avoid caffeine. If symptoms persist, seek medical attention.
When blood pressure is extremely low, it can produce a condition known as shock. Shock symptoms include:
- Flushed skin
- Rapid breathing
- Rapid heart rate
What are the causes of hypotension?
Hypotension can be caused by a variety of factors, including
- Dehydration: Dehydration. When the body doesn’t have enough water, the amount of blood in the body (blood volume) decreases. This can may lower blood pressure.
- Pregnancy: Changes during pregnancy cause blood vessels to expand rapidly
- Heart conditions
- High blood pressure
- Autonomic nervous system dysfunction
- Severe blood loss: Severe bleeding reduces blood volume, leading to a severe drop in blood pressure
- Severe infections
- Internal injury
- Deficiency in essential nutrients
- Underlying medical problems
- Low blood pressure might also be a result of some medical treatments, such as surgery.
Risk factors for hypotension include:
- Age: Older adults are more likely to experience hypotension due to age-related changes in the heart and arteries.
- Pregnancy: Low blood pressure is common during pregnancy, especially in the first trimester.
- Medications: Some medications, such as diuretics, can cause hypotension.
- Medical conditions: Conditions that can lead to hypotension include heart disease, endocrine disorders, and blood disorders.
How is hypotension diagnosed?
Many individuals don’t realize their blood pressure is low until they have their blood pressure measured. Your doctor will ask about your medical history and symptoms and perform a physical examination. They may also order blood tests and other diagnostic tests to rule out other causes of your symptoms.
How is hypotension treated?
It’s critical to figure out what’s causing blood pressure to drop to get it treated, if necessary. If hypotension is caused by a medication, your doctor may adjust the dosage or switch you to a different medication. If it is due to an underlying medical condition, your doctor will treat the condition.
- Dehydration is a common cause of hypotension and can be treated by drinking plenty of fluids and increasing salt intake.
- If you have orthostatic hypotension, your doctor may recommend wearing compression stockings and avoiding prolonged standing.
- If you have neurally mediated hypotension, your doctor may recommend avoiding triggers such as heat, emotional stress, and dehydration.
- Postprandial hypotension can be treated by eating smaller meals, avoiding foods high in carbohydrates, and drinking plenty of fluids.
Your doctor may also recommend lifestyle changes, such as eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly.
What are the complications of hypotension?
Low blood pressure without any symptoms in healthy individuals is not generally a problem and does not require treatment. However, low blood pressure might be an indication of an underlying condition, especially in the elderly, when it can lead to reduced blood flow to the heart, brain, and other vital organs.
Hypotension can lead to complications such as dizziness, fainting, falls, and injuries. Extremely low blood pressure can reduce the body’s oxygen levels and cause heart and brain damage. Left untreated, hypotension can lead to serious complications, such as shock and heart attack.
If you have hypotension, be sure to drink plenty of fluids and avoid standing for long periods. If you experience any symptoms of hypotension, seek medical attention.
You can help prevent hypotension by drinking plenty of fluids, eating a healthy diet, and exercising regularly. If you take medication that can cause hypotension, be sure to take it as prescribed. You should also avoid standing for long periods and drinking alcohol.