Low Blood Pressure: Could you be having its symptoms?


A value of less than 90 mm Hg for the top number (systolic) or 60 mm Hg for the bottom number is generally considered to be low blood pressure (diastolic).

What one individual deems to be normal blood pressure may not be an issue for another. Low blood pressure can leave you feeling unwell or it can make you feel lightheaded and faint. Low blood pressure can occasionally endanger life.

Only a few things, such as dehydration and other medical conditions, can cause low blood pressure. It is critical to identify the cause of low blood pressure so that, if necessary, it can be addressed.

Causes Of Low Blood Pressure

The volume of blood the heart pumps and the amount of resistance to blood flow in the arteries together determine blood pressure.Blood pressure is measured in millimetres of mercury (mm Hg). It has two figures:

Systolic force. The first (upper) value indicates the pressure in the arteries when the heart beats.

Diastolic pressure. The second (bottom) number represents the pressure in the arteries between heartbeats.

A normal measurement for blood pressure is less than 120/80 mm Hg.

Daily variations in blood pressure depend on:

  • Body placement
  • Breathing
  • Food and beverage
  • Medications
  • Physical state
  • Stress
  • Date and time
  • Nighttime is often when blood pressure is lowest and rises quickly.

Low blood pressure can be brought on by specific medical disorders and pharmaceutical use.

Low blood pressure can be brought on by any of the following health issues:

Pregnancy. Blood vessels quickly enlarge due to pregnancy-related changes. The adjustments could lower blood pressure. Early in pregnancy (the first 24 weeks), low blood pressure is typical. After giving birth, blood pressure typically returns to pre-pregnancy levels.

Conditions of the heart and heart valves. Heart attacks, heart failure, irregular heartbeats, and heart valve issues can all result in low blood pressure (bradycardia).

Illnesses relating to hormones (endocrine disorders). Blood pressure can fall with conditions that affect the parathyroid or adrenal glands, like Addison's disease.  Conditions such as Diabetes, low blood sugar (hypoglycemia), and other conditions.

Dehydration. The volume of blood in the body reduces when there is not enough water present. Blood pressure may decline as a result of this. Dehydration can be brought on by fever, vomiting, severe diarrhoea, using diuretics excessively, and vigorous activity.

Loss of blood. Blood volume is reduced when there is significant blood loss, such as through an injury or internal bleeding, and this causes a sharp reduction in blood pressure.

A serious infection (septicemia). Septic shock is a life-threatening reduction in blood pressure that can occur when an infection in the body enters the bloodstream.

Significant allergic response (anaphylaxis). A significant decline in blood pressure is one of the signs of a severe allergic reaction.

A diet lacking in nutrition. Low amounts of folate and vitamin B-12 iron can prevent the body from making enough red blood cells, causing anaemia, which can lower blood pressure.

Prescription drugs may lower blood pressure. Drugs such as the following can cause low blood pressure if taken: 

  • Hydrochlorothiazide and furosemide (Lasix) are examples of diuretics, or water pills (Microzide)
  • The alpha-blockers prazosin (Minipress)
  • Beta-blockers such as propranolol and atenolol (Tenormin), Parkinson's drugs such pramipexole (Mirapex), and drugs containing levodopa (Inderal, Innopran XL, and Hemangeol
  • Tricyclic antidepressants, such as imipramine and doxepin (Silenor), fall within this category (Tofranil)
  • Sildenafil (Revatio, Viagra) and tadalafil (Adcirca, Alyq, Cialis), especially when used with the heart medicine nitroglycerin, are medications for erectile dysfunction (Nitrostat, Nitro-Dur, Nitromist)

How to check if you have Low Blood Pressure?

You should seek emergency medical attention if you exhibit signs of shock or extremely low blood pressure (hypotension).

Most medical practitioners do not consider blood pressure to be dangerously low until symptoms start to appear. Spending too much time in the sun or a hot tub is just two of the many factors that might result in occasional, mild dizziness or lightheadedness. To receive the proper diagnosis, it is crucial to see a healthcare professional.

Your doctor may simply watch you during routine checks if you routinely have low blood pressure readings but are otherwise healthy. Keeping track of your symptoms, when they happen, and what you were doing at the time can be beneficial.

Risk Factors Of Low Blood Pressure

Anybody may experience low blood pressure (hypotension). Hypotension risk factors include:

Age. Standing up or after eating causes a dip in blood pressure, which is particularly prevalent in people over 65. Hypotension that is neurologically mediated primarily affects children and young adults.

Medications. Many things, including some blood pressure drugs, increase the chance of having low blood pressure.

Certain illnesses. Diabetes, Parkinson's disease, and certain cardiac problems can all raise your risk of low blood pressure.

Types of Low Blood Pressure

Various forms of low blood pressure include:

Orthostatic tachycardia (postural hypotension). When you stand up from a seated or lying down position, your blood pressure drops suddenly. Some of the causes include dehydration, prolonged bed rest, pregnancy, particular medical conditions, and certain medications. Such low blood pressure is common in older adults.

After-meal hypotension. One to two hours after eating, this drop in blood pressure occurs. Older persons are most likely to be affected, particularly those with high blood pressure or disorders of the autonomic nervous system, including Parkinson's disease. Small, low-carb meals, drinking more water, and avoiding alcohol may all help to decrease discomfort.

Hypotension with neural mediation. This is a dip in blood pressure that occurs after prolonged standing. Most often, this kind of low blood pressure impacts both children and young adults. It could be caused by a breakdown in the brain-heart connection.

Orthostatic hypotension together with multiple system atrophy. This uncommon condition, also known as Shy-Drager syndrome, affects the neurological system that regulates involuntary processes like blood pressure, heart rate, breathing, and digestion. When you are lying down, it is linked to having really high blood pressure.

Low Blood Pressure Symptoms

Symptoms of low blood pressure (hypotension) include:

  • Diminished or blurred eyesight
  • Unsteadiness or faintness
  • Fainting
  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Nausea

When blood pressure decreases unexpectedly or is accompanied by symptoms, it may be a sign of an underlying health condition for some people.

When blood pressure rapidly drops, it might be hazardous. Even a small fluctuation in blood pressure, such as going from 110 mm Hg to 90 mm Hg, might result in fainting and dizziness. Additionally, large dips, like those brought on by uncontrollable bleeding, serious infections, or allergic responses, might be fatal.

The condition known as shock can result from extremely low blood pressure. 

Shock symptoms include:

  • confusion, particularly in the elderly
  • clammy, frigid skin
  • reduction in skin colour (pallor)
  • shallow, rapid breathing
  • weak and rapid heartbeat

Low Blood Pressure Treatment

Rarely does low blood pressure (hypotension) that is symptomless or has minor symptoms need to be treated.

The treatment for low blood pressure symptoms relies on the underlying reason. For instance, if a drug lowers blood pressure, your doctor may advise changing, stopping, or lowering the prescription. Without first consulting your healthcare professional, do not change or stop taking your medicine.

When the cause of low blood pressure is unknown or there is no effective treatment, the goal is to raise blood pressure and minimise symptoms. There are numerous ways to do this depending on age, health, and the type of low blood pressure:

Put additional salt in. As salt (sodium) can occasionally significantly raise blood pressure, experts typically advise minimising intake. For those who have low blood pressure, though, it can be advantageous. However, excessive sodium intake, particularly in elderly persons, can cause heart failure. Therefore, it is crucial to see a doctor before consuming more salt.

Up your water intake. Fluids can assist to cure hypotension because they raise blood volume and keep people from becoming dehydrated.

Put on some compression socks. These elastic stockings, also known as support stockings, are frequently used to reduce varicose vein pain and oedema. They facilitate the improvement of heart-to-leg blood flow. Some persons can wear elastic abdominal binders instead of compression stockings with less discomfort.

Medications. There are numerous medications available to address low blood pressure that happens when you stand up (orthostatic hypotension). Fludrocortisone, for instance, increases blood volume. It is a common treatment for orthostatic hypotension.

Midodrine (Orvaten), which raises standing blood pressure levels, may be administered if you have long-term (chronic) orthostatic hypotension. This medication makes it harder for blood arteries to grow, which increases blood pressure.

Complications of Low Blood Pressure

Low blood pressure, or hypotension, can lead to the following complications:

  • Dizziness
  • Weakness
  • Fainting
  •  Falls-related injuries
  • The heart and the brain can be harmed by severe hypotension because it lowers the body's oxygen levels.


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Page last reviewed: Mar 13, 2023

Next review due: Mar 13, 2025

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