Even though the risks of high blood pressure are widely discussed, you do not usually hear a lot about issues triggered by low blood pressure. There are some individuals who chronically live with blood pressure that is lower than the normal and do not experience any adverse symptoms. Remember that far more concerning includes the abrupt changes in the blood pressure that can drop it to dangerous levels and trigger evident and oftentimes life-threatening issues.
Close look on the blood pressure
The blood pressure is the force of blood against the walls of the vessels as it circulates all over the body. The blood pressure is expressed in two numbers – systolic pressure (top number) which measures the force of blood as the heart pumps and diastolic pressure (bottom number) which measures the force of blood in between beats.
The optimal blood pressure in 120/80 mmHg but can range from 90/60 mmHg to 130/80 mmHg. It is important to note that readings which hovers between 120/80 and 140/90 might indicate prehypertension and requires monitoring.
Readings above 140/90 indicates high blood pressure or hypertension while those lower than 90/60 mmHg point to low blood pressure or hypotension. Take note that blood pressure that settles towards either extreme can indicate other health issues where some can be serious.
Issues linked with low blood pressure
Even though the indications of low blood pressure are often minor, serious episodes can trigger a variety of issues that require medical care. A drop in the blood pressure can cause weakness, dizziness, lightheadedness, confusion, sleepiness, fainting, nausea and vomiting.
This increases the risk for sustaining injuries from a fall. Abrupt low blood pressure can also cause a drop in the level of oxygen that can threaten the health of the vital organs such as the heart and brain. Among individuals who have kidney failure and other chronic kidney diseases, a low or diastolic reading has been linked with increased risk for death.
Forms of hypotension
Once the blood pressure drops drastically as a result of an allergic reaction, blood loss, infection or trauma, it can result to severe hypotension.
- Take note that low blood pressure triggered by switching from prone to standing is called as orthostatic hypotension. In most cases, this is usually brief and only lasts for a few seconds.
- Some individuals experience postprandial orthostatic hypotension which occurs when standing up shortly after a meal. Dehydration, pregnancy, anemia, Parkinson’s disease and irregularities with the heart rhythm can lead to hypotension.
- Neurally-mediated hypotension is seen among children and adults that can occur after long periods of standing.
- In some cases, low blood pressure might be induced by certain drugs. Antibiotics can contribute to low blood pressure. Those who are taking calcium channel blockers along with certain medications can experience issues with hypotension.
Treatment and prevention
When it comes to orthostatic hypotension not linked to any underlying condition, the treatment and prevention includes hydration, keeping the legs uncrossed to promote blood circulation, rising slowly to standing position and avoiding alcohol.
For postprandial episodes, the individual should eat small meals that are low in carbohydrates. For neurally-mediated hypotension, it is vital to limit time spent in a standing position. As for severe hypotension that is linked to trauma and shock, it requires immediate emergency medical care.