How Do I Know if I Have Low Blood Pressure? your doctor may tell you to increase your blood pressure by making these simple changes. Learn more about the causes, symptoms and treatment of low blood pressure, type of low blood pressure you have, you can do this in several ways: Several medications can be used to treat low blood pressure that occurs. If you have low blood pressure, you may want to consider changing your diet. Eating certain types of food, such as salty foods and foods high in.
Blood Pressure to Tips Combat Low
While you are taking medication, your blood pressure will be carefully monitored if you are considered to be at risk of hypotension. If you have an acute short-term illness, your blood pressure will be measured regularly because it is a good indicator of the severity of your illness. A heart condition, such as heart disease or a heart attack, can also cause low blood pressure, as your heart may not be able to pump blood around your body.
Autonomic disorders affect your autonomic nervous system and can cause hypotension. Your autonomic nervous system is part of your nervous system the network of cells that carry information around your body. It controls the bodily functions that you do not actively think about, such as sweating, digestion and the beating of your heart. The autonomic nervous system also controls the widening and narrowing of your blood vessels. If there is a problem with it, your blood vessels could remain too wide, causing low blood pressure.
In particular, autonomic disorders tend to cause orthostatic hypotension. The adrenal glands are two small glands that are located just above your kidneys. They produce hormones that control your blood pressure and maintain the balance of salt and water in your body.
This can cause dehydration which, in turn, leads to low blood pressure. If a problem with your adrenal glands is diagnosed, it can be treated by increasing the amount of aldosterone in your body. Addison's disease can also be treated with medication. Low blood pressure can also be caused by serious injuries or burns, particularly if you have lost a lot of blood. This can mean that there is less blood being pumped around your body. Septic shock and toxic shock syndrome are caused by bacterial infections.
The bacteria attack the walls of the small blood vessels, causing them to leak fluid from the blood into the surrounding tissues. This causes a significant drop in blood pressure severe hypotension.
During an allergic reaction, your body produces a large amount of a chemical called histamine, which causes your blood vessels to widen and leading to a sudden, severe drop in blood pressure. Cardiogenic shock occurs when your heart cannot supply enough blood to your body, so your blood pressure drops.
This can happen during a heart attack. A blood pressure reading is taken using two measurements. The first is known as systolic, which is the pressure in your arteries when your heart contracts and pushes the blood around your body. The second measurement is known as diastolic, which is the pressure in your arteries when your heart refills with blood in between heart beats.
Both systolic and diastolic blood pressures are measured in millimetres of mercury mmHg. Your GP or practice nurse will use a device known as a sphygmomanometer to measure your blood pressure. This device has an inflatable cuff and a scale of mercury, like a thermometer, as a pressure gauge.
The cuff is placed around your upper arm and inflated to restrict the flow of blood in your arm. The air is then slowly released from the cuff. Your GP, or practice nurse, will watch the mercury pressure gauge and listen to your blood flow in the main artery of your arm using a stethoscope.
Upon hearing your heart beat, the systolic pressure will be recorded. When the sound disappears, the diastolic pressure will be recorded. Alternatively, a digital sphygmomanometer may be used. This measures your pulse using electrical sensors and takes blood pressure readings automatically.
Blood-pressure testing kits are also commercially available. After you have had your blood pressure taken, your GP or nurse will give you your systolic reading first followed by your diastolic reading. However, it is not necessary for both your systolic and diastolic readings to be in this range for it to be considered low blood pressure. If you have low blood pressure according to this guide, you do not need to worry. Having low blood pressure is considered healthy as it protects you from the risks and diseases of high blood pressure.
You will only need to have treatment if you are experiencing symptoms as a result of your low blood pressure. As well as measuring your blood pressure, your GP or practice nurse may also calculate your mean arterial pressure MAP. This is the average pressure required to push blood through your body. The reading takes account of blood flowing away from your heart and to it, and it can be a better indication of whether your blood pressure is too low.
If your MAP is below 65 mmHg, it is possible that your brain and vital organs aren't receiving enough oxygen. This is still unlikely to cause health problems.
If your symptoms of low blood pressure mostly occur when you change position postural or orthostatic hypotension , then your blood pressure may be measured before and after you move.
For example, your blood pressure may be measured while you are sitting down and again while you are standing up. Depending on what your seated blood pressure was, if your systolic reading drops by between mmHg when you stand up, you may have orthostatic hypotension.
Your GP or practice nurse will usually be able to diagnose low blood pressure very easily. However, determining the reason for low blood pressure can be more difficult. If you have an underlying condition that is causing low blood pressure, it is likely that you will have other symptoms as well.
Discuss these with your GP, who may recommend that you have further tests. If you have low blood pressure hypotension but you do not have any symptoms, you do not require treatment. If you are experiencing symptoms, your GP will try to establish the underlying cause of your hypotension in order to determine what treatment is necessary.
If you are taking medication, and your GP suspects that it may be causing low blood pressure, they will probably recommend a change of medication, or alter your dose. This includes medication to treat high blood pressure hypertension , and medication to treat Parkinson's disease. Your blood pressure will be monitored while you are taking medication, and any changes will be noted by your GP or practice nurse.
If your GP suspects that a disorder such as a heart condition, adrenal gland failure or a nerve condition is causing your low blood pressure, you may be referred to hospital for further tests and treatment. If adrenal gland failure is found to be causing your low blood pressure, your GP may prescribe fludrocortisone to replace the missing hormone, aldosterone.
This will usually be in tablet form and will need to be taken for life. If a nerve condition is causing your low blood pressure, it can be more difficult to treat. You may be prescribed medication in order to help stimulate your nervous system. This can be easily treated by increasing your fluid and salt intake. Ensuring that you drink enough fluid at least eight glasses a day will help with hypotension. This is because more fluids will increase the volume of your blood, and having more blood in your arteries will increase your blood pressure.
While people who have high blood pressure are usually advised to restrict their salt intake, if you have low blood pressure you may be advised to include more salt in your diet. Your GP will be able to advise you about how much additional salt you need and whether you can add salt to your usual food, or if you need to take salt tablets.
Very few people are prescribed medication for hypotension. The symptoms of hypotension can be usually be treated by making these small changes to your lifestyle and, in particular, by increasing your fluid and salt intake. If medication is necessary, it will usually be medicines to expand the volume of your blood, or to constrict narrow your arteries.
By increasing your blood, or decreasing your arteries, your blood pressure will increase, as there will be more blood flowing through a smaller space. Content provided by NHS Choices www. Skip to main content. The heart The heart is a muscle that is designed to pump a constant supply of blood around the body.
Blood pressure Blood pressure is a measure of the force of the blood on the walls of the arteries as the blood flows through them. At this stage, the pressure in your arteries is at its highest. At this stage, the pressure in your arteries is at its lowest. Arteries Arteries are blood vessels that carry blood from the heart to the rest of the body.
Veins Veins are blood vessels that carry blood from the rest of the body back to the heart. Useful Links Health A-Z: Symptoms of low blood pressure. As a result, you may experience some of the following symptoms: Postural or orthostatic hypotension Postural or orthostatic hypotension occurs when your blood pressure falls after a sudden movement.
Postprandial hypotension Your blood pressure can sometimes decrease fall after eating, causing dizziness, light-headedness, fainting and falls. This condition, known as postprandial hypotension, tends to occur more often in older people, particularly in those who have: Blood Blood supplies oxygen to the body and removes carbon dioxide.
It is pumped around the body by the heart. Blood vessels Blood vessels are the tubes in which blood travels to and from parts of the body. The three main types of blood vessels are veins, arteries and capillaries. Brain The brain controls thought, memory and emotion. It sends messages to the body controlling movement, speech and senses. Heart The heart is a muscular organ that pumps blood around the body.
Healthy people who have blood pressure that is low but still in the normal range when measured at rest tend to live longer than people who have blood pressure that is on the high side of normal. The body has several ways to return blood pressure to normal after it increases or decreases during normal activities, such as exercise or sleep. Muscle tissue called smooth muscle within the walls of arterioles allow these blood vessels to widen dilate or narrow constrict. The more constricted arterioles are, the greater their resistance to blood flow and the higher the blood pressure.
Constriction of arterioles increases blood pressure because more pressure is needed to force blood through the narrower space. Conversely, dilation of arterioles reduces resistance to blood flow, thus reducing blood pressure. The degree to which arterioles are constricted or dilated is affected by. Veins also play a role in the control of blood pressure, although their effect on blood pressure is much less than that of arterioles.
Veins dilate and constrict to change how much blood they can hold capacity. When veins constrict, their capacity to hold blood is reduced, allowing more blood to return to the heart from which it is pumped into the arteries. As a result, blood pressure increases. Conversely, when veins dilate, their capacity to hold blood is increased, allowing less blood to return to the heart. As a result, blood pressure decreases. The more blood pumped from the heart per minute that is, the larger the cardiac output , the higher the blood pressure—as long as the width of the arteries remains constant.
The amount of blood pumped during each heartbeat can be affected by. The higher the volume of blood in the arteries, the higher the blood pressure—as long as the width of the arteries remains constant. The volume of blood in the arteries is affected by. Blood pressure can vary throughout the body due to the direct action of gravity. When a person is standing, blood pressure is higher in the legs than in the head, much in the way that the water pressure at the bottom of a swimming pool is higher than that at the top.
When a person lies down, blood pressure tends to be more equal throughout the body. When a person stands up, blood from the veins in the legs has a harder time getting back to the heart. In response, the heart pumps out less blood, and blood pressure may temporarily drop throughout the body. When a person sits down or lies down, blood can more easily return to the heart, and cardiac output and blood pressure may increase.
Elevating the legs above the level of the heart can increase return of blood to the heart, which increases cardiac output and raises blood pressure. Baroreceptors are specialized cells located within arteries that act as blood pressure sensors. Those in the large arteries of the neck and chest are particularly important. When baroreceptors detect a change in blood pressure, they trigger the body to react to maintain a steady blood pressure.
Nerves carry signals from these sensors and the brain to. The heart, which is signaled to change the rate and force of heartbeats thus changing the amount of blood pumped. This change is one of the first, and it corrects low blood pressure quickly. The arterioles, which are signaled to constrict or dilate thus changing the resistance of blood vessels. The veins, which are signaled to constrict or dilate thus changing their capacity to hold blood.
The kidneys, which are signaled to change the amount of fluid excreted thus changing the volume of blood in blood vessels and to change the amount of hormones that they produce thus signaling the arterioles to constrict or dilate and changing the volume of blood. This change takes a long time to produce results and thus is the slowest mechanism for how the body controls blood pressure.
For example, when a person is bleeding, blood volume and thus blood pressure decrease. In such cases, sensors activate multiple processes to prevent blood pressure from decreasing too much: The heart rate increases, increasing the amount of blood pumped; the veins constrict, reducing their capacity to hold blood; and the arterioles constrict, increasing their resistance to blood flow.
If the bleeding is stopped, fluids from the rest of the body move into the blood vessels to begin restoring blood volume and thus blood pressure. The kidneys decrease their production of urine. Thus, they help the body retain as much fluid as possible to return to the blood vessels. Eventually, the bone marrow and spleen produce new blood cells, and blood volume is fully restored.
Nonetheless, the ways that the body can monitor and control blood pressure have limitations. For example, if a person loses a lot of blood quickly, the body cannot compensate quickly enough, blood pressure falls, and organs may begin to malfunction shock. Toxins produced by bacteria during certain severe bacterial infections septic shock. Certain endocrine disorders, such as Addison disease. Various heart disorders that impair the heart's pumping ability and reduce cardiac output include.
A heart attack myocardial infarction. A heart valve disorder. An extremely rapid heartbeat tachycardia. A very slow heartbeat bradycardia.
An abnormal heart rhythm arrhythmia. Low blood pressure also occurs when the nerves that conduct signals between the brain and the heart and blood vessels are impaired by neurologic disorders called autonomic neuropathies. When a person quickly moves from a sitting position to a standing position, blood pressure in the blood vessels to the brain decreases, resulting in a temporary sensation of lightheadedness or faintness.
This is called orthostatic hypotension. It can be more pronounced in people who are dehydrated, warm such as emerging from a hot bath , have certain illnesses, or who have been lying down or sitting for prolonged periods of time and can even cause them to faint.
In most people, the body quickly acts to increase blood pressure and prevent the person from fainting. What Happens in the Body. Antihypertensive drugs that dilate blood vessels such as calcium channel blockers, angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, and angiotensin II receptor blockers.
Diuretics such as furosemide and hydrochlorothiazide. During pregnancy, pressure on the inferior vena cava the main vein that carries blood from the legs from the uterus when women lie in certain positions. Increased abdominal pressure when straining to move bowels or pass urine or when lifting heavy weights. Antihypertensive drugs such as methyldopa and clonidine. When blood pressure is too low, the first organ to malfunction is usually the brain.
The brain malfunctions first because it is located at the top of the body and blood flow must fight gravity to reach the brain. Consequently, most people with low blood pressure feel dizzy or light-headed, particularly when they stand, and some may even faint.
Blood pressure (low)
People who do not respond well to natural solutions may want to ask their doctor about medications that help raise blood pressure. How to check your blood pressure Low blood pressure is a measurement of 90 /60mmHg or lower. × How to ease low blood pressure symptoms yourself. Find more information and articles on how to help low blood pressure ( hypotension). Ideal blood pressure is considered anything lower than /80 – the top.