Low Blood Pressure: How Do I Manage It?

What Causes Low Blood Pressure?

Hypotension or low blood pressure occurs when the BP reading falls below 90/60; the first or higher number is the systolic pressure while the second or lower number is the diastolic pressure. When you are healthy, low BP, which does not have any visible symptoms, is rarely a problem. However, a low BP reading might indicate some underlying medical problems, particularly in the elderly.

There are several causes of low blood pressure:

  • Low BP is common during pregnancy when the woman’s circulatory system must grow rapidly. In such cases, the blood pressure typically switches to normal post-delivery.
  • When you have heart issues, it is likely to trigger low BP, especially low heart rate, heart attack, and even heart failure.
  • People suffering from endocrine problems can have low blood pressure levels; Addison’s disease, thyroid problems like parathyroid disease, low blood sugar levels, and even diabetes may trigger low BP.
  • Severe blood loss because of a critical injury or internal bleeding can cause low BP.
  • Dehydration makes the body lose a lot of water, and this causes dizziness, fatigue, and weakness.
  • Vomiting, high fever, acute diarrhea, strenuous workouts, or overuse of diuretics may trigger low BP.
  • Septicemia or severe infections that enter your bloodstream may cause blood pressure to fall significantly.
  • Severe allergic reactions that can be triggered because of certain foods, medicines, latex, or insect poison can cause low BP.
  • An overall lack of essential nutrients in the diet, such as vitamin B12, may cause anemia as the body fails to produce sufficient red blood cells, and this condition triggers low BP.
  • Besides, there are certain medications that can make your blood pressure levels fall such as water pills or diuretics, alpha-blockers like prazosin, beta-blockers like atenolol or propranolol, medications for Parkinson’s disease, antidepressants, drugs to treat erectile dysfunction like sildenafil or tadalafil.

Symptoms of Low Blood Pressure:

  • Lightheadedness or dizziness
  • Vomiting and nausea
  • Fainting
  • Blurry vision
  • Lack of focus
  • Shock or confusion in the elderly
  • Cold and clammy skin
  • Shallow but rapid breathing
  • Weakness
  • Pale skin
  • Unsteadiness

When you have been experiencing any of these above-mentioned symptoms you need to reach out to a doctor at the earliest. For instance, if you are diagnosed with low BP and experiencing many of these symptoms like fainting; you must contact your doctor. If you have started to experience such symptoms after taking some nonprescription medication or any prescription drug, you need to call the doctor. In case the BP levels fall too much, your body may be deprived of oxygen and start shutting down. Lack of oxygen supply to the brain and heart will trigger breathing difficulty, and the patient may even go into shock or lose consciousness.

Tips To Manage Low Blood Pressure In The Long-run:

  • Managing and treating low blood pressure will depend on the causes for the low BP. So, the treatment could include medicines for heart problems, diabetes, or infections if these caused the condition.
  • You need to keep yourself well hydrated at all times to avoid low BP; this is vital when you are suffering from acute diarrhea.
  • When you experience low BP because of standing up for long hours, you need to alternate between standing and sitting at regular intervals.
  • Keeping stress levels under check is important for managing low BP.
  • Slow and gradual movements should be done for treating orthostatic hypotension. For instance, you need to stand up slowly or switch between postures gradually to avoid sudden movements that can cause your pressure to oscillate.
  • You can eat a diet that has high salt content.
  • Drinking non-alcoholic fluids will raise BP levels.
  • Drinking a lot of fluids when you have the flu or when the weather is exceptionally warm.
  • Doing regular exercises for ensuring better blood flow.
  • Avoid lifting heavy objects and raise the head of the bed when you sleep at night.
  • Staying away from long exposures to hot water and saunas.
  • Eating frequent meals in small portions so that the body is not overexerted in digesting a lot of food.
  • Using compression stockings covering your thighs and calf muscles can help to restrict the blood flow to your legs, and retain more blood in your upper body.

When none of these seem to work, you may have to take the help of medicines. Fludrocortisone works for most of the low BP cases by promoting salt retention by your kidneys, causing some amount of fluid retention in the process. This raises BP levels but may lead to potassium loss. Midodrine activates small artery and vein receptors to elevate the blood pressure.

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