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Low blood pressure is also known as hypotension.

For millions of people who suffer from
hypertension (high blood pressure) hypotension may seem great. If symptoms are mild
hypotension usually requires no treatment. However, it can cause serious heart disorders, fainting
and also lead to neurological and endocrine disorders. If hypotension is severe key organs can
become deprived of oxygen and nutrients and the body can go into shock, a life-threatening

What is blood pressure?
The heart is a muscle that pumps blood around the body continuously. Blood that is low in
oxygen is pumped towards the lungs, where oxygen supplies are replenished. The heart pumps
this oxygen-rich blood around the body to supply our muscles and cells. The pumping of blood
generates pressure - blood pressure.
When we measure blood pressure, we gauge two different types of pressure:

Systolic pressure - the blood pressure when the heart contracts, specifically the moment
of maximum force of the contraction, which occurs when the left ventricle of the heart

Diastolic pressure - the blood pressure between heartbeats, when the heart is resting and
opening up, (dilating).

The figure will be followed by the abbreviation mmHg. When we are physically active. However. it means a systolic pressure of 120mmHg and a diastolic pressure of 80mmHg. and can cause unpleasant symptoms. which means millimeters of mercury. Our levels of blood pressure can fluctuate by as much as 30 or 40 mmHg during the day. and then a smaller number (diastolic pressure). low blood pressure may be a sign of an underlying problem. . What is low blood pressure (hypotension)? Anybody with a reading if 90/60 mmHg or lower is regarded as having hypotension (low blood pressure). It is important that blood pressure is taken under similar circumstances each time so that when the readings are compared they refer to the same state of physical activity. The figures usually appear with a larger number first (systolic pressure). very stressed or anxious our blood pressure rises. If your blood pressure is 120 over 80 (120/80 mmHg). It will be at its lowest point when we are asleep or resting.A digital blood pressure and heart rate monitor showing an ideal reading When our blood pressure is taken the doctor or nurse needs to measure both the systolic and diastolic pressures. People with low blood pressure have some protection from factors which raise blood pressure to undesirable levels.

It more commonly occurs among elderly people. This is known as postprandial hypotension. and wooziness (faintness). or sit up from a lying position. The low blood pressure will return to normal levels rapidly. . Consequently. Orthostatic hypotension (postural hypotension) This refers to a lowering of blood pressure after changing posture. Below are the most common symptoms of hypotension: • • • • • • • • • • • Blurred vision Cold. When we reach old age the heart beat may not increase enough to maintain blood pressure. Low blood pressure after meals (Postprandial hypotension) Sometimes blood pressure can drop after eating. or Parkinson's disease. causing light-headedness. dizziness. Also. If you are prone to developing postprandial hypotension you may find that the following simple steps help: • Lie down after the meal. Postural hypotension occurs more frequently as we get older. If blood pressure is so low that the supply of blood to the brain and other vital organs is insufficient the patient will need medical attention. After we eat our intestines require a significant increase in blood supply for digestion. This can occur when you stand up from a sitting or lying position. the blood vessels that were supposed to have narrowed do not constrict sufficiently to maintain blood pressure. pale skin Depression Dizziness Fainting Fatigue General feeling of weakness Nausea Palpitations Rapid. clammy. The heart responds by beating faster while blood vessels in other parts of the body narrow (constrict) to help maintain blood pressure. shallow breathing Thirst. blood pressure drops. diabetes.What are the symptoms of low blood pressure (hypotension)? Many people whose blood pressure is low will experience no symptoms. If the hypotension is not severe and there are no underlying conditions no treatment is necessary. Severe hypotension is caused by an underlying illness or condition. especially elderly people who suffer from hypertension (high blood pressure).

deliberately lowering blood pressure for surgery . feeling faint/fainting from swallowing or coughing are also caused by the stimulation of the vagus nerve. What causes low blood pressure (hypotension)? Some medications • • • • • • Alpha blockers Beta blockers Tricyclic antidepressants Diuretics Drugs for Parkinson's disease Sildenafil (Viagra).reduces intraoperative blood loss as well as surgical time. A sudden drop in blood supply to the brain can cause dizziness and fainting (syncope). Dilated blood vessels bring blood pressure down which reduces blood supply to the brain. Feeling faint in the toilet . . Swallow syncope and cough syncope.perhaps four or five small meals a day instead of 3 big ones. and defecation syncope means feeling faint/fainting while having a bowel movement.urinating (micturition syncope). more so if in combination with nitroglycerine. Micturition syncope means feeling faint/fainting when urinating. Septicemia. The patient can go into septic shock. defecating (defecation syncope) If you strain when urinating or having a bowel movement the vagus nerve is stimulated. Acetylcholine dilates the blood vessels. In virtually all cases the problem resolves quickly and no treatment is required. leading to severe and potentially dangerous hypotension. causing an increase in acetylcholine levels in the body. a life-threatening drop in blood pressure.• • Lower the carbohydrate content of your meals. Anesthesia Blood pressure is usually deliberately reduced for surgery. Serious injuries and/or internal bleeding If you lose a lot of blood from a serious injury or internal bleeding blood volume will drop. Serious burns can lead to shock and a reduction in blood pressure. blood poisoning. Eat smaller and more frequent meals . severe infection Virulent bacteria from an infection somewhere in the body can invade the bloodstream (septicemia). Hypotensive anesthesia .

is a complication of diabetes. Hydration levels (levels of water in the body) do not have to drop much before you start feeling dizzy and weak . and the adrenal gland. Endocrine problems (not including diabetes) The endocrine system is a system of glands involved in the release of hormones . resulting in life-threatening hypotension. If water or blood levels drop dramatically the patient can go into hypovolemic shock . and the rate at which food is broken down and converted into energy (part of metabolism). This is a normal part of a healthy pregnancy and is rarely cause for concern. If the adrenal glands do not work properly (adrenal insufficiency) there is also a risk of hypotension the adrenal glands are located just above each kidney and are chiefly responsible for regulating the stress response. Diabetes Damage to the nerves in the body. mainly because the heart is unable to pump enough blood to keep the pressure up. or stand up from a sitting/lying position. body temperature. Low blood pressure can be caused by hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) or hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid). heart valve problems. heart attack and heart failure can cause very low blood pressure.dehydration-induced weight loss of just 1% can lower blood pressure enough to cause symptoms. heat. Heart disease Badycardia (very low heart rate). vomiting. while diastolic pressure may fall by 10 to 15 points. Pregnancy Blood pressure usually drops during pregnancy because the circulatory system expands during gestation.examples include the thyroid gland. Autonomic dysfunction makes people more susceptible to orthostatic hypotension (postural hypotension) . Soon after childbirth blood pressure will resume to normal levels.the severe water/blood drop in volume means the heart cannot pump the blood properly. and over-exercising. including those in the autonomic nervous system.feeling faint when you suddenly sit up from a lying position. Systolic pressure typically falls about 5 to 10 points.Dehydration When your body loses more water than it takes in you eventually become dehydrated. Dehydration can be caused by severe diarrhea. overusing diuretics. Anaphylaxis (severe allergic reaction) . blood pressure. The thyroid gland makes and stores hormones that help in the control of the heart rate.

Anemia often results in hypotension. Diet deficiency A diet with insufficient quantities of vitamins B-12 and folate can cause anemia. One of the symptoms could be a severe drop in blood pressure. latex. Eating disorders Anorexia nervosa has abnormally slow heart rate and low blood pressure among its many complications. exercise.both these heart problems tend to result in serious hypotension. Bulimia nervosa leads to electrolyte imbalances that can lead to irregular heartbeats and possibly heart failure . .Some people may have a severe allergic reaction to some substances. medications. as well as hives. itching. swollen neck and breathing difficulties. foods. or insect bites.