Low blood pressure symptoms might be so negligible that they do not warrant attention. However, these could be indicators of serious health concerns especially among the elderly. Read on for more details about low blood pressure, its causes, symptoms, and what you can do to correct it.
Low Blood Pressure Overview
In medical language, low blood pressure is referred to as hypotension. A person is said to suffer from hypotension if his or her blood pressure goes below the ideal 120/80. The good news is that low blood pressure almost always is nothing to be concerned about.
What Causes It
Low blood pressure symptoms can be caused by a variety of things which include:
- Hypothyroidism or underactive thyroid disease. This happens when the thyroid gland does not produce sufficient thyroid hormone that it slows your body processes down. This could cause blood pressure to go down.
- Hypoglycemia. This happens when your glucose level drops. This also slows body processes down including blood circulation.
- Some over-the-counter and prescription drugs. Medicine used to treat depression, for example, is known to lower blood pressure.
- Posture. Blood pressure can also drop if a person suddenly stands or sits up after lying down. This happens because the cardiovascular system is not able to immediately adapt to the sudden change in posture. Another posture-caused blood pressure drop is neurally mediated hypotension. This happens when a person stands for a long period of time.
- Age. As a person grows older, blood pressure also lowers due to a natural decline in regulation or other underlying health conditions.
Low blood pressure is largely benign. However, it could indicate that a person is suffering from serious health conditions especially among the elderly. Some of these underlying concerns could include:
- Liver disease
- Heat stroke
- Heat exhaustion
- Heart failure
- Abnormal heart rhythms
- Blood vessel problems
- Internal bleeding
- A severe blood infection (Sepsis)
- A severe allergic reaction (Anaphylaxis)
- Dehydration-induced by food poisoning, diarrhea, or vomiting
- Heart muscle disease
- Body temperature irregularities
Given the gravity of the aforementioned conditions, it is important for a person to submit himself or herself to consultation with a physician. By doing so, the doctor can pinpoint the cause of low blood pressure and prescribe accurate medical intervention to correct it.
Low Blood Pressure Symptoms
Low blood pressure symptoms can manifest in different ways. Here are just some of them:
- Skin paleness
- Cold and clammy skin
- General feeling of being unbalanced or wobbly
- Vision blurs or dims
- Body malaise or general weakness
Usually, if a person is given enough time to rest, he or she naturally recovers from these symptoms. However, if they persist or if the person does not show any sign that the symptoms are improving, seek medical attention right away. Remember, sustained and severe low blood pressure could impede the delivery of oxygen throughout the body. Appropriate medical intervention, in this case, could spell the difference between life and death.
If you experience low blood pressure symptoms on a regular basis, it is time to see the doctor before things get worse. These are some of the common tests that you will have to undergo to get an accurate diagnosis:
- Electrocardiogram: Also known as EKG or ECG, this tests heart function. This will detect heart rhythm anomalies, poor blood flow, and abnormalities in heart muscles.
- Echocardiogram: This gives a visual representation of the heart. Again, anomalies or abnormalities can be detected through this test.
- Blood tests: This will check whether the patient is suffering from diabetes, anemia, or any other blood-related condition be the cause of low blood pressure symptoms.
- Exercises stress test: This can also help assess symptoms which can also pinpoint what induces low blood pressure.
There are many ways that you can counter low blood pressure symptoms without having to resort to medication. Here are just some of them:
- Regular exercise to improve blood flow.
- Avoid unnecessary straining of the body such as heavy lifting or staying still in a certain position for a protracted period.
- Avoid, if not, limit intake of alcoholic beverages.
- Drink lots of water.
- Add salt to your diet unless this is contradictory to other health considerations.
- Elevate the head when sleeping or resting.
- Do not stand or sit up suddenly after lying down. Take your time in shifting from one position to another.
- Do not skip meals. Intermittent fasting (IF) might not work for people with chronic low blood pressure. Consult your doctor if you have been diagnosed with hypotension and you still want to proceed with IF.
- Avoid exposure to heat for a long period of time. This applies to anything that generates heat from a hot shower or doing activities under the sun.
When to Seek Medical Attention
Again, low blood pressure symptoms peter out in time. However, it might still come to a point when you have to seek medical attention. Here are some situations when seeing the doctor is vital to improve one’s condition:
- Recurring low blood pressure symptoms
- Severe manifestation of some symptoms
- Increase in frequency of symptoms
- Symptoms are induced by certain medication
- If symptoms prevent a person to live a normal, comfortable life
If any of these apply to you, it would be best to consult a doctor. By doing so, appropriate medical intervention can be attained.
Low blood pressure symptoms might not necessarily indicate serious underlying conditions but if left unattended, these could potentially develop to something worse.
To prevent symptoms, you can change your lifestyle and live a healthier life. However, if this is not enough to curb low blood pressure symptoms, certain underlying conditions might be the cause of low blood pressure symptoms.
When this happens, a proper medical intervention which would require a mix of medication, dietary changes, and further tests might be needed to achieve optimal health.