Hypotension: What Blood Pressure Is Too Low?

A doctor checking blood pressure of a patient

Low blood pressure is generally desirable within a certain limit. For some people, low blood pressure may not be a cause of concern. However, in some instances, abnormally low blood pressure can cause certain symptoms. This is known as hypotension and can be life-threatening in certain conditions. This makes it important to learn about hypotension and take essential measures when your blood pressure is too low. So, what blood pressure is too low? Let’s find out!

What Blood Pressure is Too Low?

Are you wondering what blood pressure is too low? Well, there is no straightforward answer. Most healthcare providers agree that there’s no specific range for low blood pressure. This is because the ideal blood pressure depends on a number of factors including your age, gender, weight, fitness level, and many other factors.

In other words, blood pressure that is low for you may be completely normal for another person. Consequently, most people consider blood pressure to be too low only when it causes symptoms. On the other hand, some experts define a range for low blood pressure. A blood pressure reading of 90/60 mm Hg is generally considered to be low for adults.

In order to comprehend the range defined for low blood pressure, let’s take a look at blood pressure readings. Blood pressure is measured with two values – systolic and diastolic.

  • Systolic Pressure: Systolic is the top number. It indicates the amount of pressure in the arteries as the heart muscle contracts.
  • Diastolic Pressure: Diastolic is the lower number. It indicates the pressure when the heart muscle is relaxed, i.e., between the heartbeats.

Both these numbers indicate important information about your health. Numbers greater than the normal range indicate that the heart is overworking to supply blood to the body. But what do numbers lower than the normal range indicate?

What Does It Mean to Have Low Blood Pressure?

Now that you know what blood pressure is too low, let’s take a look at what does it mean for you and how does it affect your body. Well, having low blood pressure means that the pressure of blood flow in the body is below the desired levels. This results in inadequate blood flow to the organs, resulting in various symptoms.

The lack of blood reaching the organs can cause serious damage and result in strokes, kidney failure, heart attacks, and other serious conditions. This makes it important to know how to check blood pressure so that you can monitor your blood pressure easily.

Symptoms of Low Blood Pressure

The symptoms of low blood pressure can range from very mild to severe. You have nothing to worry about as long as there are no symptoms. However, if the symptoms of low blood pressure appear, it is advisable to take quick action to increase the blood flow in the body.

In some cases, low blood pressure can be life-threatening. This makes it essential to know the signs and symptoms of low blood pressure and take appropriate measures if they appear. Here is a list of some of the most common symptoms of low blood pressure.

  • Dizziness and lightheadedness
  • Nausea
  • Blurred vision
  • Confusion or lack of concentration
  • Cold and clammy skin
  • Pale skin
  • Shallow breathing
  • Increased anxiety
  • Excessive fatigue
  • Fainting

You can identify what blood pressure is too low based on the signs and symptoms that you experience. Some symptoms, like dizziness, lightheadedness, or fainting are more prominent in standing or sitting positions. If you or someone you know experiences any of these symptoms, accompanied by low blood pressure, it is advisable to consult a doctor to find the underlying cause of hypotension.

What Causes Low Blood Pressure?

Blood pressure may drop down below the ideal range for a number of reasons. Let’s take a look at some of the common causes of low blood pressure.

·        Certain Medications

Certain medications can lead to low blood pressure as a side effect. Some drugs that may cause the blood pressure to drop include diuretics, drugs for Parkinson’s disease, heart medication, and antidepressants.

Some over-the-counter medications may also lead to low blood pressure, especially if they are taken with medication for hypertension. So, before you take any medicine, make sure you take the time to learn more about it and always follow the doctor’s or manufacturer’s instructions when it comes to dosage.

·        Inadequate Blood Volume

Oftentimes, a decrease in the blood volume is the reason behind low blood pressure. From dehydration to a significant loss of blood, the blood volume in the body may decrease for many reasons. In this case, your healthcare provider will be able to help you identify the underlying cause for inadequate blood volume, and hence the lowered blood pressure.   

·        Heart Problems    

The answer to the question, “What blood pressure is too low?” depends on a number of factors including your heart health. Certain cardiovascular problems can lead to low blood pressure. Here’s a list of some of them.

  • Bradycardia – abnormally low heart rate
  • Problems with heart valves
  • Plaque buildup in arteries
  • Heart failure

In short, any heart condition that keeps the heart from circulating adequate blood through the body can result in low blood pressure and have serious repercussions. Therefore, it is advisable to monitor your blood pressure regularly if you struggle with cardiovascular problems of any type.

·        Nutritional Deficiencies

Low blood pressure can also be caused by nutritional deficiencies in the body. Typically, folic acid deficiency in the body can contribute to lowered blood pressure. Lack of vitamin B-12 may be another reason. Deficiency of these essential nutrients can cause anemia, which, in turn, can lead to low blood pressure. A simple way to keep this from happening is to monitor your diet. Make sure you consume a well balanced, healthy diet to avoid low blood pressure.  

·        Allergic Reactions

Sometimes, allergic reactions can cause a dramatic fall in blood pressure. Also known as anaphylactic shock, allergic reactions can be life-threatening. It typically occurs in people who are severely allergic to certain medicines or foods like peanuts. However, low blood pressure caused by an allergic reaction is generally accompanied by other symptoms like difficulty in breathing, swollen throat, etc.  

·        Neurally Mediated Hypotension

Neurally mediated hypotension is a disorder that can lead to miscommunication between the heart and brain under certain conditions. In people with neurally mediated hypotension, blood pressure may drop dramatically if they remain standing for long periods. Symptoms like dizziness, nausea, and fainting are common in such cases. 

How to Elevate Low Blood Pressure

Now you know the answer to the question “what blood pressure is too low?” The only remaining question is, what can you do to elevate low blood pressure quickly? It is important to understand that in some cases, the treatment depends on the cause of low blood pressure.

For example, if low blood pressure is caused due to a medicine, you can treat it easily by stopping the medication. However, if the cause is not known or the blood pressure is dangerously low, you must take appropriate measures to increase blood pressure and alleviate associated symptoms. Here are a few remedies to elevate blood pressure that you can try at home.

·        Sodium Consumption

Doctors often recommend limiting the use of sodium to avoid hypertension. This is because sodium contributes to high blood pressure. For the same reason, many people use it to treat low blood pressure.  However, keep in mind that sodium can lead to certain heart problems, especially in older adults or people who may already be struggling with cardiovascular disease. Therefore, it is advisable to consult your doctor before increasing your sodium intake.  

·        Stay Hydrated

Dehydration can lead to inadequate blood volume in the body, which, in turn, can cause your blood pressure to drop. This is why it is essential to know how much to drink every day. Drink plenty of water every day to stay hydrated and healthy.

·        Try Compression Stockings

Another remedy is to wear compressing stockings. This kind of stockings is generally worn to alleviate pain and swelling caused by varicose veins. However, it can also help elevate blood pressure.  

·        Mind Your Body Position

Something as small as sitting in the right position can affect your blood pressure. When you are trying to increase your blood pressure, it is best to avoid sitting cross-legged. Instead, gently try to move from a leveled or squatting position to a standing position.

In case you experience symptoms while standing, cross your legs and squeeze them together tightly. You can also place one foot on the ledge of a chair and lean forward as much as you can. All these positions encourage the flow of blood from the legs to the heart, resulting in elevated blood pressure.   

·        Lifestyle Changes

Certain lifestyle changes can help you keep your blood pressure in check. Make sure you consume a well balanced and healthy diet. Drink plenty of water throughout the day. Follow a healthy sleep schedule. Also, don’t forget to exercise regularly. Make these lifestyle changes to live a healthy life.

The Bottom Line

Are you still wondering what blood pressure is too low? Well, there is no specific range that can help you determine when the blood pressure is too low. A better way to determine what blood pressure is too low for you is to keep an eye out for symptoms. If any of the above-mentioned symptoms appear, it is advisable to consult a doctor to find the underlying cause of low pressure, especially if the symptoms persist for a long time. 

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