In case of low blood pressure, the average upper (systolic) and lower (diastolic) pressure are below specific values. This causes symptoms, such as dizziness, fatigue and fainting. The blood flow, and hence the supply of oxygen and nutrients in the body, becomes less efficient. Low blood pressure is not formally regarded as a disease, as opposed to high blood pressure.
There are several possible causes that can lead to low blood pressure:
- Genetic predisposition to lower blood pressure.
- During pregnancy.
- In case of cardiovascular diseases.
- Open wounds.
- Stressful situations.
- Digestive problems, especially in the stomach and intestines.
- Certain medications may reduce blood pressure.
People with low blood pressure have to deal with a wide range of symptoms. The most common signs and symptoms are:
- Dizziness, especially when getting up suddenly.
- Being (and remaining) tired.
- Weak pulse.
- The pupils are dilated.
- Cold sweats, in case of a sudden low blood pressure.
Not all symptoms occur in all cases. There are also patients who experience no symptoms, but who are nevertheless diagnosed for low blood pressure during an examination.
Low blood pressure can easily be determined with a blood pressure meter (sphygmomanometer). The condition is often found by chance when blood pressure is measured for another reason, for example in an assessment. This will have no consequences then. Sometimes, blood pressure is measured when there are symptoms of dizziness and fainting.
If low blood pressure causes no problems, it doesn’t need to be treated. In case of dehydration, it’s important to drink sufficiently and to use salt, for example in the form of ORS. This is a liquid that contains salt and sugar. The use of medications should possibly be adjusted. In case of dizziness and fainting, ensure an adequate flow of blood to the brains. This can be done by lying down with the legs raised. Or by sitting and squeezing the head between the knees. This way, one recovers quickly.
When a change of lifestyle doesn’t help, a doctor may also choose to prescribe medications in order to regain a healthy blood pressure.
Low blood pressure due to a shock is a medical emergency situation. Then, emergency admission is required for treatment in a hospital.
The prognosis for people with low blood pressure is depending on the underlying cause of the condition. Chronic low blood pressure is usually not serious. However, if low blood pressure is caused by serious underlying diseases, such as multiple system atrophy or particular types of cancer, the prognosis is often less optimistic. Low blood pressure that occurs during a shock is life-threatening.
- Black and green tea are known for their blood pressure increasing properties.
- Rosemary wine is an old-fashioned remedy to increase blood pressure rapidly with the meal.
- When a person feels weak or dizzy, it’s advisable to drink a cup of soup or broth.
- Ensure a regular and healthy diet: breakfast in the morning, lunch in the afternoon and dinner in the evening with at least 200 grams of vegetables.
- Liquorice also helps to increase blood pressure, due to the substance glycerin.
- Drinking coffee or alcohol (especially sparkling wine) is not recommended, because these only increase blood pressure for some time. Besides, both caffeine and alcohol have more disadvantages for health than benefits.
- Especially taller people (longer than 1.80 meters) can suffer from low blood pressure, because the blood circulation has to travel a longer distance in their body.
- To assist blood circulation in case of low blood pressure, it’s advisable to slightly raise the head end of the bed. This way, one will suffer less from getting the bell rung or lightheadedness.
- A hot bath (not too hot) with 1 liter of fruit vinegar and a tablespoon of thistle oil added, is good for blood circulation and will slightly increase blood pressure.
- An alternating shower with a hard jet in the morning also stimulates blood circulation and blood pressure.
- Exercise or outdoor sports helps well for low blood pressure.
- A brush massage is very beneficial for the circulation and problems with blood pressure.
- The term ‘hypotension’ is derived from the Greek prefix hupo- (under, below) and the Latin word tensio (stretching, muscle contraction, tightening).
- The prevalence of low blood pressure is approximately 8% in middle age and 30% in people older than 65 years.
High Blood Pressure
Blood Pressure Measurement