What Do You Do If Your Blood Pressure Is Low – Low blood pressure, also known as hypotension, is a blood pressure below 90/60 mmHg. Many people have no symptoms. If it does cause symptoms, they are usually mild, such as dizziness and restlessness. In some cases, hypotension is dangerous, so early diagnosis and treatment are important.
Hypotension, or low blood pressure, is when your blood pressure is much lower than expected. It can occur either as a condition alone or as a symptom of a wide range of conditions. It may not cause any symptoms, but if it does, it needs medical attention.
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Normally, your body can automatically control your blood pressure and prevent it from falling too low. When it starts to decrease, your body tries to compensate, either by speeding up your heart rate or by constricting the blood vessels to make them narrower. Hypotension symptoms occur when your body cannot lower your blood pressure.
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For many people, hypotension causes no symptoms. Many people don’t even know they have low blood pressure until they have their blood pressure measured.
For people with symptoms, the effects depend on why the hypotension occurs, how quickly it develops and what causes it. A slow decrease in blood pressure is common, so hypotension becomes more common as people age. A rapid drop in blood pressure can mean that parts of your body are not getting enough blood flow. This can have effects that are unpleasant, disturbing or even dangerous.
Hypotension can affect people of all ages and backgrounds, depending on why it occurs. However, it is more likely that people over 50 will develop symptoms (especially orthostatic hypotension). It can also occur (without symptoms) in people who are very physically active, which is more common in young people.
Because low blood pressure is common without symptoms, it is impossible to know how many people it affects. However, orthostatic hypotension seems to be more and more common as you age. An estimated 5 percent of people have it by the age of 50, while the number increases to over 30 percent in people over 70.
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The most common low blood pressure symptoms occur because your brain is not getting enough blood flow. These include:
No, hypotension is not contagious, so you cannot get it from someone else or pass it on to others.
Hypotension is easy to diagnose yourself. Taking your blood pressure is all you need to do. However, figuring out why you have hypotension is another story. If you have symptoms, a health care provider will likely use various tests to find out why it’s happening and if it’s at risk for you.
If doctors suspect that a heart or lung problem is behind your hypotension, they will likely use blood pressure tests to confirm or rule out that suspicion. These tests include:
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Treating low blood pressure usually starts with finding out why it occurs. If the cause is immediately treatable, the hypotension will usually improve on its own. An example of this is hypotension caused by injury and blood loss. Repairing the injury and replacing the lost blood (such as with a blood transfusion) stops the hypotension until the injury is repaired.
If you are taking medications that affect your blood pressure, your healthcare provider may change your dose or have you stop taking the medication altogether.
If the cause remains a burden, it is also possible to treat it immediately. However, treatment of hypotension is only possible if there is an underlying cause that is treatable.
The most important thing for a provider treating low blood pressure is to find and correct the underlying cause. Treatment can range from simple IV fluids to antibiotics to surgery or a heart transplant. Some people with low blood pressure need to stay in the hospital.
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Treatment complications depend on the exact drug or treatment you receive. Your healthcare provider can explain possible complications or side effects. This is because they take into account your specific circumstances, including other health conditions, medications you are taking and more.
Depending on the cause of your hypotension, you may feel better after receiving treatment. In some cases, it may take longer—days or even weeks—for medications or other treatments to help you feel consistently better.
It is usually not possible to reduce your risk or prevent hypotension. The only exception is avoiding conditions or practices that can cause it, such as recreational drugs or supplements/herbal treatments that can lower your blood pressure.
If you have hypotension, what you can expect depends on what’s causing it and if you have symptoms. If you have no symptoms, it is unlikely that hypotension is a problem for you.
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If you have symptoms, hypotension can affect your ability to take care of yourself, eat, drive, and do many other activities. This is why understanding the condition and following the instructions of your healthcare provider is so important to minimize the impact of this condition on your life.
How long this condition lasts depends on the cause. If you have normal age-related hypotension, it can be a lifelong concern.
If you have low blood pressure but no symptoms, the condition is usually not harmful and should not affect your life.
If you have symptoms, the underlying cause is usually one that is overlooked for this condition. Your healthcare provider is the best person to tell you what to expect from this condition and what you can do to manage these effects.
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If you have hypotension with symptoms, the best thing you can do is follow the instructions of your healthcare provider about managing the condition. Their recommendations may include the following:
If you know you have hypotension, you should see your healthcare provider if you start experiencing symptoms that affect your life or interfere with your normal routine and activities.
If you do not know if you have hypotension, you should see a healthcare provider if you have frequent dizziness or lightheaded episodes. This is especially important because these symptoms are possible with many other health conditions, some of which are dangerous.
Hypotension is a condition that may cause no symptoms, and many people do not know they have it. For others, it can cause symptoms that are unpleasant and even disruptive to your daily life and activities. If you suspect you have low blood pressure, it is important to get diagnosed and treated. Correct diagnosis and treatment can help you avoid falls and other complications. Fortunately, this condition is often treatable, and there are many things your healthcare provider can explain to you that will help you take care of yourself.
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The Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site supports our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Politics Hypertension, the medical term for high blood pressure, is known as the “silent killer”. More than 80 million Americans (33%) have high blood pressure, and more than 16 million of them know they have the condition. If left untreated, high blood pressure increases your risk of heart attack and stroke. Hypertension is expected to increase by approximately 8 percent between 2013 and 2030.
Your heart pumps blood through a network of arteries, veins and capillaries. Moving blood pushes against the walls of the arteries, and this force is measured as blood pressure.
High blood pressure is the result of a narrowing of the very small arteries, called arterioles. Arterioles regulate blood flow throughout your body. As these arteries harden (or narrow), your heart has to work harder to pump blood through a smaller space, and blood pressure rises.
90% to 95% of cases of high blood pressure are called primary or essential hypertension. This means that the exact cause of high blood pressure is not known, but many factors play a role. You are at higher risk if you –
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The researchers also found a gene that appears to be linked to high blood pressure. If you have the gene, you are more likely to develop high blood pressure, so you should monitor your blood pressure and eliminate other risk factors as much as possible.
The rest of the patients with high blood pressure are called secondary hypertension, which means that the high blood pressure is the result of another condition or disease. Many cases of secondary hypertension are caused by kidney disease. Other conditions that can cause secondary hypertension
Most people with high blood pressure have no symptoms. In some cases, people with high blood pressure may experience a pounding sensation in the head or chest, headache or dizziness, or other symptoms. Without symptoms, people with high blood pressure can go years without knowing they have the condition.
A visit to your doctor is the only way to know if you have high blood pressure. You should have a general medical examination that includes a review of your family medical history. Your doctor will take some blood pressure readings with a device called a sphygmomanometer and perform some routine tests.
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Your doctor may use an instrument called an ophthalmoscope to look at the blood vessels in your eye. The doctors can see that they are vessels
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