Even though the risk of high blood pressure is widely discussed, it is not common to hear about issues that are caused by low blood pressure. In some individuals, they live with a blood pressure that is lower than normal and do not have any adverse symptoms. Any cases of abrupt changes in the blood pressure can send the level to a dangerous drop and cause notable and oftentimes life-threatening issues that require immediate emergency care.
What is blood pressure?
The blood pressure is basically the force of the blood against the walls of the vessels as it circulates all over the body. When taking the blood pressure, it is expressed in two numbers. The upper number or systolic pressure is the force of blood as the heart pumps. As for the lower number or diastolic pressure, it measures the force of blood between the beats. The optimal blood pressure is 120/80 mmHg but can range from 90/60 – 130/80 mmHg and still be considered as normal.
If the blood pressure reading stays between 120/80 – 140/90 mmHg, it can indicate prehypertension and would require monitoring. As for readings higher than 140/90, it can indicate high blood pressure while a reading below 90/60 indicates low blood pressure. The blood pressure that stays either extreme can indicate additional health issues and some can serious.
What are the issues linked with hypotension?
Even though the symptoms of low blood pressure are often mild, serious episodes can cause various problems that require immediate medical care. If there is a drop in the blood pressure, it can cause weakness, dizziness, confusion, sleepiness, lightheadedness, nausea or vomiting and even fainting. The risk is increased of sustaining injuries from a fall.
An abrupt drop in the blood pressure can also diminish the level of oxygen that can threaten the health of the vital organs such as the heart and the brain, requiring immediate medical attention. In some individuals with kidney failure and other chronic kidney conditions, a low systolic or diastolic has been linked with increased risk of death.
What are the types of low blood pressure?
Once the blood pressure drops considerably due to infection, allergic reaction, trauma or blood loss, it can result to severe hypotension. If the low blood pressure is triggered by quickly switching to standing position, it is called as orthostatic hypotension. In most cases, this type is only momentary and lasts for a few seconds.
In some individuals, they experience post-prandial orthostatic hypotension which occurs when the individual stands up right after a meal. As for neurally-mediated hypotension, it occurs in both children and adults and oftentimes experienced after long episodes of standing.
Oftentimes, low blood pressure can be induced by drugs. Among individuals with sepsis which is a type of severe infection, there is concern that the antibiotic treatment contributes to low blood pressure but further investigation is required as additional proof. Individuals who are taking calcium channel blockers along with certain antibiotics can suffer problems with hypotension.
Prevention and treatment
When it comes to orthostatic hypotension not connected to any underlying disease, the treatment and prevention usually includes hydration and rising slowly as well as keeping the legs uncrossed. For post-prandial cases, the individual must eat small meals that are low in carbohydrates. Additionally, the individual should limit the time spent in standing position especially among those who suffer from neurally-mediated hypotension.