Is Your Blood Pressure Too Low?

August 11, 2022 9:10 am Published by

blood pressure meter

We hear a lot about the dangers of high blood pressure, but is it also possible to have blood pressure too low? In general, low blood pressure is better than high blood pressure, but there are a few exceptions.

What to Know About Low Blood Pressure

A normal blood pressure reading is less than 120 (systolic pressure) over 80 (diastolic pressure). Very low blood pressure, or hypotension, isn’t diagnosed unless your blood pressure is 90/60 or lower. And even if your blood pressure drops to that level, it may not be considered a health issue until it causes noticeable symptoms.

The Symptoms of Low Blood Pressure

In most cases, blood pressure that dips a little low isn’t considered a danger. To determine whether consistently low blood pressure is a health issue, your provider will look at whether you’re also experiencing symptoms of decreased blood volume, such as:

  • Blurry vision
  • Cold or clammy skin
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting
  • Fatigue
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Nausea
  • Rapid or shallow breathing
  • Unusual thirst

In some cases, someone who is dehydrated will experience low blood pressure as a result, and dehydration can also be a sign of hypotension.

Understanding What Causes Low Blood Pressure

There are two types of low blood pressure—absolute hypotension and orthostatic hypotension.

Absolute hypotension is diagnosed when your resting blood pressure is below 90/60.

Orthostatic hypotension, also called postural hypotension, is diagnosed when a person experiences a sudden drop in blood pressure that occurs within a three-minute timespan after moving from sitting to standing.

These two types of hypotension happen for different reasons and often in different groups of people. Orthostatic hypotension often occurs in older adults and may be associated with conditions like Parkinson’s disease.

Absolute hypotension can occur in anyone at any age, and it may be caused by use of alcohol or certain medications, diabetes-related nerve damage, arrhythmias, dehydration or heart failure.

Severely low blood pressure, which may require medical intervention but is usually not life-threatening, often occurs after a trauma of some sort, such as a sudden loss of blood, an infection, a heart attack or allergic reactions causing anaphylaxis, which is a severe allergic reaction.

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms outlined above, stop and check your blood pressure. If it’s very low, it’s a good idea to seek medical attention. Your medical provider or a cardiologist will be able to advise whether treatment is necessary.

If treatment is recommended, it may include taking medications to increase blood pressure, adjusting doses of other medications, drinking more fluids or making lifestyle changes, such as altering your diet.

Find a primary care provider who can help you keep your blood pressure at a healthy level.  

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This post was written by Magnolia Regional Health Center

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