Hypotension is the medical term for low blood pressure. Compared to hypertension, or high blood pressure, hypotension is not inherently dangerous or a major cause for concern. However, in certain instances, hypotension may cause dizziness or fainting. It may also be a sign of an underlying problem and can lead to heart disorders or organ failure. Pregnancy and dehydration can cause hypotension, and it can also be a symptom of a serious disease. Thus, if you begin experiencing consistent hypotension, consult your doctor to determine the cause and explore treatment options.
Many people who experience low blood pressure exhibit no symptoms at all. In such cases, treatment is typically not necessary. It is not until symptoms begin to present themselves that hypotension may be a cause for concern. Symptoms include dizziness, fainting, blurred vision, nausea, fatigue, and lack of concentration. Clammy skin, depression, heart palpitations, thirst, and shallow breathing may also indicate low blood pressure.
Blood pressure is determined by measuring two separate components. Systolic pressure measures blood pressure when the heart contracts. Diastolic pressure refers to the blood pressure between heartbeats when the heart is resting and dilating. Two numbers represent blood pressure: systolic and diastolic. Blood pressure is measured in millimeters of mercury or mmHg. An adult with a blood pressure reading of 90/60 mmHG or lower is said to be experiencing hypotension.
Hypotension is an umbrella term that may be broken up into different categories depending on the cause and other factors. Orthostatic hypotension refers to low blood pressure upon standing. This is a common and relatively harmless type of hypotension that occurs because of the blood accumulating in one's legs when sitting down. Neurally mediated hypotension causes the blood pressure to drop after standing for too long. Postprandial hypotension refers to low blood pressure after eating.
One of the most dangerous results of hypotension is shock. Signs of shock include confusion, cold and clammy skin, shallow breathing, and a rapid pulse rate. Severe burns or internal bleeding may result in shock and hypotension. Anaphylactic shock is a severe allergic reaction to certain foods or other substances and results in low blood pressure. Septic shock can be the result of a bacterial infection in the body in addition to hypotension.
Preeclampsia is a common pregnancy complication that results in abnormally high blood pressure. However, pregnant women may also experience chronic low blood pressure. Typical hypotension in pregnant women does not cause the same symptoms of severe hypotension due to shock. Low blood pressure during pregnancy occurs because of increased blood circulation and hormonal shifts. Blood pressure is usually lowest during the second trimester. Dizziness often occurs due to hypotension during pregnancy, but if more serious symptoms occur, consult your doctor.
Some heart conditions lead to low blood pressure because the heart is unable to pump enough blood to keep the pressure up. Bradycardia is when the body experiences an abnormally slow heart rate and has different causes including heart tissue damage, chemical imbalance in the blood, heart disease, or birth defect. Bradycardia often occurs alongside hypotension. Other heart conditions that may lead to low blood pressure include heart valve problems, heart attack, and heart failure.
Severe infection in the bloodstream is referred to as septicemia. Septicemia occurs when an infection in another part of the body, such as the lungs, spreads to the blood. Urinary tract infections, lung infections, and kidney infections may all lead to septicemia, which is particularly dangerous because the blood can carry the infection throughout the body. A major drop in blood pressure is one complication of septicemia.
Diet can be a cause of hypotension. B12 and folate deficiencies can lead to anemia, which is characterized by a lack of sufficient red blood cells. Anemia correlates with low blood pressure. Second, people with anorexia or other eating disorders frequently exhibit hypotension. These instances of low blood pressure may result in complications and should be addressed by a doctor. A less severe form of hypotension occurs after eating. After a meal, the intestines require a larger blood supply to aid digestion. This may result in low blood pressure. Lying down after a meal and reducing the consumption of carbohydrates may help combat this form of hypotension.
Anyone can experience hypotension, but there are several factors that may exacerbate the condition. Hypotension occurs predominantly in adults over the age of 65. People who take certain medications have a higher risk of hypotension. Parkinson's disease, diabetes, and certain heart conditions are frequently associated with low blood pressure.
Some effective methods for preventing hypotension include sanding up or sitting down slowly to avoid dizziness. Eating smaller meals more frequently throughout the day may combat diet-related hypotension. As dehydration can lead to hypotension, drinking a lot of water throughout the day can help. Finally, avoid caffeine and alcohol at the end of the day.
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