We always hear that low blood pressure is good for you. In most cases, this is true. You generally want to maintain a blood pressure equal to or lower than 120/80 mmHg, though this can vary slightly. If your blood pressure drops below 90/60, you may be at risk. There is a wide range of reasons why your blood pressure may have dropped. If you ever feel fatigued, dizzy, or other symptoms, one of these causes may be low blood pressure.
Heart conditions like a low heart rate, heart failure, heart valve issues, or heart attacks can cause a sudden drop in blood pressure. These conditions limit your heart's effectiveness, leaving it unable to circulate blood properly. You can't meet your body's needs if your heart doesn't correctly circulate blood. Heart arrhythmia is another potential cause of low blood pressure. Heart arrhythmias are abnormal heart rhythms that can limit your heart's function, so your body cannot get proper blood flow or the oxygen it needs.
Dehydration can have a significant impact on blood pressure -- too little water can impact organ function and blood flow. Most people associate dehydration with spending too much time in the sun or doing a lot of strenuous exercises. However, a fever, vomiting, or diarrhea can also lead to dehydration. If you notice that you're getting dizzy and fatigued and you have not been drinking water, drink fluids and rehydrate quickly.
While most common infections will not significantly impact blood pressure, some can cause life-threatening drops. Septicemia, for instance, is when an infection enters your bloodstream and causes so much inflammation that your blood vessels dilate. If that happens, you can experience septic shock, which is when your blood pressure drops dangerously and quickly. If you have an infection that is not getting better or you feel severely ill, see your physician immediately.
Allergic reactions are relatively common, and not all are severe enough to impact blood pressure. But anaphylaxis can cause a dangerous drop in blood pressure and other negative symptoms.Everyday items in the environment can cause severe allergic reactions, including certain foods, latex, or even bug bites. If you feel your throat closing, have difficulty breathing, or feel dizzy, use an epinephrine injector if you have one, and seek immediate medical attention. Anaphylaxis can be deadly.
Eating an unhealthy diet is often associated with high blood pressure, but did you know it can cause low blood pressure too? In extreme cases, when you do not eat foods rich in proteins and essential vitamins, such as vitamin B12 and folate, your blood pressure may drop. This occurs because the amino acids from proteins, along with vitamins, help your body produce red blood cells. Without enough red blood cells, you become anemic, and the heart cannot maintain proper pressure in your veins.
You may experience a significant drop in blood pressure during your first few months of pregnancy. This reaction is normal; your circulatory system is expanding rapidly to provide nutrients to your baby and keep you both healthy. However, a drop in blood pressure could be a sign that you are bleeding due to detachment of the placenta from the wall of the uterus. While most mothers-to-be have no problems and see their blood pressure return to normal after giving birth, any symptoms such as dizziness, fatigue, fainting spells, or weakness should be promptly shared with a doctor. Your blood pressure may have dropped more than expected.
Your endocrine system deals with hormone-producing glands like your thyroid. Issues with these glands, an underactive thyroid or low blood sugar, for instance, can affect blood pressure. In some cases, diabetes can also cause drops in blood pressure. While these drops may not always be dangerous, it is essential to monitor symptoms and talk to a medical provider about any abnormalities.
An adverse reaction to prescribed or over-the-counter medicine can drop blood pressure unexpectedly. Diuretics and other drugs designed to treat hypertension, some anti-depressants, and medication to help with erectile dysfunction can lower blood pressure to unsafe levels. You can also experience a drop in blood pressure if you combine high blood pressure medications with others.
Age can impact your blood pressure, especially for those who had high blood pressure in the past. A person may develop postural hypotension, which occurs when blood pressure drops if you stand too quickly from a sitting position or from lying down. Diseases associated with age, like liver disease, Alzheimer's, and Parkinson's, can also cause blood pressure to fall by affecting the nerves that assist in its regulation.
Heat exhaustion occurs when a person is out in the sun or in high temperatures for too long. It usually goes hand-in-hand with dehydration and has many of the same symptoms. If left untreated, heat exhaustion can progress to heat stroke, which can cause damage to the vital organs. Like dehydration, you may feel dizzy, disoriented, or faint; this is because the body cannot efficiently send blood to your organs.
This site offers information designed for educational purposes only. You should not rely on any information on this site as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or as a substitute for, professional counseling care, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other healthcare professional.