Many individuals may suffer from a sudden drop in blood pressure (Hypotension), as this health condition may include many different symptoms and causes as well. What are the symptoms and causes of hypotension? How do we treat it?
Low blood pressure might seem desirable, and for some people, it causes no problems. However, for many people, abnormally low blood pressure (hypotension) can cause dizziness and fainting. In severe cases, low blood pressure can be life-threatening.
A blood pressure reading lower than 90 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) for the top number (systolic) or 60 mm Hg for the bottom number (diastolic) is generally considered low blood pressure.
For some people, low blood pressure signals an underlying problem, especially when it drops suddenly or is accompanied by signs and symptoms such as:
▪️ Dizziness or lightheadedness.
▪️ Blurred or fading vision.
▪️ Lack of concentration.
Extreme hypotension can result in this life-threatening condition.Signs and symptoms include:
▪️ Confusion, especially in older people.
▪️ Cold, clammy, pale skin.
▪️ Rapid, shallow breathing.
▪️ Weak and rapid pulse.
Blood pressure is a measurement of the pressure in your arteries during the active and resting phases of each heartbeat.
▪️ Systolic pressure. The top number in a blood pressure reading is the amount of pressure your heart produces when pumping blood through your arteries to the rest of your body.
▪️ Diastolic pressure. The bottom number in a blood pressure reading refers to the amount of pressure in your arteries when your heart is at rest between beats.
Current guidelines identify normal blood pressure as lower than 120/80 mm Hg.
Blood pressure varies throughout the day, depending on:
1. Body position.
2. Breathing rhythm.
3. Stress level.
4. Physical condition.
5. Medications you take.
6. What you eat and drink.
7. Time of day.
Blood pressure is usually lowest at night and rises sharply on waking.
Conditions that can cause low blood pressure. Medical conditions that can cause low blood pressure include:
▪️ Pregnancy. Because the circulatory system expands rapidly during pregnancy, blood pressure is likely to drop. This is normal, and blood pressure usually returns to your pre-pregnancy level after you’ve given birth.
▪️ Heart problems. Some heart conditions that can lead to low blood pressure include extremely low heart rate (bradycardia), heart valve problems, heart attack and heart failure.
▪️ Endocrine problems. Parathyroid disease, adrenal insufficiency (Addison’s disease), low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) and, in some cases, diabetes can trigger low blood pressure.
▪️ Dehydration. When your body loses more water than it takes in, it can cause weakness, dizziness and fatigue. Fever, vomiting, severe diarrhea, overuse of diuretics and strenuous exercise can lead to dehydration.
▪️ Blood loss. Losing a lot of blood, such as from a major injury or internal bleeding, reduces the amount of blood in your body, leading to a severe drop in blood pressure.
▪️ Severe infection (septicemia). When an infection in the body enters the bloodstream, it can lead to a life-threatening drop in blood pressure called septic shock.
▪️ Severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis). Common triggers of this severe and potentially life-threatening reaction include foods, certain medications, insect venoms and latex. Anaphylaxis can cause breathing problems, hives, itching, a swollen throat and a dangerous drop in blood pressure.
▪️ Lack of nutrients in your diet. A lack of the vitamin B-12, folate and iron can keep your body from producing enough red blood cells (anemia), causing low blood pressure.
There are some medications that may cause low blood pressure in some cases, including the following:
▪️ Diuretic pills.
▪️ Alpha blockers.
▪️ Beta blockers.
▪️ Parkinson’s disease medications, such as pramipexole.
▪️ Some antidepressants are tricyclic antidepressants.
Types of low blood pressure.
Doctors often break down low blood pressure (hypotension) into categories, depending on the causes and other factors. Some types of low blood pressure include:
▪️ Low blood pressure on standing up (orthostatic or postural) hypotension). This is a sudden drop in blood pressure when you stand up from a sitting position or after lying down.
Gravity causes blood to pool in your legs when you stand. Ordinarily, your body compensates by increasing your heart rate and constricting blood vessels, thereby ensuring that enough blood returns to your brain.
But in people with orthostatic hypotension, this compensating mechanism fails and blood pressure falls, leading to dizziness, lightheadedness, blurred vision and even fainting.
▪️Low blood pressure after eating (postprandial hypotension). This drop in blood pressure occurs one to two hours after eating and affects mostly older adults.
Blood flows to your digestive tract after you eat. Ordinarily, your body increases your heart rate and constricts certain blood vessels to help maintain normal blood pressure. But in some people these mechanisms fail, leading to dizziness, faintness and falls.
▪️ Low blood pressure from faulty brain signals (neurally mediated hypotension). This disorder, which causes a blood pressure drop after standing for long periods, mostly affects young adults and children. It seems to occur because of a miscommunication between the heart and the brain.
▪️ Low blood pressure due to nervous system damage (multiple system atrophy with orthostatic hypotension). Also called Shy-Drager syndrome, this rare disorder has many Parkinson disease-like symptoms. It causes progressive damage to the autonomic nervous system, which controls involuntary functions such as blood pressure, heart rate, breathing and digestion. It’s associated with having very high blood pressure while lying down.
Low blood pressure treatment.
Situations that require a doctor’s visit. Before we resort to looking for a treatment for low blood pressure, we must first assess whether the situation calls for resorting to a doctor or not. Low blood pressure calls for a doctor in the following cases:
1. When symptoms of hypotension appear repeatedly on the injured.
2. When the symptoms of hypotension described above are accompanied by other serious symptoms such as: bleeding, headache and chest pain.
3. If the person’s medical history includes kidney problems and a heart attack.
4. If the patient is a person with diabetes or a pregnant woman.
Procedures and changes that contribute to the treatment of hypotension.
Treatment methods for hypotension vary from person to person depending on the causes, and it can generally be treated and controlled by making simple changes in daily lifestyle, such as:
▪️ Increase the amount of salt in food within reasonable limits, making sure that your daily intake of sodium does not exceed 2000 mg.
▪️ Under normal circumstances, fluids must be drunk in appropriate quantities to compensate for what the body loses in cases such as; Hot weather, colds and flu.
▪️ Reconsider the medications that the person takes without a prescription, and consult a doctor to search for the possibility of one of them causing a decrease in his pressure.
▪️ Exercising regularly to enhance and strengthen the blood pumping in the body, while avoiding weight lifting exercises.
▪️ Avoid making a quick and sudden change in body position, such as; Stand up suddenly after sitting or lying down, so as not to develop orthostatic hypotension.
▪️ Moving the feet and hands simple movements or sitting for a few minutes before standing if he is in a lying position.
▪️ Avoid prolonged exposure to hot water when showering or sitting in hot pools, and it is preferable to keep a chair in the bathroom as a precaution.
▪️ It is preferable to eat many small meals instead of large and few meals to avoid getting dizzy after eating.
▪️ Take a rest after the meal, while avoiding taking antihypertensive drugs immediately before the meal, and reducing the consumption of carbohydrates.
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