While most people are familiar with hypertension, they may fail to recognize that hypotension can be just as serious a condition. Fortunately, low blood pressure is treatable and can be easily recognized by key signs and symptoms.
Low blood pressure, also known as hypotension, occurs when blood pressure drops below a normal range. Though it varies from person to person, a reading of 90 mm Hg or less systolic blood pressure (the top number in a blood pressure reading) or 60 mm Hg or less diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number in a blood pressure reading) is generally considered to be hypotension. Low blood pressure is often an indicator of an underlying problem and is especially dangerous when the blood pressure drops suddenly.
There are four main types of hypotension:
Those these categories may be used to help define a person’s condition, they may not account for all cases of hypotension.
There are many signs and symptoms which may appear when a person has low blood pressure, including:
Several medical conditions are considered to be possible causes of low blood pressure. Those causes include:
Hypotension can affect anyone, but those who are over the age of 65 are more likely to experience this condition. In addition taking any of the medications listed above can increase a person’s risk for low blood pressure. Certain diseases, including heart conditions, diabetes and Parkinson’s disease, also come with an increase risk of hypotension.
Not all cases of hypotension are preventable, but taking the following steps can reduce your risk of developing the condition:
In some cases, the symptoms of hypotension may be very mild and may not signal the need for immediate medical attention. However, it’s still important to see a doctor if you do experience these symptoms (regardless of their severity) since low blood pressure can be an indicator of a more serious health condition.
For those who have consistently low blood pressure that is not caused by underlying problems, most doctors will simply advise that you have your blood pressure checked regularly through routine exams. In some cases, patients may be asked to keep a record of how often they experience the symptoms of low blood pressure and what they were doing at the time that the symptoms occurred.
For more serious cases of hypotension, the underlying cause is treated first, whether it’s endocrine problems, heart problems or dehydration. In addition, a doctor may help you find other medications if the ones you are taking are causing hypotension.
In some cases, chronic low blood pressure may appear to have no underlying cause. Doctors may treat these conditions by recommending certain treatments, such as drinking more water, wearing compression stockings or adding more salt to the diet. In addition, there are some medications available to help treat low blood pressure that occurs when standing up.
Low blood pressure is not always a serious condition, but it is vital that you make an appointment to see a doctor if you are experiencing the symptoms of this condition. It is often very treatable and can alert you to other health conditions you may not have been aware of.