Today we’re talking about low blood pressure aka Hypotension (the one most of us aren’t familiar with), the sibling to high blood pressure aka Hypertension.
We are much more familiar with high blood pressure and its end physiological results such as heart attacks, strokes and kidney failure (Sounds like a really bad guy, it is).
A blood pressure reading of 140/90 mm Hg or above is considered high, while a reading of less than 90/60 mm Hg is considered low. The American Heart Association (AHA) notes that as long as a person does not experience symptoms, low blood pressure is not a problem.
Having a low reading is often considered an advantage, as it reduces the risk of high blood pressure and it’s catastrophic effects.
What is Hypotension?
Hypotension is the relative term for low blood pressure. A systolic blood pressure of less than 90 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) or diastolic of less than 60 mm Hg is generally considered to be hypotension.
The blood pressure fluctuates sometimes without any noticeable symptoms. For instance, sudden movement from a sitting or lying position to a standing position can cause a sudden drop in blood pressure.
While others may experience low blood pressure after eating or prolonged standing.
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Also, certain health conditions can cause prolonged periods of hypotension that can be detrimental to your health.
Some of those conditions include;
- Significant blood loss due to tissue injury.
- Poor blood circulation caused by a heart condition
- Anaphylactic shock
- Dieting to lose weight
- Weakness that accompanies dehydration
- Infections of the bloodstream
- Endocrine disorders such as diabetes, adrenal insufficiency, and thyroid disease.
Also, certain medications can cause hypotension. They include;
- Erectile dysfunction drugs
- Tricyclic antidepressants
NOTE: A deficiency of blood vitamins B12 and folic acid can cause anemia, which can lead to low blood pressure.
In as much as hypertension is bad, hypotension is equally bad as well. If your blood pressure gets very low, your body tissues will not receive sufficient oxygen to function properly.
A decreased oxygen level can lead to impaired brain and heart function as well as difficulty in breathing.
In extreme cases, people with low blood pressure can lose consciousness or go into shock. This is another important reason you should look out for signs and symptoms of low blood pressure for a timely treatment.
Signs and Symptoms of Hypotension
The signs and symptoms of hypotension includes:
- Rapid Heart Rate
Rapid heart rate or palpitation may be due to a rapid drop in blood pressure.
When blood flow to the heart is not normal, the heart contracts irregularly. Also, if the heart is not getting filled with the appropriate amount of blood, it compensates by beating faster.
Another common sign is an increase in pulse and breathing speed. It could also lead to frequent changes in body temperature.
As the heart is very delicate, any abnormal change should be checked by your physician.
Fatigue can also occur due to low blood pressure.
Blood flow is very vital in energy production, as it provides the body with adequate amount of oxygen and nutrients necessary for the normal metabolic bodily process.
The mitochondria (an integral part of the human cell), also called “powerhouse of the cell” needs nutrients for energy production. When blood flow is erupted due to low blood pressure, the energy creation process is disrupted, which in turn causes fatigue and tiredness.
If you are experiencing unnecessary fatigue, you need to see your doctor.
- Dizziness or Light-Headedness
Dizziness and light-headedness are one of the key symptoms of low blood pressure.
Since low blood pressure causes poor blood flow to the brain, the resulting effect is dizziness and light-headedness.
In extreme cases, dizziness can cause fainting.
- Lack of Concentration
Lack of, or poor concentration and focus can also be related to hypotension.
Due to the fact that, blood flow to the brain is not at a normal rate, the brain cells are not getting the required amount of oxygen and nourishment needed to function properly.
- This is the primary cause of difficulty in concentration in people who have low blood pressure.
If all of a sudden you cannot concentrate on any task at hand despite trying hard, then you need to get your blood pressure checked.
- Cold, Clammy Skin
Cold, clammy and pale skin could be a sign of hypotension, especially when accompanied by rapid heart rate.
This occurs especially when there is not enough blood circulating in your blood due to a drop in blood pressure.
- Blurred Vision
Blurred vision which refers to a lack of sharpness of vision or the inability to see things clearly and in fine detail could be a sign of low blood pressure.
Lack of oxygen and poor blood circulation to the cells of the eye could affect eye movements significantly.
A sudden blurred vision should be taken seriously as the effects can be long-lasting or even permanent.
What’s more; Blurry vision can be caused by a number of eye problems such as glaucoma, retinal detachment, myopia and migraine, these symptoms shouldn’t be ignored!
- Other Less Common Symptoms
Low blood pressure may also cause other symptoms. They include;
- unusual thirst
- neck stiffness
- loss of consciousness
- chronic cough with mucus
- poor digestion
- pain in the upper back.
If you’re experiencing any or a couple of these symptoms, it’s advisable to check up on your blood pressure.
But then again, it’s best to always check your blood pressure even before any signs or whatever symptoms come your way. Kapish?
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