Low pressure is a condition characterized by blood pressure values at rest below the norm. In numerical terms, an individual suffers from low blood pressure when his resting blood pressure falls below 90/60 mmHg. This article will give you a complete guide about low blood pressure symptoms, causes & therapy.
Also called hypotension, it could be defined as a condition exactly opposite to hypertension or high blood pressure. A severe pathology characterized by resting blood pressure values higher than 140/90 mmHg. Associated with a significant increase in cardiovascular risk.
Although less common than the more severe and worrying hypertension. Low blood pressure is a fairly common disorder, frequently associated with generalized fatigue, dizziness, fainting, confusion and blurred vision.
Generally, hypotension cases sustained by pathological states, pharmacological assumptions, or pregnancy deserve the doctor’s attention as they are symptomatic and potentially dangerous.
Treatment of low blood pressure depends on the underlying causes; as a rule, symptom-free hypotension does not require any specific therapy.
Note: genetic predisposition and constant physical activity are responsible for mild blood pressure drops. With no consequences and even benefits, in some cases.
Blood pressure: Low Blood Pressure Symptoms
General information on blood pressure
The blood pressure, or blood pressure, is the force that blood exerts against the walls of blood vessels due to turning of the heart pump.
Its value depends on various factors, including:
- The contraction force of the heart
- Systolic output, which is the amount of blood leaving the heart with each ventricular contraction
- The heart rate, i.e. the number of heartbeats per minute
- Peripheral resistance that is the resistances opposed to the blood circulation. By the state of constriction of the small arterial vessels ( arterioles )
- The elasticity of the aorta and the great arteries (the so-called vascular compliance )
- The volume, i.e. the total volume of blood circulating in the body.
Measured in millimetres of mercury (mmHg) and a state of rest, the blood pressure is usually defined by the values of systolic blood pressure or ” maximum ” (it is the blood pressure when the heart is contracting ) and diastolic blood pressure or ” minimum ” ( is the blood pressure when the heart is in the relaxation phase).
In a healthy individual, resting blood pressure can have systolic values between 90 and 129 mmHg and diastolic pressure values between 60 and 84 mmHg.
According to the medical-scientific community, optimal resting blood pressure is 120 mmHg (p. Systolic) over 80 (p. Diastolic) mmHg – also written 120/80 mmHg.
Causes: The Cause Of Low Blood Pressure Symptoms
Causes of low blood pressure
For an individual, low blood pressure can be:
- A constitutional, physiological condition, sometimes present without a precise and recognizable reason, and sometimes due to particular lifestyle choices. Above all the regular practice of physical exercise
- A disease is dependent on the presence of specific circumstances, including mainly individual pathological states ( pathological hypotension ), specific drug treatments ( drug hypotension ) and the state of pregnancy ( low blood pressure in pregnancy ).
In the former case, low blood pressure tends to be mild and lack associated symptoms; for doctors and experts, blood pressure with these characteristics has no clinical significance and can even be considered favorable for health (mild hypotension ).
On the other hand, low blood pressure is a condition of some clinical importance in the second case. Almost always combined with an asymptomatic picture and worthy of the attention and possibly the care of a doctor.
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During the day, various situations can temporarily lower blood pressure (which does not mean suffering from low blood pressure). Among these situations, we note:
- Sleep: nocturnal sleep always coincides with a lowering of blood pressure, which rises when you wake up until it reaches its peak at noon
- Having recently eaten: the digestion of recently ingested food draws blood to the stomach and intestines, taking it away from the other organs of the body. The lower blood supply to these organs is a reason for a reduction in general blood pressure.
- Moments of relaxation: relaxation is associated with a drop in blood pressure; on the contrary, stress always accompanies a rise in blood pressure.
- Finding oneself or frequenting, incredibly hot environments: the high ambient temperature is a reason for a reduction in blood pressure.
Constitutional hypotension with no recognizable causes
Although there is a lack of firm evidence on this, experts believe that constitutional hypotension without seemingly recognizable causes may be due to hereditary factors or an individual family predisposition to low blood pressure.
Constitutional low blood pressure and sport
Athletes – in particular endurance athletes (e.g. cyclists, marathon runners, etc.) – have a lower resting blood pressure than sedentary people, as they have a much more extensive network of capillaries than the latter (a network of veins that have developed after years of training).
Pathological hypotension can result from various diseases and medical conditions.
These diseases and medical conditions include:
- The bleeding severe, the dehydration caused by vomiting and diarrhoea lasted, the subsequent dehydration extensive burns, dehydration-induced by an ‘ excessive sweating, the Addison’s disease, diabetes, l’ anaemia for lack of folate or vitamin B12, and episodes of anaphylactic shock. All these medical-pathological circumstances have in common the fact that they cause low blood pressure through the reduction of blood volume ( hypovolemia )
- Myocardial infarction, congestive heart failure, some forms of arrhythmias, bradycardia, valvulopathies and pulmonary embolism. What these pathological states have in common is the fact that they cause hypotension by decreasing cardiac output.
- The sepsis, septicemia, the syndrome of septic shock, the state of acidosis, severe traumatic brain and severe injuries borne by the spinal cord. The common denominator of these medical-pathological conditions is the fact that they severely reduce blood pressure through the excessive vasodilation of the arterioles (hence a decrease in peripheral resistance ).
The list of drugs that can cause low blood pressure include:
- The calcium channel blockers, the nitroglycerin (or nitroglycerin ), blockers of the receptor for the ‘ angiotensin II (or ARBs ), the alpha-blockers and anaesthetics used for the’ spinal anaesthesia. These drugs cause hypotension through excessive vasodilation of the arterioles.
- The diuretics. They can induce hypotension by reducing blood volume.
- Beta-blockers. They can cause hypotension due to an abnormal reduction in cardiac output;
- The narcotics, the tricyclic antidepressants, levodopa-carbidopa combination and some medicines for erectile dysfunction (including sildenafil, or Viagra, the vardenafil or Levitra, and tadalafil or Cialis ) when used in combination with nitroglycerin.
Hypotension in pregnancy
Pregnancy is accompanied by a decrease in blood pressure, due to the critical peripheral vasodilation induced by progesterone (a sex hormone essential for the correct development of fetal growth).
In the first 24 weeks of gestation, there is an average drop in systolic blood pressure of about 5-10 points and a moderate decrease in diastolic blood pressure of more than 10 points.
Low blood pressure grades
There are several degrees of low pressure:
- The low blood pressure below 90 / 60mmHg but above 60 / 40mmHg is considered mild hypotension.
- Low blood pressure below 60 / 40mmHg but above 50 / 33mmHg is considered intermediate grade hypotension.
- Average low blood pressure below 50 / 33mmHg is considered severe hypotension.
Mild low blood pressure is often without clinical significance, especially if any symptoms do not accompany it; on the contrary, a low blood pressure of intermediate degree or, worse still, low pressure of severe degree is, generally, the signal of a malfunction of the organism.
Types of hypotension
The medical community has drawn up a typological classification of hypotension, which is based on the causes and modes of occurrence of the drop in blood pressure.
Among the types of hypotension falling within this classification, the following are noteworthy for their notoriety and their diffusion: orthostatic hypotension and postprandial hypotension.
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Also known as hypotension postural, orthostatic hypotension is the low-pressure condition that develops as a result of a sudden transition from sitting or lying position to the upright position. Postprandial hypotension, on the other hand, is the condition of low blood pressure that manifests itself after meals.
Low blood pressure symptoms
As stated, depending on the triggering causes, low blood pressure can be symptomatic or asymptomatic; in other words, it may or may not be responsible for symptoms and signs.
When hypotension is symptomatic, the symptoms and signs it most commonly gives are:
- Vertigo, dizziness and confusion
- Blurred vision
- Feeling faint which sometimes results in actual fainting ( syncope )
- Nausea and vomit
- Problems with concentration
- Sense of instability
Complications of low blood pressure
When low blood pressure is severe (for example, as a result of authoritarian pathological states), the organs of the affected individual do not receive the amount of blood necessary for their proper functioning and maintenance. All of this can lead to a state of shock.
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Characterized by paleness, cold sweats, fast and shallow breathing, and a weak and rapid pulse, shock, in the absence of timely and adequate treatment, can be fatal.
Episodes of fainting experienced by an individual with symptomatic low blood pressure can be responsible for injury and trauma from falling. In fact, it is not uncommon for people who are victims of fainting from hypotension to suffer limb fractures or brain trauma.
Why does low blood pressure cause symptoms?
Low blood pressure becomes symptomatic and takes on clinical significance when the effects it produces on blood circulation are responsible for brain suffering.
It is, therefore based on the degree of cerebral suffering that the symptoms can be more or less intense. In fact, mild cerebral suffering causes mild disturbances, such as dizziness when getting up quickly from a lying position; on the contrary, severe brain suffering causes important manifestations, such as episodes of syncope (or fainting).
Speaking of syncope, this event is a real defence mechanism, which the body implements to protect itself from the adverse effects of an excessive drop in blood pressure. In fact, when an individual faints, the consequent lying position means that the blood encounters less difficulty in its path and reaches the heart and brain more easily.
For the same reason, while waiting for medical assistance, a person suffering from the cardiovascular collapse must be placed in the supine position. If they are present, it is also useful to loosen laces and belts.
Low blood pressure diagnosis
Hypotension is easily diagnosed by simply measuring blood pressure using a sphygmomanometer to the simple observation of reduced blood pressure levels at rest. Still, it must also focus on the search for the triggering causes and the connotations of the problem in progress. This explains why doctors when faced with a case of hypotension. Subject the patient to a careful physical examination and a detailed medical history and can go so far as to prescribe:
- Blood tests, to study blood sugar levels(diabetes?), Cortisol levels (Addison’s disease?), Red blood cell count (anaemia?) Etc.
- Urine tests to look for any infections.
- An electrocardiogram, an echocardiogram, and a stress test, for evaluating heart health and looking for heart disease.
- The pressure holter, to better understand what causes the drop in blood pressure during the day.
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- Radiological tests, such as chest CT scan or chest X-ray, to further study heart health and look at the lungs
- The so-called passive orthostatic stimulation test to understand if hypotension may be due to a malfunction of the nervous system.
Why research the causes of low blood pressure?
The identification of the conditions underlying hypotension is essential because it allows the planning of the most appropriate therapy.
Pic Solution sphygmomanometer
The Pic Solution ClassicStethoMED is a model of Aneroid Sphygmomanometer With Stethoscope to measure blood pressure. Beneficial for adjusting the position of the band. Also, it is straightforward to read, and the pressure gauge (which is analogue and not digital) has a diameter of 5cm and weighs just 260g. The package also includes the stethoscope for auscultation during blood pressure measurement.
Synology Pressure Monitor
The Synology blood pressure monitor is a digital sphygmomanometer. The bracelet or cuff is equipped with velcro closure and a tie rod. Designed so that people of different constitution can use the instrument. It is equipped with an LCD that makes reading the pressure values really easy. The Synology blood pressure monitor offers the possibility of recording data to two different users so that they can keep track of the pressure trend.
Low blood pressure therapy
When low blood pressure lacks associated symptomatology and is considered constitutional, it generally does not require specific care or treatment. Indeed, as has been stated, such a circumstance does not represent a danger to the person’s health.
The speech changes considerably when the hypotension is symptomatic and depends on a specific cause: in such situations. Low blood pressure requires particular therapy against the triggering factor. For example, if hypotension is due to a specific drug intake, treatment is to discontinue that intake.