Low blood pressure, or hypotension, affects many people. Low blood pressure is not generally a health hazard unless symptoms exist.
Why are Blood Pressure Readings Important?
Blood pressure readings are taken to gauge the force of blood hitting the artery walls as it circulates. These readings can be crucial in preventative measures, as both high blood pressure and low blood pressure can indicate significant cardiovascular problems.
Causes of Low Blood Pressure
A number of factors can cause blood pressure to be low, such as lying down for an extended period of time, infections, heart problems, medications and loss of blood volume. Low blood pressure can also be paired with problems of the endocrine system.
Symptoms of Low Blood Pressure
Problematic low blood pressure can cause a variety of symptoms. Most commonly, low blood pressure causes dizziness, a feeling of lightheadedness and loss of consciousness. Other complaints commonly reported with low blood pressure include fast and short breaths, skin that is pale and feels clammy or cold, vision changes, mental impairment and problems concentrating, nausea and fatigue.
Low Blood Pressure Treatment
Before a definitive care plan is developed, the healthcare provider will need to know the nature of the low pressure “attacks.” It is important to note that chronic hypotension is not always an issue; problematic low blood pressure occurs in sudden drops. Your healthcare provider will need to know when your low blood pressure is occurring.
Certain diagnostic tests need to be performed to find the root cause of low blood pressure. Once the underlying factor is discovered, hypotension can be treated effectively. A physical exam and simple blood work can uncover a hidden problem. An EKG, which is painless and takes about five minutes, can be used to see how well your heart is working. A special heart ultrasound, an echocardiogram, can be used to detect any physical anomalies in the heart. Your healthcare provider might also order a stress test or tilt table test to see how your body responds to different stimulus.
Once the cause of low blood pressure has been found, your healthcare provider can recommend a proper treatment. Dietary changes, a special exercise regimen and medication are among the available treatments for low blood pressure.
If you believe you have low blood pressure, please consult your healthcare provider.