An introduction to low blood pressure
The normal blood pressure range is considered to be between 90 over 60 and 120 over 80. The top number is known as the systolic pressure and it refers to the amount of pressure in your arteries during the contraction of your heart muscles. The bottom number is your diastolic pressure and refers to your blood pressure between your heart beats. Anything below 90/60 is considered to be low blood pressure.
While low blood pressure is generally not considered to have the same risks of heart disease as high blood pressure, it can put extra strain on our body and cause inadequate blood supply to our brain, heart and other vital organs. It can also negatively impact our energy levels, mood and immune system. Low blood pressure makes the circulation of blood around our body slower which can result in dizziness. The most common type of low blood pressure is orthostatic hypotension, also known as postural hypotension, which occurs when you transition from sitting or lying down to standing.
What are the symptoms of low blood pressure?
Low blood pressure without symptoms is usually not unhealthy however; if you begin to notice symptoms it is a sign that your blood pressure is becoming more of a problem. Signs you have low blood pressure include:
- Feeling dizzy or lightheaded
- Feeling weak
- Any of these symptoms when you stand from sitting or lying down (orthostatic hypotension).
What causes low blood pressure?
Although there is no definitive answer to what causes low blood pressure, there are a number of factors that can contribute to it including:
- Dehydration and excessive fluid loss
- An underlying health condition such as anaemia
- A reaction to medication such as beta-blockers or an antidepressant
- Low or high body temperature
- Loss of blood
Treating low blood pressure
If you think you have low blood pressure it is always a good idea to get a doctor to check your blood pressure reading. Usually doctors suggest lifestyle changes for low blood pressure, although medication that could help alleviate severe low blood pressure, such as postural hypotension, is available. For the most part though, simple lifestyle changes can help to regulate your blood pressure. These include:
- Eating a healthy balanced diet that contains a little bit more salt
- Drinking more water
- Standing up gradually
- Reduce your caffeine and alcohol intake as these can lead to dehydration.
If you experience symptoms of low blood pressure or if you think that your low blood pressure could be caused by an underlying health condition, get an appointment with your doctor as they will be able to identify the cause.