Hypotension is low blood pressure – a condition we hear a lot less about compared to high blood pressure. Learn what causes blood pressure to drop, what the symptoms are, and what kinds of treatment options exist for this condition.
What Is Hypotension?
Hypotension is the medical term for low blood pressure, meaning the body isn’t getting enough blood.
With this condition, your heart doesn’t adequately circulate blood to various regions of the body. The normal blood pressure range is between 90/60 mmHg and 120/80 mmHg, so if you have hypotension, you’ll have a blood pressure below 90/60 mmHg. The top number is the systolic value, which indicates how hard the blood pushes when the heart beats. The bottom number is the diastolic value, which indicates how hard the blood pushes between heart beats. Blood pressure can vary throughout the day, but hypotension generally refers to chronic low blood pressure.
So, what causes hypotension? A sudden drop in blood pressure occurs if you have been injured and lost a significant amount of blood. This is also known as shock, and it can occur during or after a heart attack, as a result of a severe infection, as part of an allergic reaction, known as anaphylaxis, or in response to another disease like diabetes or a thyroid disorder.
Hypotension may also occur after a sudden change in body position. Have you ever felt lightheaded when you stood up too fast? This happens because you undergo a brief drop in blood pressure, and it temporarily makes you dizzy. However, the feeling typically passes quickly. This is called orthostatic hypotension. Sometimes, you might experience hypotension after standing for a long time; this is called neurally mediated hypotension. This most commonly affects kids and young adults, and it is something most people grow out of in time.
Additional causes of hypotension may include medications, alcohol use, diuretics, nerve damage, dehydration, or heart failure.It is also important to note that some people naturally have lower-than-normal blood pressures, and they may not experience any symptoms at all. In fact, people who regularly exercise usually have lower blood pressures than people who don’t exercise at all.
Hypotension has a number of possible symptoms associated with it. These can include dizziness, confusion, blurred vision, lightheadedness, fainting, nausea, tiredness, or weakness in parts of the body.
Usually, these symptoms occur because parts of the body are not getting enough blood flow. Symptoms can also stem from one of the various causes of hypotension. For example, dehydration can lead to dizziness, tiredness, or lightheadedness; and alcohol can lead to dizziness, nausea, blurred vision, and dehydration.
Unfortunately, none of these symptoms is unique to hypotension, so it can be hard to diagnose solely based on evaluating symptoms.
If you suffer from hypotension, what are your treatment options? If you are generally healthy and the bout of hypotension is temporary, like when you stand up too fast, it’s best to sit down and rest until the symptoms pass. It may help to raise the feet above the heart level. If hypotension is a side effect of medication, a doctor may change you to another medication that doesn’t include this side effect. Serious cases of hypotension, like after an injury, require prescription medication or manually adding blood to the body through an IV. Once the cause is identified, hypotension is usually successfully treated.
Hypotension is the medical term for low blood pressure, and this means there isn’t adequate blood being pumped throughout your body. This can result in dizziness, confusion, blurred vision, lightheadedness, fainting, nausea, tiredness, or weakness. Hypotension can be caused by an injury or traumatic event that results in blood loss, or it can be the body’s response to an infection, allergic reaction, or medical condition like heart failure.
Once the cause is identified, hypotension can be treated successfully so that the symptoms disappear.