What to Do About Low Blood Pressure

What is low blood pressure?

Blood pressure refers the force of blood pressing against arterial walls. When this pressure is low, it is known as low blood pressure, or hypotension.

Normal blood pressure for adults is between 120/80 mm Hg (millimeters of mercury) and 90/60 mm Hg. Therefore, anything under 90/60 mm Hg is considered hypotension.

What causes low blood pressure?

There are several causes of low blood pressure. Some of them are related to trauma, such as when a person goes into shock as a result of blood loss. For other people, it can result from a medication they are taking or even an infection.

What are the consequences of low blood pressure?

Low blood pressure typically isn’t as dangerous as high blood pressure, or hypertension. That being said, low blood pressure has the potential to reduce how much oxygen different parts of the body get. When the body doesn’t get enough oxygen, it could lead to significant complications, such as brain and heart damage.

What are the symptoms of low blood pressure?

Symptoms of hypotension include:

  • Fatigue
  • Concentration problems
  • Dizziness and fainting
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Pale skin
  • Blurry vision
  • Shortness of breath
  • Clammy skin

However, it’s also common for people to show no signs of this condition; it might only be detected with a blood pressure reading.

What can someone with low blood pressure do?

Treatment will vary based on the individual and what is causing the low blood pressure in the first place. It’s important to discuss concerns of hypotension with a doctor. After this discussion, many people find that the following methods help them manage this condition…

1. Make a Medication Change

Certain medications can result in low blood pressure. For some people, the reduction in blood pressure can be significant, resulting in issues like weakness and fainting. These symptoms hit especially hard within a few hours of taking a dose.

What medications cause hypotension?

Several types of medicines can cause low blood pressure as a side effect, including:

  • Anti-anxiety medications
  • Certain antidepressants
  • Heart medications, such as those prescribed for coronary heart disease and high blood pressure
  • Pain medicines
  • Diuretics
  • Post-surgery medications

What’s the solution?

Those who suspect that a medication is to blame for their low blood pressure should talk with their prescribing doctor. The doctor may suggest a new medication to treat the condition. If the blood pressure rises to a healthy level after this change, it means the medication was the likely cause of the hypotension.

Sometimes the solution to low blood pressure doesn’t take a trip to the doctor, but rather a few more trips to the water fountain…

2. Drink More Fluids

Dehydration can result in a host of complications, including hypotension.

What are the symptoms of dehydration?

As dehydration worsens, a variety of symptoms can appear, such as:

  • Extreme thirst
  • Fatigue
  • Confusion
  • Dry mouth
  • Dry skin
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness and fainting

What’s the solution?

In mild cases

In mild cases, simply drinking more water allows for proper fluid balance. During this time, it is also important to replace electrolytes, such as potassium and sodium.

Drinks with high amounts of electrolytes include:

  • Sports drinks
  • Infused waters
  • Coconut water
  • Certain smoothies
  • Watermelon water
  • Milk

When rehydrating, it’s important to avoid strenuous activities and exercise. Why? Because these activities can deplete fluids and electrolytes in the body via sweating.

In severe cases

In severe cases, hospitalization will be necessary. There, doctors can administer fluids and salts via IV for a more efficient recovery.

Sometimes, other medical interventions are necessary…

3. Take the Right Medications

As discussed earlier, some medications are best avoided with hypotension. That doesn’t mean all medications are bad, though. Some drugs might help sufferers of this condition.

Specifically, certain types of low pressure respond to specific medications. For example, blood pressure that drops when standing may be the result of orthostatic hypotension. This form of low blood pressure is characterized by pressure dropping within approximately three minutes of standing up.

What’s the solution?

There are many medications that can help to reduce the incidence of orthostatic hypotension, such as:

  • Fludrocortisone. This medication works to increase blood volume. With greater blood volume, blood pressure will increase.
  • Midodrine. This medication treats chronic orthostatic hypotension by increasing blood pressure when standing. It does so by reducing how much blood vessels are able to expand, resulting in an increase in blood pressure.

The following remedy for low blood pressure? It’s as simple as slipping on a pair of stockings…

4. Wear Compression Stockings

Some people experience hypotension as a result of reduced blood flow or expanded blood vessels. Compression stockings may be beneficial in these cases.

How do compression stockings work?

These stockings apply pressure so that the vessels in lower limbs are able to work more efficiently. Basically, they constrict blood vessels to increase blood pressure, as widened blood vessels can result in reduced blood pressure.

Is there a trick to using these stockings?

It’s important to seek professional advice for how long and when to wear these stockings, as these factors will vary by individual.

  • In general, though, people wear them when getting up in the morning and removing them before going to sleep.
  • It is important to never sleep wearing these stockings.
  • It is typically most important to put them on when standing and walking. This timing will help the blood in the legs return to the heart efficiently.

The following potential solution to hypotension involves cutting back on alcohol…

5. Reduce Alcohol Intake

How can alcohol result in hypotension?

The short answer

Alcohol can cause dehydration, which in turn may cause low blood pressure (among other problems).

The long answer

Chronic drinkers may experience prolonged dehydration, which could contribute to their low blood pressure.

How, though?

Well, drinking alcohol suppresses the body’s antidiuretic hormone. This suppression mean losing fluids faster than normal, which can result in dehydration.

What’s the solution?

The standard recommendation for alcohol consumption is two drinks a day for men and one drink daily for women. However, those who already have low blood pressure should avoid alcohol until their blood pressure returns to a healthy level.

Of course, alcohol isn’t the only beverage that may impact blood pressure…

6. Grab a Caffeinated Beverage

Diet can significantly impact blood pressure. For helping hypotension, some experts recommend a caffeinated drink with meals.

Why are caffeinated drinks good for hypotension?

Caffeine is a stimulant that can temporarily boost blood pressure. Specifically, one review noted that 200-300 mg of caffeine intake (via coffee) temporarily increased blood pressure by a mild amount.

What’s the solution?

  • The above-mentioned study states that 200-300 mg of caffeine produced slight bumps in blood pressure. This amount is equivalent to 1 1/2 to 2 cups of coffee.
  • Only those who already know they can safely tolerate caffeine should attempt this method (after talking to a doctor).

The following way to deal with low blood pressure is simple and free…

7. Stand Up Slowly

If hypotension occurs from standing up too quickly, standing up slower can be beneficial. This action will give the body the time that it needs to adjust.

What’s the solution?

For sitting

  1. Scoot forward toward the edge of the chair.
  2. Count to 10.
  3. Use arms to slowly push the body upward. Ideally, it should take five to 10 seconds to stand up completely so that the body has the necessary time to adjust to the new position.

For getting up in the morning

Those who experience hypotension when getting up in the morning can benefit from getting out of bed more slowly.

  1. In bed, get into a sitting position.
  2. Count to five.
  3. Next, dangle the legs over the side of the bed.
  4. Rest here for about 30 seconds.
  5. As long as no symptoms of low blood pressure appear, slowly push the self into a standing position.

These methods can help someone determine how much time their body needs to adjust to changes in position; these methods can then be modified from there.

The next method for increasing blood pressure absolutely must be first cleared by a doctor…

8. Eat More Salt

Salt is known to raise blood pressure. Therefore, taking in a moderate amount of salt from healthy sources may help those with hypotension reach a healthy blood pressure level.

How does salt raise blood pressure?

Salt alters the kidneys’s ability to excrete water from the body. As a result of eating extra salt, the body holds onto more water. With more water in the body, blood pressure tends to increase.

What’s the solution?

This method can be risky, as it’s incredibly easy to consume too much salt, which can result in plenty of other conditions. In fact, it’s possible to have hypotension even with a high-salt diet. That means it’s always important to talk to a doctor first about the possibility of having low levels of salt in the body.

Sometimes it’s necessary to adjust not just diet, but also sleeping style…

9. Alter Sleeping Positions

How someone sleeps can impact blood pressure. It’s all due to the effects of gravity, especially for those who tend to sleep on their back at night.

What’s the solution?

  1. Elevate the head of the bed by 20 to 30 degrees to help reduce the effects of gravity.
  2. Use some extra pillows if an adjustable bed frame isn’t an option.

Sometimes, though, these simple solutions won’t be enough, and only a professional can help…

10. Seek Emergency Medical Treatment

Some cases of low blood pressure are the result of shock due to severe external or internal bleeding.

How does bleeding affect blood pressure?

Bleeding rapidly means the heart doesn’t get enough blood to pump, which means the heart’s efficiency as a pump plummets. As a result, blood pressure drops. This event is known as hypovolemic shock.

What is considered hypovolemic shock?

Someone is typically considered to be in hypovolemic shock if they lose 20 percent of their body’s fluids or more.

What’s the solution?

This event is a medical emergency that requires prompt professional treatment.

In a hospital, patients receive an IV line to receive fluids and a variety of medications to help improve their blood counts and circulation. Commonly used medications and care include plasma, red blood cell, and platelet transfusions, and dobutamine, norepinephrine, dopamine, and epinephrine. Intravenous crystalloids might also be administered.

Once the bleeding stops, hospitalization is required for close monitoring.

What’s next?

What’s most important for someone battling low blood pressure to know?…

Take Control of Hypotension

Low blood pressure is not an uncommon issue. Some people struggle with it temporarily while others experience it as a chronic issue.

Prompt Medical Attention is Key

Due to the potential implications of hypotension, it is important that those who suspect they have hypotension be evaluated by a doctor. With prompt and proper treatment, it is less likely that they will experience the more severe complications that can occur with low blood pressure.

Identifying the Cause is Crucial for Crafting a Treatment Plan

Identifying the underlying cause of hypotension will guide treatment. For example, if a medicine is causing the issue, making changes to these medications can help to restore blood pressure to a healthy level while still ensuring proper treatment for other health issues.

For Chronic Sufferers, Regular Blood Pressure Monitoring is a Must

While undergoing treatment for low blood pressure, it’s necessary to monitor numbers regularly. A doctor might recommend a digital blood pressure monitor for home use to make these tests easier. In fact, having the ability to check blood pressure levels at home can also help to pinpoint an underlying cause for those who do not yet have a definitive diagnosis.

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Celeb Facts - Celebrities Who Suffer From Ocd (obsessive-compulsive Disorder)

  1. World-famous soccer player David Beckham has discussed his OCD several times. He revealed to Independent that he has tried to stop his OCD, but it hasn't worked. One of his obsessive behaviors is the pain he feels when getting a tattoo.
  2. The 20th-century American magnate Howard Hughes died in 1976, at least partly due to his severe OCD. There is a famous story about Hughes spending four months in a darkened movie screening room, never once leaving. While in the room, the billionaire stored his urine in bottles.
  3. Katy Perry has admitted to being a germaphobe and does some pretty intense cleaning rituals in her home. She has called herself "Howard Huges" when it comes to germs. She also admitted in an interview that she also has a need to put everything in alphabetical order.
  4. Leonardo DiCaprio portrayed Howard Hughes in a film about the billionaire's life ."The Aviator" displayed Hughes' struggle with OCD to which DiCaprio has also admitted having. Dicaprio's OCD is nowhere as severe as Huges, but the actor said one of his compulsions is to walk through doors several times.
  5. Lena Dunham made a name for herself by writing and starring in "Girls." The HBO show deals with many of her real-life battles with OCD. She told Vogue one of her goals is to make the discussion about OCD more mainstream. She wants to teach kids that it's okay to say 'I'm anxious.'

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