The heart is responsible for the supply of blood in the body. Blood pressure is the force at which blood pushes against the arteries as the heart pumps. When an individual has hypotension, commonly known as low blood pressure, blood flows through the arteries and veins with too little force. A person experiencing hypotension has blood pressure under 90/60 mm Hg. More specifically, the first number indicates systolic pressure, which results from the heart beating and filling the arteries with blood. The second figure is the force of blood in the arteries when the heart rests between beats, known as diastolic pressure.
In some cases, low blood pressure may not be a major concern, but in others, early treatment is critical. Below are more details on the complications, causes, and treatment options for low blood pressure.
Dangers and Complications of Hypotension
Some people may experience hypotension with no significant complications. However, low blood pressure becomes a concern when it puts an individual at additional risks, requiring them to seek treatment for the condition. The common complications that most people experience include:
- Blurry vision
- Cold and pale skin
- General body weakness
- Inability to concentrate
- Fast breathing
Over time, a person may experience more severe complications such as:
- Shock - When a person's blood pressure is too low, body organs don't receive enough blood and oxygen. As a result, vital organs fail to function correctly, which can cause a shock. This is a life-threatening condition that requires a medical emergency. Some symptoms of shock are rapid breathing and irregular heartbeat.
- Injury From Falls - A drop in blood pressure makes the affected individual feel lightheaded and dizzy and can even make them unconscious. A person in this state is at high risk of falling, leading to head injuries, broken bones in the hip, arm, or ankle, and other injuries.
- Causes of Hypotension - Anyone's blood pressure can drop at some point in their life. Mostly, normal blood pressure declines with age, and genetic factors also contribute to this condition.
Still, a sudden drop in blood pressure can be a result of the following events:
- Extended periods of inactivity
- Eating a meal
- Going through a shocking event
Certain conditions or health issues can also lead to hypotension, including:
- Endocrine Disorders - Endocrine problems affect hormones' normal regulation, which can lead to a drop in blood pressure.
- Blood Loss - When a person loses a lot of blood through internal bleeding or injury, there is a drastic reduction in blood pressure due to the sudden drop in blood volume.
- Heart Problems - A heart failure, heart attack, or heart valve disease can limit the heart from pumping enough blood to the body leading to hypotension.
- Nutrient deficiency - Low levels of folic acid, iron, and vitamin B12 can lead to hypotension because the body won't have adequate red blood cells.
- Medicine - Hypotension may also be caused by some medications. They are varied and can be intended for numerous different ailments.
Treatment for low blood pressure depends on the cause of this condition. A medical expert can recommend lifestyle modifications or medications to reduce or prevent hypotension symptoms. Some lifestyle adjustments that a doctor can recommend include:
- Change Eating Habits - If eating a meal leads to low blood pressure, a medical professional can recommend eating different types of foods or smaller portions throughout the day.
- Take Time When Changing Body Positions - Instead of standing up quickly, use small movements to slowly reach a standing position.
- Stay Hydrated - Drink more water to avoid low blood pressure due to dehydration. This is especially crucial for people who have diarrhea or are vomiting.
- Avoid Stress Triggers or Emotional Situations - Certain situations make a person feel emotional or scared, leading to a drop in blood pressure. Avoiding such situations can help prevent hypotension.
A doctor can also prescribe medication to treat hypotension.