How Low Blood Pressure is Treated?
Note: If you have naturally low blood pressure, it does not usually require any treatment.
But if your low blood pressure is causing symptoms, your doctor will try to establish the underlying cause and treat it accordingly.
If your GP suspects that your medication is causing low blood pressure, they may change it or alter your dose. Your blood pressure should be monitored while you’re taking medication and any changes noted. Tell your GP if you are experiencing side effects from taking medication.
Underlying illnesses or conditions
If your doctor suspects that your low blood pressure is being caused by a any disease, you may be referred to hospital for further tests and treatment.
- Dehydration is treated with fluids and minerals (electrolytes). Mild dehydration without nausea and vomiting can be treated with oral fluids and electrolytes. Moderate to severe dehydration usually is treated in the hospital with intravenous fluids and electrolytes.
- Septic shock is an emergency and is treated with intravenous fluids and antibiotics.
- Blood loss can be treated with intravenous fluids and blood transfusions. Severe bleeding needs to be treated immediately.
- Bradycardia may be due to a medication. The doctor may reduce, change or stop the medication. Bradycardia due to sick sinus syndrome or heart block is treated with an implantable pacemaker.
- Tachycardia Atrial fibrillation can be treated with oral medications, electrical cardioversion, or a catheterization procedure called pulmonary vein isolation. Ventricular tachycardia can be controlled with medications or with an implantable defibrillator.
- Blood pressure medications or diuretics are adjusted, changed, or stopped by the doctor if they are causing low blood pressure symptoms.
- Pulmonary embolism and deep vein thrombosis is treated with blood thinners, intravenous initially with heparin, and oral warfarin (Coumadin) later.
- Pericardial fluid can be removed by a procedure called pericardiocentesis.
- Postprandial hypotension is treated by Ibuprofen (Motrin) or indomethacin .
- Vasovagal Syncope can be treatedwith several types of drugs such as beta blockers [for example, propanolol (Inderal, Inderal LA)], selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors [fluoxetine (Prozac), escitalopram oxalate (Lexapro), paroxetine (Paxil), sertraline (Zoloft), citalopram (Celexa), fluvoxamine (Luvox)], fludrocortisone (Florinef) (a drug that prevents dehydration by causing the kidney(s) to retaining water). A pacemaker can also be helpful when drug therapy fails.
General advice for Postural Hypotension:
The advice below will help to reduce your symptoms of hypotension, particularly postural or orthostatic hypotension (where blood pressure falls after a sudden movement).
- Stand up gradually:particularly first thing in the morning. It may also be useful to try some other physical movements first to increase your heart rate and the flow of blood around your body. For example, stretching in bed before you get up or crossing and uncrossing your legs if you are seated and about to stand.
- Raise the head of your bed or use extra pillows under your head: this will increase the flow of blood in your body and will also make it easier when you need to get up.
- Avoid caffeine at night, and limit your alcohol intake: this will help you to avoid becoming dehydrated, which can also cause low blood pressure.
- Wear support stockings: sometimes called compression stockings, these are tight-fitting elastic socks or tights. They provide extra pressure to your feet, legs, and abdomen, which will help stimulate your circulation and increase your blood pressure.
- Eat small, frequent meals rather than large ones: this will help you to prevent postprandial hypotension (low blood pressure after eating). Lying down after eating or sitting still for a while may also help.
Low blood pressure can usually be treated with success.
- Injury from falls due to fainting
Falls are particularly dangerous for older adults. Fall-related injuries, such as a broken hip, can dramatically impact a person’s quality of life.
Severe hypotension starves your body of oxygen, which can damage the heart, brain, and other organs. This type of hypotension can be life threatening if not immediately treated.
Calling your health care provider
When you have symptoms from a drop in blood pressure, you should immediately sit or lie down and raise your feet above heart level.
If low blood pressure causes a person to become unconscious, seek immediate medical treatment or call the local emergency number (such as 911). If the person is not breathing or has no pulse, begin Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation(CPR).
Call your doctor immediately if you have any of the following symptoms:
- Chest pain
- Dizziness, lightheadedness
- Fever higher than 101 degrees Fahrenheit
- Irregular heartbeat
- Shortness of breath
- Inability to eat or drink
- Prolonged diarrhea or vomiting.
- Burning with urination or other urinary symptoms.
- Cough with phlegm
How to Prevent Low Blood Pressure?
If you have low blood pressure, your doctor may recommend certain steps to prevent or reduce your symptoms. This may include:
- Avoiding alcohol
- Avoiding standing for a long time (if you have NMH)
- Drinking plenty of fluids
- Getting up slowly after sitting or lying down
- Using compression stockings to increase blood pressure in the legs
If you are interested in helping others to diagnose and treat high blood pressure, consider Concordia University online for a healthcare degree and get started today.