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Low Blood Pressure Symptoms

Symptoms of Low Blood Pressure:

Symptoms of low blood pressure may include:

  • Blurry vision
  • Confusion
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting
  • Light-headedness
  • Sleepiness
  • Weakness.
  • When there is insufficient blood pressure to deliver blood to the coronary arteries (the arteries that supply blood to the heart’s muscle), a person may develop chest pain or even a heart attack.
  • When insufficient blood is delivered to the kidneys, the kidneys fail to eliminate wastes from the body, for example, urea (BUN) and creatinine, and increases in their levels in the blood occur.
  • Shock is a life-threatening condition where persistently low blood pressure causes organs such as kidney(s), liver, heart, lung, and brain to fail rapidly

Is low blood pressure good or bad for your health?

People who have lower blood pressures have a lower risk of stroke,heart and kidney disease. Athletes, people who exercise regularly, people who maintain ideal body weight, and non-smokers tend to have lower blood pressures. Therefore, low blood pressure is advantageous as long as it is not low enough to cause symptoms and damage to the body organs.

Signs of Low Blood Pressure:

The doctor will examine you and try to determine the cause of low blood pressure. Your vital signs (temperature, pulse, rate of breathing, blood pressure) will be checked frequently. The common question which doctor will ask are:

  • What is your normal blood pressure?
  • Have you had any recent illness, accident, or injury?
  • What other symptoms do you have?
  • Have you been eating and drinking normally?
  • Did you faint or become less alert?
  • Do you feel dizzy or light-headed when standing or sitting after lying down?
  • What medications do you take?

Tests for Low Blood Pressure:

  • Complete blood count (CBC), including blood differential
  • ECG (to detect Pericarditis, abnormal heart beats, heart attck)
  • Urinalysis
  • Blood and urine cultures to check for infection
  • X-ray of the abdomen and chest.
  • Blood electrolyte measurements may show dehydration and mineral depletion, renal failure (kidney failure), or acidosis (excess acid in the blood).
  • Cortisol levels can be measured to diagnose Addison’s disease.
  • Ultrasound examinations of the leg veins and CT scans of the chest can detect deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism.
  • Holter monitor recordings are used to diagnose intermittent episodes of abnormal heart rhythms. . A Holter monitor is a continuous recording of the heart’s rhythm for 24 hours that often is used to chart intermittent episodes of bradycardia or tachycardia.ECG may miss if abnormal rhythms occur intermittently
  • Patient-activated event recorder. If the episodes of bradycardia or tachycardia are occasional, a 24-hour Holter recording may not capture these sporadic episodes. So  a patient can wear a patient-activated event recorder for up to four weeks. The patient presses a button to start the recording when he or she senses the onset of an abnormal heart rhythm or symptoms possibly caused by low blood pressure. The doctor then analyzes the recordings at a later date to recognize the abnormal heart beats.
  • Echocardiograms are examinations of the structures of the heart using ultrasound. Echocardiograms can detect pericardial fluid, the extent of heart muscle damage from heart attacks, diseases of the heart valves.
  • Tilt-Table tests are used to evaluate patients having postural hypotension or syncope due to abnormal function of the autonomic nerves. During a tilt-table test, the patient lies on an examining table with an intravenous infusion administered while the heart rate and blood pressure are monitored. The table then is tilted upright for 15 minutes to 45 minutes. Heart rate and blood pressure are monitored every few minutes whether he develops postural hypotension or not.

Next> (3) Low Blood Pressure Treatment

Low Blood Pressure Treatment

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.

Medications

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.

Prognosis:

Low blood pressure can usually be treated with success.

Complications

  • Shock
  • 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
  • Fainting
  • 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