Everyone knows about high blood pressure (BP). However, did you know that low BP can be quite harmful?
What is hypotension?
Low blood pressure or hypotension comes to be when the blood pressure drops well below the normal 120/80 mm Hg. If the blood pressure drops to below 90/60mm Hg, then it’s called hypotension. Having chronic low blood pressure does not usually present symptoms. However, suffering a sudden drop in blood pressure is far more dangerous.
When does blood pressure suddenly drop?
Here are a few situations where a normal person’s blood pressure suddenly drops –
- Commonly, hypotension is prevalent in cases of diarrhea, vomiting, menstruation, dehydration etc. It gets worse with age.
- Postural hypotension – When we stand or sit for a long time, the blood pools in our legs due to gravity. This causes a sudden drop in blood pressure as we shift position. Normally the body can rectify the blood pressure quickly by signalling the heart to beat faster. However, if this doesn’t happen in time, it can cause dizziness, nausea, lightheadedness, headache and may even cause us to faint in some cases. This can be aggravated in cases of dehydration, pregnancy, ageing, other medications or fatigue. This affects up to 30 percent of adults over 65, and 5 to 11 percent of middle aged people.
- Post–prandial hypotension – After eating, some people experience fatigue, lightheadedness and dizziness. This is because after a large meal, maybe with lots of carbohydrates, the blood rushes to the digestive tract, causing to a rapid loss in blood pressure.
- There are many conditions that can cause hypotension as a side effect like diabetes, pernicious anemia, alcoholism, varicose veins and other cardiac, hormone or nervous system related disorders.
- Acute hypotension can cause organ failure and is associated with alcoholism, anti – depressant usage, heart problems or septic, anaphylactic shocks.
Hypotension can also have a variety of other triggers. Consulting a doctor as soon as you start to feel any symptoms is important. The blood pressure can be brought up with medications which are prescribed according to the severity and type of hypotension and exercise.