Low blood pressure (hypotension) is the pressure of the blood in the arteries. It occurs when the pressure of the blood is abnormally low. Blood pressure is typically recorded as the systolic pressure (as the heart beats) over the diastolic pressure (time between two beats). A consistent blood pressure reading of 90/60 mm Hg or lower is considered low blood pressure. People with low BP may experience symptoms of dizziness or syncope (fainting) as the blood flow to the brain and other vital organs becomes insufficient.
Low blood pressure is not always a sign of a problem. But if you have symptoms of low blood pressure, then your doctor can diagnose the condition and uncover the cause. Symptoms may include: lightheadedness, dizziness, fainting, unusual thirst, or fatigue. Symptoms of dizziness and lightheadedness when you stand up from sitting or lying down with a decrease in your blood pressure may indicate a condition called postural hypotension. A wide range of underlying conditions may also cause your symptoms. It’s important to identify the cause of low blood pressure so appropriate treatment can be given.
Depending on the cause of your symptoms, your doctor may counsel you to increase your blood pressure by making these simple changes:
* Eat a diet higher in salt.
* Drink lots of nonalcoholic fluids
* Limit alcoholic beverages.
* Drink more fluids during hot weather and while sick with a viral illness, such as a cold or the flu.
* Have your doctor evaluate your prescription and over-the-counter medications to identify any that may be causing your symptoms.
* Get regular exercise to promote blood flow.
* Be careful when rising from lying down or sitting. To help improve circulation, pump your feet and ankles a few times before standing up. Then proceed slowly. When getting out of bed, sit upright on the edge of the bed for a few minutes before standing.
* Elevate the head of your bed at night by placing bricks or blocks under the head of bed.