Hypotension/Low Blood Pressure: Symptoms, Complications, and Treatment



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What is hypotension/low blood pressure?

Hypotension is characterized by abnormally low blood pressure. Blood pressure is the force with which the blood pushes against the walls of the arteries as the heart pumps out blood.


The blood pressure normally rises and falls throughout the day. The blood pressure is usually lower overnight while you're sleeping. It rises a few hours before you wake up, and continues rising during the day, reaching its highest pressure during mid-afternoon.

Blood pressure readings are represented by two numbers. The systolic blood pressure represents the pressure in the arteries when the heart contracts and the diastolic pressure represents the pressure in the arteries when the heart relaxes.


The blood pressure numbers are written with the systolic number above or before the diastolic number, such as 120/80 mmHg. 

  • Normal - below 120 systolic and below 80 diastolic mmHg
  • Hypotension - below 90/60 mmHg
  • Prehypertension - 121 to 139 systolic and 81-89 diastolic mmHg
  • Hypertension Stage 1 - 140 to 159 systolic and 90 to 99 diastolic mmHg
  • Hypertension Stage 2  - 160 or higher systolic and 100 or higher diastolic mmHg
  • Hypertensive crisis (medical emergency) - blood pressure is above 180 systolic and 110 diastolic mmHg.

How does hypotension/low blood pressure occur? 

Our blood carries oxygen throughout our body. With every heartbeat, pressure is generated which pushes the blood through a network of arteries and veins.

Blood pressure doesn't stay the same at all times. The blood pressure lowers when you sleep and rises when you wake up. The physical body is very sensitive to changes in blood pressure. It adjusts your blood pressure to make sure enough blood and oxygen are flowing to all the vital organs in your body.


Changes in blood pressure can occur with mood changes, for instance, it rises when you are excited, or highly active. It can also change with sudden movements for example, if you stand up suddenly, your blood pressure may drop for sometime.

Who is prone to hypotension/low blood pressure? 


  • People over the age of 65 years experience drops in blood pressure upon sudden bodily movements or after eating. Orthostatic and postural hypotension occurs in adults when they suddenly stand up from a sitting position. Postprandial hypotension occurs in adults after they eat a meal.

  • Children and young adults tend to suffer from neurally mediated hypotension also known as the fainting reflex, which occurs when there is an abnormal reflex interaction between the heart and the brain. Neurally mediated hypotension occurs after:


    • prolonged periods of upright posture

    • being in a warm environment such as hot summer weather, a hot crowded room, a hot shower or bath

    • eating

    • exercising

    • facing stressful emotional situations

  • Low blood pressure can also affect people taking certain medications such as diuretics, alpha blockers, beta blockers, antidepressants, and drugs taken for Parkinson’s disease.

  • Sometimes during surgeries, the patient’s blood pressure is deliberately lowered to help reduce blood loss

  • Problems with the adrenal glands and thyroid glands can cause low blood pressure.

  • Women may suffer from low blood pressure during pregnancy as the body undergoes changes.

  • People who suffer from malnutrition or any form of dietary deficiency, especially those who suffer from bulimia or anorexia are prone to serious hypotension.

  • People who are immobile for prolonged periods can suffer from hypotension.

  • Health conditions such as dehydration, diabetes, blood loss due to injury, severe infection or septicemia, and severe allergies can cause a steep drop in the blood pressure.

  • Low blood pressure can also be a genetic condition. If your parents have low blood pressure, there is a possibility you too will inherit it from them. 


What are the causes of hypotension/low blood pressure?

Hypotension can be caused by a number of factors including: 

  • heart failure

  • heart arrhythmias or arrhythmic heart beats

  • liver disorders

  • hormonal problems such as an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism), diabetes, or low blood sugar (hypoglycemia)

  • certain over-the-counter medications

  • some prescription medications such as diuretics, alpha blockers, beta blockers, antidepressants, and drugs taken for Parkinson’s disease

  • pregnancy

  • widening of the blood vessels

  • heat exhaustion or heat stroke

There are also other causes which can lead to sudden drops in blood pressure. This form of hypotension can be fatal. The causes include:

  • sepsis

  • severe dehydration from vomiting, diarrhea, or fever

  • loss of blood due to injury

  • low body temperature

  • high body temperature

  • heart diseases

  • a severe allergic reaction, called anaphylaxis

  • a reaction to taking certain medications or drinking alcohol

What are the symptoms of hypotension/low blood pressure? How is it diagnosed?

The symptoms of hypotension include: 


  • dizziness or lightheadedness

  • nausea and vomiting

  • cold, clammy, pale skin

  • rapid, shallow breathing

  • fatigue

  • depression

  • thirst

  • general weakness

  • fast heart rate

  • abnormal or arrhythmic heart beats

  • fainting (syncope)

  • lack of concentration

  • blurred vision

Diagnosis


Low blood pressure can be easily diagnosed by measuring your blood pressure. Depending on the severity of your low blood pressure the doctor may suggest further tests such as blood tests or an electrocardiogram to determine the underlying cause of hypotension. 

What are the complications of hypotension/low blood pressure?

Severe hypotension can lead to a number of complications such as:

  • repeated fainting spells

  • coma

  • stroke due to the reduced blood supply to the brain

  • cardiovascular diseases


What is the treatment of hypotension/low blood pressure?

 Medical Treatment

Medical treatment for hypotension generally involves the doctor addressing its root cause.
If your doctor suspects that your low blood pressure is caused by some underlying health condition, he will refer you to the appropriate specialist for the treatment. If your low blood pressure is the result of certain medicines the doctor will in all probability change the medicines. 

Very few patients are prescribed medicines for low blood pressure. Usually, this condition gets addressed by making lifestyle changes and taking in more fluids in the form of fruit juices with salt.

Exercise

If you have low blood pressure, exercise can trigger a further drop in your blood pressure. However, that does not imply that you avoid exercising. Exercising is highly necessary so that you have proper blood circulation.  
You can do deep breathing exercises such as Pranayam. Starting your day with Pranayama will improve oxygen supply in your body, and once your vital organs receive a healthy supply of oxygen your blood pressure will regularise. You can also opt for exercises such as aerobics, jogging, walking, cycling, and light weightlifting. 

Do not make sudden movements such as, lift your head suddenly from below the heart, or get up quickly from a supine position. 

Yoga is suitable for you too if it involves twisting your body. 

Would you like to consult a doctor for Hypotension/Low Blood Pressure ?

Patient Experiences

Anil Dani
A Change of Lifestyle
I would like to share my experience with Dr. Neeraj Malik. I would say He is the best doctor that I have ever seen. He is now my family problem. Before 2 years, I used to get fever in almost every month and headache almost every week. I have consulted many doctors but did not get any solution. Then someone recommended me to Dr. Neeraj Malik. He is very polity and patient. He listen all my problem patiently and recommended some blood tests. Based on blood test report, he started medicine and those are really helpful. He also recommend to change the lifestyle and introduce a 50 min. daily walk. I am really feel better now. Recently also I have visited for my cough. Almost suffering from 1 month and consulting near by doctors, did not get any solution. Then Finally I reached to my favorite doctor. He prescribed the medicine. within 1 week I get relief. Once, I was badly suffered from Gas problem and got headache 1 full day and night. I had visited to him and got relief in 1 hour. In my opinion , He is the best doctor for me. He is very intelligent, polite. Listen every problem of patient with attention and solve all queries. Last but not least a best physician I have ever met. ...Read Less
Doctor in this story :Dr. Neeraj Malik
Amethyst Mediclinic
Narendra jatav
Relief From Hypotension
Harishchandra Naik
Treatment for Uncontrolled Diabetes
I am a patient of Uncontrolled Diabetes & BP, Gangrene & Peripheral Artirio Sclorosis, Lumber Spondylosis, Burning & numbness in both feet since 9 years. Specialist Doctors are advised surgery for amputation. But my brother in law Mr. Chandrakant Parab & Mr. Satyavan Bhogale advised for Dr. Laxman Jonwal. I have undergone NAP therapy & Medicine & got very good result in just 12 days. My diabetes well control & wound started healing. Dr. Laxman prevented my Surgery & Amputation. In 2 months wound completely healed. Thanks to Dr. Laxman & his team for their sincere efforts. I recommend people must take NAP Therapy before any surgery. It is very effective, Fast & safe...Read Less
Doctor in this story :Dr. Laxman G. Jonwal
Dr Jonwal's Niramay Ayush Panchkarm Health Institute & Research Centre
Madhuri devi
Hypotension and Continuous Pain in head
I have taken my mom to the Dr. Suman Mitra for low blood pressure and continous pain in her head. Dr has shown too much familiar behaviour and checked very well. Also he has not given too much medicine and advised as required so that disease can be cured easily....Read Less
Doctor in this story :Dr. Suman Mitra
Dr.Mitra's Chamber Lake Gardens

Questions answered by trusted doctors

Verified User
I am on my thyroid medicine for last one year. the first day I started taking medicine I was feeling dizziness and shortness of breath. Recently I came to know that I have low blood pressure 60/80. I feel headache and unconscious.I also had an ankle injury and at that only I was diagnosed with thyroid. please advice me
Dr. Vasundhara Mehrotra
Homeopath, Ghaziabad
Your blood pressure is alarmingly low.. You should first of all consult with your physician under whose guidance you are taking thyroid treatment and monitor your B.P. on daily basis for some time. It can be associated with low thyroid functioning . you can also go for a haemogram to assess your blood picture thoroughly... You may be anaemic as well too. Improve your diet in quality ... Like hv at least 2 glass of milk or curd daily. If you are a non vegetarian eat an egg daily... And please do not go for dieting or be calories conscious till the time you recover from your headaches and other problems.
Verified User
I feel giddiness when I do yoga asanas in which the head goes down like forward bending. However this giddiness remains only for a fraction of second and when I come up from the asan. As I do yoga regularly just wanted to ask if I can continue such asanas and ignore this problem
Dr. Rashmi T V
General Physician, Bangalore
Hi It could be due to dehydration .... Hydrate yourself adequately and continue yoga.... If you have doubt on varying blood pressure on change in position your blood pressure should be measured both in supine as well as in standing position....It could also be due to ENT problem ( BPPV ) .... Consult physician for examination and treatment....
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Did you know?

Hypotension can mean neurological disorders

Low blood pressure can be a sign of heart, endocrine or even signal neurological disorders.

Indian woman suffer from hypotension more than men

Many Indian women suffer from low blood pressure and also low hemoglobin compared to their male counterparts.

Lifestyle modifications can prevent hypotension

Certain lifestyle modifications can prevent low blood pressure from causing any major health problems.

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Home Remedies

Drink Beetroot Juice

To get rid of hypotension ( low blood pressure) drink a glass of beetroot juice twice everyday.

Drink Salt Water

Drinking salt water helps to treat low blood pressure as the sodium in the salt increases the blood pressure. Mix half a teaspoon of salt in a glass of water and drink. A word of caution, however, do not take too much salt as that can have adverse effects on your health.

Drink Almond Milk

Soak some almonds (around 20) overnight. Grind them to a smooth paste in the morning. Mix the paste to a cup of milk and have it with your breakfast. Continue drinking this till your blood pressure stabilizes.

Basil Leaves

Soak some basil leaves overnight and in the morning eat the leaves and drink the water. Basil leaves can can regulate your blood pressure since they contain vitamin C, magnesium, potassium, and pantothenic acid.

Epsom Salt Water Bath

If you feel your blood pressure is plummeting, put some epsom salt into your bath water. Take a refreshing bath for around ten to fifteen minutes and soak yourself completely in the water. This will not only bring your blood pressure down but will also relax you enough, so much so that you get sound sleep at night.

Keep Your Head Elevated While Sleeping

While sleeping, make sure you rest your head on at least two pillows (even three, i.e. in an elevated position) which will defy gravity and prevent too much blood from flowing away from your head.

Drink Pomegranate Juice

Munching on pomegranate or drinking its juice is highly beneficial for you if you suffer from hypotension.

Carrot Juice

Drinking carrot juice everyday with a pinch of salt and pepper can regularise your blood pressure.
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