How Can Low Blood Pressure (Hypotension) Affects The Body?

How Can Low Blood Pressure (Hypotension) Affects The Body?

Blood pressure is the force exerted by your blood as it moves from your heart to other parts of the body through arteries.  It is low blood pressure when your blood flow occurs at a pressure lower than what it is supposed to. The medical term for low blood pressure is hypotension. Blood pressure refers to the force exerted by the blood on the walls of arteries as the heart pumps it around. Commonly, you will see two numbers joined by a slash; for instance, 120/80 mm Hg. The values are expressed in millimetres of mercury (mm Hg), with systolic listed first and then diastolic. A normal adult’s BP usually reads less than 120/80 mm Hg. When a person’s BP drops below 90/60 mm Hg, this is referred to as low blood pressure. Low blood pressure (hypotension) affects the body in different ways which we will discuss further.

What does low blood pressure mean?

Low blood pressure means less than 90/60 mm Hg. Normal BP is anything above this and up to 120/80 mm Hg.

Types of low blood pressure (Hypotension)

There are different kinds of hypotension.

  1. Postural hypotension or orthostatic hypotension:

    These occasionally sudden falls in blood pressure mostly occur when one gets up from bed or chair and tries to stand straight away from a sitting or lying position. This is called postural hypotension or orthostatic hypotension, and this happens because there may be an abnormality in how our cardiovascular or nervous system fails to deal well with rapid changes in positions like standing up out of bed altogether. Typically, about 10–20% of those aged more than 65 years suffer from postural hypertension.

  2. Neurally mediated low blood pressure:

    This form could arise from standing up for extended periods, and it is believed that it originates through communication problems between the brain and heart, which has a high prevalence among youth in general terms.

  3. Postprandial hypotension:

    Postprandial hypotension is a drop in blood pressure that occurs after 1 or 2 hours of eating. It mostly affects the elderly, especially those with high blood pressure or autonomic nervous system diseases like Parkinson’s disease. The symptoms may be reduced through eating small carbohydrate meals, increasing water intake, and avoiding alcohol.

  4. Multiple system atrophy with orthostatic hypotension:

    It is also called Shy-Drager syndrome and is an uncommon condition that affects the involuntary functions of the nervous system, controlling blood pressure, heart rate, breathing, and digestion. While lying down, it will be associated with very high blood pressure.

What causes low blood pressure?

Low blood pressure (hypotension) affects the body by making it weak and vulnerable to other diseases. The causes of low blood pressure are as follows:

  1. Blood loss: Blood loss from an injury can also cause hypotension. If there is low blood volume in the body, it is possible to have low blood pressure.
  2. Dehydration: Less consumption of water results in low blood pressure. Therefore, doctors assist you in drinking water as much as you can. In summer, the risk of dehydration increases, as does the risk of low blood pressure.
  3. Diabetes: High blood sugar levels can affect the nerves in the body. Nerve function is affected by autonomic neuropathy, which causes low blood pressure.
  4. Pregnancy: Complications that occur in pregnancy can also cause hypotension. During pregnancy, orthostatic hypotension is likely to occur.
  5. Heart and lung problems: If the heart is pumping blood either too fast or too slowly, this phenomenon causes hypotension. There can be problems in the lungs too. There can be chances of heart failure. 

What are the symptoms of low blood pressure?

Low blood pressure (hypotension) affects the body through symptoms, that include:

  1. The person might have difficulties balancing, or they may also feel that their head is spinning.
  2. In some cases, people become unconscious or collapse with hypotensive symptoms (syncope).
  3. Other symptoms of decreased blood flow to the brain may include vomiting and nausea.
  4. Distortion or blurriness in vision denotes less than optimal eyesight.
  5. A person’s breathing becomes faster but shallower.
  6. Fatigue and weakness can manifest as tiredness and sluggishness.
  7. Confusion is one of the signs of having a low attention span.
  8. The other indicators are restlessness or other unusual behaviours (an individual not acting normally, for instance).

The effects on people experiencing the above depend on why it occurs, how quickly it develops, and what causes it. Hypotension increases naturally with age since there is a tendency for a gradual decrease in blood pressure. An unexpectedly sudden drop in your BP could indicate inadequate blood flow to specific areas. That gives rise to results that are not desirable, disturbing, or even risky.

Ordinarily, your body has mechanisms that automatically regulate your blood pressure, thus making sure that it does not fall too much. For example, if a decline sets in, there will be an instant increase in heartbeats to compensate while some vessels tighten up, thereby inhibiting the free flow of blood through them. The inability to adjust the falling BP levels leads to clinical expressions indicative of this particular state.

For most patients suffering from hypotension, there are no symptoms evident. Low readings do not become apparent until they are self-measured by many individuals themselves

What should you do if you have symptoms of low blood pressure?

Some symptoms will be relieved by sitting down. If the blood pressure decreases too low, then the vital organs in your body do not receive enough oxygen and nutrients, and that is when low blood pressure can result in shock, which needs immediate medical care. This needs to be done as fast as possible since these symptoms include cold and sweaty skin, a rapid breathing rate, bluish discolouration of the skin, or weak pounding heartbeats. Should you notice any signs of shock in you or another person, make a point of calling 9-1-1.

Consult your doctor regarding your symptoms. The doctor uses blood pressure measurements to establish this condition. There could also be other exams, such as urine/blood tests or radiology examinations, like tilt table tests if you experience fainting frequently. Don’t ignore the symptoms; ignoring small medical conditions can result in big problems. 

How is low blood pressure (Hypotension) can be treated?

There are times when treating low blood pressure may not be necessary. Depending on how you feel, the doctor may recommend that you take more fluids to prevent dehydration, review your medications, or increase them in case it is a requirement to treat low pressure.

Lifestyle modifications can also help. Your physician might consider dietary adjustments and changes in sitting/standing habits. The doctor can also suggest using a support hose while standing for long periods. Hypertension treatment at Greenwood Village can easily be done at Millennium Park Medical Associates. We are capable of treating low blood pressure and assisting you in your journey of hypotension treatment.

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