Hypotension (Low Blood Pressure): Causes,Symptoms, Risks,Control,Types
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Hypotension (Low Blood Pressure): Causes, Symptoms, Risks & Control

Low Blood Pressure Overview

Low blood pressure is a difficult clinical finding to identify both by doctors and healthcare professionals. While high blood pressure is addressed as the ‘silent killer’, not having any symptoms associated with hypotension may be normal for the patient. However, with an abnormal body functioning and when symptoms start showing, it can be dangerous.

A blood pressure reading of lower than 90/60 mmHg is considered low blood pressure. The causes of low blood pressure vary from simple dehydration to some life-threatening conditions. Hence, it is very important to find out the causes of low blood pressure.

Low Blood Pressure Symptoms

For a few people, hypotension indicates an underlying problem, especially when it falls suddenly or is associated with some signs and symptoms. Few examples are:

  • Dizziness
  • Blurred vision
  • Fainting
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Lack of concentration

Extreme hypotension may result in this life-threatening situation of Shock. Signs and symptoms of shock include:

  • Cold and pale skin
  • Confusing behaviour
  • Weak pulse
  • Rapid and shallow breathing

If you have any indication of shock, you are immediately advised to consult a doctor.

Causes of Low Blood Pressure (Hypotesnion)

Everyone’s blood pressure may fall at one time or another. However, it often does not cause any detectable symptoms. Few conditions can cause long term hypotension that may become dangerous if left untreated. These causes include:

  • Pregnancy – The circulatory system expands rapidly during pregnancy, and blood pressure decreases gradually.

  • Endocrine problems – Thyroid disorders such as parathyroid, adrenal insufficiency, hypoglycaemia, and diabetes may trigger your blood pressure and drop it down.

  • Heart problems – Low heart rate, heart valves problems, heart failure, and heart attack are some heart related problems which can lower your blood pressure.

  • Blood loss – Losing a lot of blood via any injury or internal bleeding reduces the amount of blood in the body and causes low blood pressure.

  • Dehydration – When the amount of water reduces in the body, it may cause dizziness and fatigue.
  • Septicaemia (severe infection) – When an infection enters the bloodstream, it can lead to life-threatening low blood pressure known as shock.

  • Anaphylaxis – Anaphylaxis or allergic reactions can cause breathing problems, itching, hives and a severe drop in blood pressure. Items like certain food allergens, medication, venom, etc. can cause allergy.

  • Insufficient nutrients in the diet – Lack of vitamin B12 and folate can trigger the production of red blood cells causing hypotension.

Types of Low Blood Pressure 

Types of low blood pressure are categorized depending on the causes and certain other factors.

  • Orthostatic Hypotension

    It is the fall in blood pressure when your position i.e. from sitting or lying down to standing changes. This type of hypotension can occur in all age groups.
    As the body adjusts itself to the position change, there may be a period of dizziness.
    Orthostatic hypotension can occur for various reasons, some of them include dehydration, long term bed rest, pregnancy, heart problems, diabetes, excessive heat or large varicose veins.

  • Postprandial hypotension

    A sudden drop in blood pressure after eating may be another cause. Blood flows in your gastro-intestinal tract after you eat. This mostly affects older people. The body increases the heart rate and constricts a few blood vessels and helps in maintaining normal blood pressure. In some people, this mechanism fails which may lead to dizziness or fainting.
    Postprandial hypotension is most likely to affect individuals with high blood pressure and autonomic nervous system disorder.

  • Neurally Mediated Hypotension

    This type of hypotension occurs when an individual may stand for a long time. It mostly affects young adults and children and it seems to occur because of a miss-communication between the brain and heart.

Risk Factors of Low Blood Pressure (Hypotension)

Low blood pressure or hypotension can occur in anyone. Certain type of blood pressure are common depending on the few following risk factors:

  • Age – Fall in blood pressure after eating or while standing usually happen in adults older than 60 years. Neutrally mediated low blood pressure affects children and younger adults.

  • Certain diseases – Diabetes, Parkinson’s disease and heart-related problems can put you at a greater risk of having adapting low blood pressure.

  • Medications – Individuals who take drugs or medications are at a higher risk of having blood pressure.

How to Control Low Blood Pressure/Hypotension

Depending on the reason of hypotension, you can reduce or control the chances of having low blood pressure.

  • More water, less alcohol

    Alcohol can cause dehydration to your body and lower your blood pressure. On the other hand, water combats dehydration by increasing blood volume and balance blood pressure.

  • Healthy diet

    Consume all the nutrients you need for good health by focusing on various food items like whole grains, fruits, vegetables, chicken and fish.

  • Pay Attention to Your Body Positioning

    Move gently from a squatting or prone to a standing position. Avoid sitting with your legs crossed. When waking up in the morning, take deep breathes for a few minutes and then slowly sit. Sleeping with the head of the bed a little elevated can help fight against gravity.

  • Eat Small And Low Carb- Meal
    To prevent low blood pressure from falling sharply after meals, eat less portion several times and eat limited carbohydrate foods.

Note: Always consult with your physician for exact information (or before the test).

Complications of Low Blood Pressure

Blood supplies oxygen to the whole body and low blood pressure can cause a decrease in blood supply. In many cases, the heart and brain may get damaged due to low oxygen leading to coma.

Also, hypotension can cause shock which occurs due to a sudden drop in blood pressure or blood volume. Shock can be a life-threatening condition and it requires immediate medical treatment. This is also known as hypotensive emergency. It occurs due to some conditions like anaphylaxis, severe burns or sepsis.

Note: Always consult your physician before further treatment.

Data Sources:


Diagnostic and Pathology Tests Available At House of Diagnostics (HOD).



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Hypotension (Low Blood Pressure): Causes,Symptoms, Risks,Control,Types
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Hypotension (Low Blood Pressure): Causes,Symptoms, Risks,Control,Types
Read low BP symptoms, causes, risks, types and how to control. Hypotension is the medical term for low blood pressure (less than 90/60). A blood pressure reading appears as two numbers. The first and higher of the two is a measure of systolic pressure, or the pressure in the arteries when the heart beats and fills them with blood.
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