Low blood pressure might seem desirable, and for some people, it causes no problems. However, for many people, abnormally low blood pressure (hypotension) can cause dizziness and fainting. In severe cases, low blood pressure can be life-threatening.
A blood pressure reading lower than 90 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) for the top number (systolic) or 60 mm Hg for the bottom number (diastolic) is generally considered low blood pressure.
The causes of low blood pressure can range from dehydration to serious medical or surgical disorders. It's important to find out what's causing your low blood pressure so that it can be treated.
For some people, low blood pressure signals an underlying problem, especially when it drops suddenly or is accompanied by signs and symptoms such as:
Dizziness or lightheadedness
Lack of concentration
Extreme hypotension can result in this life-threatening condition. Signs and symptoms include:
Confusion, especially in older people
Cold, clammy, pale skin
Rapid, shallow breathing
Weak and rapid pulse
When to see a doctor
If you have indications of shock, seek emergency medical help.
If you have consistently low blood pressure readings but feel fine, your doctor is likely just to monitor you during routine exams.
Even occasional dizziness or lightheadedness may be a relatively minor problem — the result of mild dehydration from too much time in the sun or a hot tub, for example. Still, it's important to see your doctor if you have signs or symptoms of hypotension because they can point to more serious problems. It can be helpful to keep a record of your symptoms, when they occur and what you're doing at the time.
Blood pressure is a measurement of the pressure in your arteries during the active and resting phases of each heartbeat.
Systolic pressure. The top number in a blood pressure reading is the amount of pressure your heart generates when pumping blood through your arteries to the rest of your body.
Diastolic pressure. The bottom number in a blood pressure reading refers to the amount of pressure in your arteries when your heart is at rest between beats.
Current guidelines identify normal blood pressure as lower than 120/80 mm Hg.
Throughout the day, blood pressure varies, depending on body position, breathing rhythm, stress level, physical condition, medications you take, what you eat and drink, and time of day. Blood pressure is usually lowest at night and rises sharply on waking.
Blood pressure: How low can you go?
What's considered low blood pressure for you may be normal for someone else. Most doctors consider blood pressure too low only if it causes symptoms.
Some experts define low blood pressure as readings lower than 90 mm Hg systolic or 60 mm Hg diastolic. If either number is below that, your pressure is lower than normal.
A sudden fall in blood pressure can be dangerous. A change of just 20 mm Hg — a drop from 110 systolic to 90 mm Hg systolic, for example — can cause dizziness and fainting when the brain fails to receive an adequate supply of blood. And big plunges, such as those caused by uncontrolled bleeding, severe infections or allergic reactions, can be life-threatening.
Conditions that can cause low blood pressure
Medical conditions that can cause low blood pressure include:
Pregnancy. Because the circulatory system expands rapidly during pregnancy, blood pressure is likely to drop. This is normal, and blood pressure usually returns to your pre-pregnancy level after you've given birth.
Heart problems. Some heart conditions that can lead to low blood pressure include extremely low heart rate (bradycardia), heart valve problems, heart attack, and heart failure.
Endocrine problems. Thyroid conditions such as parathyroid disease, adrenal insufficiency (Addison's disease), low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) and, in some cases, diabetes can trigger low blood pressure.
Dehydration. When your body loses more water than it takes in, it can cause weakness, dizziness, and fatigue. Fever, vomiting, severe diarrhea, overuse of diuretics and strenuous exercise can lead to dehydration.
Blood loss. Losing a lot of blood, such as from a major injury or internal bleeding, reduces the amount of blood in your body, leading to a severe drop in blood pressure.
Severe infection (septicemia). When an infection in the body enters the bloodstream, it can lead to a life-threatening drop in blood pressure called septic shock.
Severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis). Common triggers of this severe and potentially life-threatening reaction include foods, certain medications, insect venoms and latex. Anaphylaxis can cause breathing problems, hives, itching, a swollen throat and a dangerous drop in blood pressure.
Lack of nutrients in your diet. A lack of the vitamins B-12 and folate can keep your body from producing enough red blood cells (anemia), causing low blood pressure.
Medications that can cause low blood pressure
Some medications can cause low blood pressure, including:
Water pills (diuretics), such as furosemide (Lasix) and hydrochlorothiazide (Maxzide, Microzide, others)
Alpha blockers, such as prazosin (Minipress)
Beta blockers, such as atenolol (Tenormin) and propranolol (Inderal, Innopran XL, others)
Drugs for Parkinson's disease, such as pramipexole (Mirapex) or those containing levodopa
Certain types of antidepressants (tricyclic antidepressants), including doxepin (Silenor) and imipramine (Tofranil)
Drugs for erectile dysfunction, including sildenafil (Revatio, Viagra) or tadalafil (Adcirca, Cialis), particularly when taken with the heart medication nitroglycerin
Types of low blood pressure
Doctors often break down low blood pressure (hypotension) into categories, depending on the causes and other factors. Some types of low blood pressure include:
Low blood pressure on standing up (orthostatic, or postural, hypotension). This is a sudden drop in blood pressure when you stand up from a sitting position or after lying down.
Gravity causes blood to pool in your legs when you stand. Ordinarily, your body compensates by increasing your heart rate and constricting blood vessels, thereby ensuring that enough blood returns to your brain.
But in people with orthostatic hypotension, this compensating mechanism fails and blood pressure falls, leading to dizziness, lightheadedness, blurred vision, and even fainting.
Orthostatic hypotension can occur for various reasons, including dehydration, prolonged bed rest, pregnancy, diabetes, heart problems, burns, excessive heat, large varicose veins, and certain neurological disorders.
A number of medications also can cause orthostatic hypotension, particularly drugs used to treat high blood pressure — diuretics, beta-blockers, calcium channel blockers, and angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors — as well as antidepressants and drugs used to treat Parkinson's disease and erectile dysfunction.
Orthostatic hypotension is especially common in older adults, but it also affects young, otherwise healthy people who stand up suddenly after sitting with their legs crossed for long periods or after squatting for a time.
It's also possible to have delayed orthostatic hypotension, with signs and symptoms developing 5 to 10 minutes after a change in posture. This might be a milder form of the condition, or it could be an early stage of it.
Low blood pressure after eating (postprandial hypotension). This sudden drop in blood pressure after eating effects mostly older adults.
Blood flows to your digestive tract after you eat. Ordinarily, your body increases your heart rate and constricts certain blood vessels to help maintain normal blood pressure. But in some people these mechanisms fail, leading to dizziness, faintness, and falls.
Postprandial hypotension is more likely to affect people with high blood pressure or autonomic nervous system disorders such as Parkinson's disease.
Lowering the dose of blood pressure drugs and eating small, low-carbohydrate meals might help reduce symptoms.
Low blood pressure from faulty brain signals (neurally mediated hypotension). This disorder, which causes a blood pressure drop after standing for long periods, mostly affects young adults and children. It seems to occur because of a miscommunication between the heart and the brain.
Low blood pressure due to nervous system damage (multiple system atrophy with orthostatic hypotension). Also called Shy-Drager syndrome, this rare disorder causes progressive damage to the autonomic nervous system, which controls involuntary functions such as blood pressure, heart rate, breathing, and digestion. It's associated with having very high blood pressure while lying down.
Low blood pressure (hypotension) can occur in anyone, though certain types of low blood pressure are more common depending on your age or other factors:
Age. Drops in blood pressure on standing or after eating occur primarily in adults older than 65. Neurally mediated hypotension primarily affects children and younger adults.
Medications. People who take certain medications, for example, high blood pressure medications such as alpha-blockers, have a greater risk of low blood pressure.
Certain diseases. Parkinson's disease, diabetes, and some heart conditions put you at a greater risk of developing low blood pressure.
Even moderate forms of low blood pressure can cause dizziness, weakness, fainting and a risk of injury from falls.
And severely low blood pressure can deprive your body of enough oxygen to carry out its normal functions, leading to damage to your heart and brain.
A study by American scientists presented Wednesday supports the view that a substance in egg white has the ability to lower blood pressure without negative effects.Scientists reported that a component of egg whites, already popular as a substitute for whole eggs among health-conscious consumers concerned about cholesterol in the yolk may have another beneficial effect in reducing blood pressure, reports Science Daily.
Their study was part of the 245th National Meeting and Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS), the world's largest scientific society, which continues here through Thursday.
"Our research suggests that there may be another reason to call it 'the incredible, edible egg,'" said study leader Zhipeng Yu, Ph.D., of Jilin University.
"We have evidence from the laboratory that a substance in egg white -- it's a peptide, one of the building blocks of proteins -- reduces blood pressure about as much as a low dose of Captopril, a high-blood-pressure drug," Zhipeng Yu said.
Yu and colleagues, who are with Clemson University, used a peptide called RVPSL. Scientists previously discovered that the substance, like the family of medications that includes Captopril, Vasotec and Monopril, was an angiotensin-converting-enzyme (ACE) inhibitor.
It has a powerful ability to inhibit or block the action of ACE, a substance produced in the body that raises blood pressure.
The results of feeding the substance were positive, showing that RVPSL did not have apparent toxic effects and lowered blood pressure by amounts comparable to low doses of Captopril.
Eggs make for an important part of our breakfast and are known for their many health benefits; moreover, they are versatile. They can be made in to an omelette or can be scrambled, boiled, fried or just about anything. However, there has been a constant debate on how eggs also contribute to increased cholesterol level that is generally found in the egg yolk, which is why most people opt for only egg whites. Eating only egg whites instead of whole may lower the amount of calories, fat and saturated fats you consume. We reveal some benefits the much neglected egg whites have.1. Cholesterol-Free
Once you have removed the egg yolk, the egg is left with no cholesterol content. Therefore, anyone who has high cholesterol levels can eat egg whites, leaving lesser chances of developing heart disease risk or elevation of cholesterol levels.
2. Rich In Protein
Whole eggs top the charts in terms of protein content, courtesy egg yolk. However, egg whites also tend to have generous amount of low-fat protein that is beneficial for the body. High quality protein helps build muscles and also helps you cut down on cravings and hunger pangs by keeping you fuller for long.
3. Low-Calorie Food
Egg is not a high-calorie food in the first place; therefore, cutting the yolk out of the meal would only mean you are adding even lesser calories. So if you are looking to lose weight, make sure you opt for egg whites rather than the whole egg.
4. Helps In Maintaining Blood Pressure
The presence of potassium in an egg white may help reduce and maintain blood pressure levels. Potassium is a mineral and electrolyte that is associated with heart and bone health along with the proper functioning of the body. According to a study by American Chemical Society, egg white contains a peptide called RVPSL, which is a component of protein that helps reduce blood pressure levels.
5. Helps Lower The Risk Of Cardiovascular Diseases
Potassium helps in lowering blood pressure, which in turn can avert any cardiovascular diseases. It works by promoting vasodilation, a process in which blood vessels widen, which allows smooth blood flow and prevent any chances of clogging.
6. Contains Essential Vitamins
Egg whites contain essential vitamins like A, B-12 and D. One of the most important vitamins is riboflavin, also known as vitamin B2, is necessary for preventing various conditions like age-related macular degeneration, cataracts and migraine headaches.
Add egg whites to salads, make omelettes or scramble it; eat it anyway you'd like. Have an egg-cellent day!
Blood pressure is one of the most common conditions in India. It is said that one in every three Indians are suffering from hypertension and heart ailments. High blood pressure is a silent killer; in fact, according to the National Centre For Biotechnology Information (NCBI), blood pressure shows seasonal variation. It is the pressure exerted by the blood against the walls of the arteries. It tends to damage the body's blood vessels, thus causing kidney diseases, heart afflictions and other health problems. Blood pressure should be taken care of, especially during summers as it tends to fluctuate more often. We give you some expert tips on managing blood pressure with healthy summer foods.According to Parmeet Kaur, Dietitian, Narayana Hrudayalaya, "The hypertension diet should have foods with high magnesium, potassium and fibre content in it. They should be necessarily low in sodium."
Here are the summer foods for managing blood pressure as suggested by Parmeet Kaur.
All berries are loaded with heart-healthy compounds called flavonoids. The antioxidant rich fruit may help lower blood pressure, as per a study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Add blueberries, strawberries, et al to your daily diet.
2. Skimmed milk
Skimmed milk is rich in calcium and vitamin D, two of which work as a team to help reduce blood pressure naturally. According to National Health Service, UK, drinking a glass of skimmed milk a day can cut blood pressure by upto a one third. So gulp down a glass of skimmed milk daily in order to reap maximum benefits.
According to a study presented at the American Heart Association (AHA), women who consumed five or more servings of yogurt a week had a lower risk of developing high blood pressure than similar women who hardly ever ate yogurt. So load up on chilled yogurt every day and enjoy a healthful life.
According to a study published in the American Journal of Hypertension, watermelon could significantly reduce blood pressure in overweight individuals both at rest and while under stress. The pressure on the aorta and on the heart reduced after the consumption of watermelon.
This tropical fruit is super rich in potassium and even more easy to include in your daily diet. One banana provides one percent of calcium, eight percent of magnesium and 12 percent of potassium that you need every day.
According to a report presented in the American Heart Association (AHA), kiwis may naturally lower blood pressure. Three kiwis a day could keep high blood pressure at bay. So toss kiwis in your salads and stave off any risk of high blood pressure.
Parmeet Kaur adds, "Foods rich in omega 3 fatty acids include fatty fish such as salmon, herring, mackerel, tuna, etc. These foods cut down the triglyceride count and reduce inflammation."
While high blood pressure is much talked about and people are aware of its symptoms and effects, not many know about low blood pressure.
In fact, it affects a large number of people worldwide. Very often people don't realise they are suffering from it and often dismiss it as an one-off case of feeling dizzy or ill. It could be a sign of a serious issue with the heart, endocrine or even signal neurological disorders. Severe low blood pressure can block oxygen and vital nutrients from flowing to the brain and hence shouldn't be taken lightly.
There can be plenty of reasons why you may be suffering from low blood pressure.
Dehydration: Drinking enough water is extremely essential for your well-being. If you are one of those who gets dehydrated easily, you must do something about it. One needs to drink more fluids than one loses. If you are one of those who works outdoors, ensure you keep sipping on liquids like nimbu paani. This will help keep the weakness in check.
Pregnancy: If you are pregnant, there's a good chance your pressure might drop. This is normal but get yourself checked if it becomes too frequent.
Heart issues: Some heart problems could cause blood in your body to not circulate properly.
Deficiency of nutrients: A lack of some essential vitamins such as B-12 and iron can lead to anaemia, which is turn can result in low blood pressure.
- Increase your salt intake: Generally people are told to avoid using too much salt in their diet. For people suffering from low blood pressure, salt can help. Check with your doctor though before turning to salty foods.
- Drink more water: Water is necessary for your basic body functioning. It also helps prevent dehydration. Don't forget to increase your water intake if you're constantly feeling giddy.
Home remedies: Take a cup of the raw beetroot juice twice daily. It is one of the best home remedies for low blood pressure. Drinking a cup of strong black coffee can also help. Some people suggest making a paste of almonds and drinking with lukewarm milk.
Exercise: Include a little exercise in your daily regime. A walk or a quick swim can help circulate the blood.