Symptoms Of Low Blood Pressure

What Are The Symptoms Of Low Blood Pressure?

In many normal people there are no symptoms of low blood pressure. When symptoms do exist they are most commonly…

  • Lightheadedness
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting

Often these occur when rising to a sitting or standing position. These symptoms often accompany standing because blood settles in the veins of the lower body. This settling can momentarily lower blood pressure depriving the brain of sufficient oxygen. 

This temporary lowering of blood pressure is known as orthostatic hypotension. It is not a serious condition and requires no treatment. By sitting or lying down sufficient blood returns to the brain supplying it with oxygen thereby relieving the symptoms of low blood pressure. The biggest danger associated with orthostatic hypotension is injury from falling and is a greater risk for the elderly. 

Some people experience similar symptoms after eating. This condition is known as postprandial hypotension and occurs more often in older people. Interestingly postprandial hypotension often affects people with high blood pressure, Parkinson’s disease, or diabetes. 

After eating the intestines need a large amount of blood to assist in digestion. The body responds by increasing heart rate and constricting blood vessels in other parts of the body. In some people the heart rate may not increase sufficiently to maintain blood pressure. The brain is deprived of adequate oxygen producing dizziness. 

In such cases lying down after eating can help reduce the symptoms. Eating smaller meals can also help. 

Other symptoms of low blood pressure may be a response to the body’s attempt to raise pressure to certain parts of the body. For example the arterioles may constrict depriving the feet, hands, and skin of adequate blood supply. These areas may feel cold and even turn blue. 

Increasing heart rate is one way the body attempts to raise blood pressure. The faster, stronger heart rate may cause palpitations.

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Indicators Of A More Serious Problem

There are times (they are less common) when the symptoms of low blood pressure can indicate a more serious problem.

When blood pressure is insufficient to adequately supply the heart with needed nutriments and oxygen other symptoms may appear, such as shortness of breath or angina.

Angina is an indication of a chronic and often serious underlying condition.

Whether angina is caused by low blood pressure or vascular blockage it must not be ignored. 

As with the heart, other organs may be affected. Symptoms associated with organ failure may ultimately be caused by insufficient blood supply. The inadequate blood supply may be caused by low blood pressure. However it may be caused by something else such as blockage. 

In extreme cases – such as serious injury – blood pressure may drop sufficiently to cause shock. Shock is a life-threatening condition in which blood pressure is too low for the body to keep functioning. The symptoms of low blood pressure associated with shock are…

  • Lethargy
  • Sleepiness
  • Confusion

The skin may become…

  • Cold
  • Sweaty
  • Bluish
  • Pale
Again, shock is an extreme situation. In most cases the symptoms of low pressure do not indicate a serious condition. However, there are times when low blood pressure affects the proper functioning of major organs. In such cases it is very important to treat the underlying cause of insufficient blood supply. 

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