Hypotension is the medical term for low blood pressure. A blood pressure measurement below 90/60 mmHg is considered low blood pressure. It is important to note that hypotension is not necessarily a medical condition but can be a symptom of an underlying condition. This blog discusses hypotension, its causes, and treatment options.
Symptoms of Hypotension
Hypertension can often be defined as experiencing a systolic blood pressure value of less than 90 millimetres of mercury or having a diastolic blood pressure value of less than 60 mmHg. However, hypotension symptoms vary depending on the individual and their baseline blood pressure.
- Diarrhoea or vomiting
- Blurry vision
It is important to note that some people with hypotension may not experience any symptoms. Additionally, symptoms of Hypotension may come and go and can be triggered by factors such as standing up too quickly, dehydration, or prolonged periods of standing. If a person experiences any of these symptoms, it is essential to consult a physician to determine the underlying cause and appropriate treatment.
Tests for Hypotension
Several tests can be done to diagnose hypotension or low blood pressure. These tests can help determine the condition’s underlying cause and guide appropriate treatment.
Some common tests for hypotension include:
- Blood pressure measurement: This is the most common test for hypotension. A healthcare provider uses a blood pressure cuff and a stethoscope to measure the pressure in the arteries.
- Electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG): This test measures the heart’s electrical activity to detect any irregularities in heart rhythm or function.
- Echocardiogram: This test uses ultrasound waves to create heart images, allowing healthcare providers to assess heart function and structure.
- Tilt table test: This test is used to diagnose orthostatic hypotension, which occurs when standing up. During a tilt table test, a person is strapped to a table tilted to an upright position while their blood pressure and heart rate are monitored.
- Blood tests: Blood tests can help to identify underlying medical conditions that may be causing hypotension, such as anaemia or hypothyroidism.
Causes of Hypotension
Conditions that cause hypotension can be due to medications, improper lifestyle, age, etc. These causes also include temporary causes and permanent (and more severe causes).
Temporary causes are:
- Blood loss
- Sudden shock
- Prolonged rest
- Blood donation
- Emotional stress
Orthostatic hypotension occurs when a person stands up too rapidly, and the body cannot adjust by increasing the blood supply to the brain.
Permanent causes are of a more severe kind and include:
- Heart problems such as heart attack, heart failure, etc.
- Septicemia, which means severe infection
- Lack of nutrients
- Allergic reactions, which means severe reaction to an allergy
- Anti-anxiety medications or other medicines
- Endocrine problems, such as Addison’s disease or thyroid disorders
- Hormone-related diseases
- Kidney diseases
Treatment Options for Hypotension
There are numerous treatment options available depending on age and health.
- Change eating habits: One should eat more healthy and high-sodium foods daily.
- Stay hydrated: Intaking more fluid through any means throughout the day prevents the person from having low blood pressure due to dehydration.
- Avoid resting for too long: If a person has low blood pressure after standing for an extended time, consider stretching leg muscles and moving in place. Sit down whenever possible.
- Wear compression socks: These elastic stockings, also known as support stockings, are often used to treat the discomfort and swelling caused by varicose veins. They increase the flow of blood from the legs to the heart. Some people find that elastic belly binders are more comfortable than compression stockings.
Risk Factors for Hypotension
While hypotension may occur in anybody, several variables might increase the likelihood of getting hypotension. Some of the most prevalent risk factors for hypotension are:
- Age: The chances of developing low blood pressure increase as a person ages. Postural hypotension affects 10-20% of adults over the age of 65.
- Medicines: Blood pressure drugs, such as alpha-blockers, can result in hypotension.
- Diseases: Diabetes and Parkinson’s are two medical diseases that might raise the risk of hypotension.
- Genetics: Some people may be genetically susceptible to low blood pressure.
Medication for Hypotension
Several medications can be used to treat hypotension, depending on the underlying cause of low blood pressure. One of the medications recommended for hypotension include:
- Midodrine: This medication helps to increase blood pressure by constricting the blood vessels.
Medications should only be used under the supervision of a healthcare expert because they might have adverse effects and interact with other drugs. The doctor can guide the patient in determining the most appropriate medicine and the correct dosage.
When to Consult a Doctor
You can also get in touch with the expert cardiology doctors at Narayana Healthcare based in your city to get immediate attention and medical support during injuries, health disorders or any other health concern.
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In conclusion, hypotension may be less discussed than hypertension, but it still deserves our attention and understanding. From the signs and symptoms to the causes and treatment options, there is much to learn about this often-overlooked condition. By staying hydrated, maintaining a healthy diet, and seeking medical advice when necessary, those living with hypotension can manage their symptoms and lead fulfilling lives. Remember, knowledge is power, and by understanding hypotension, we can take steps towards maintaining a healthy balance in our bodies.
Q. What is hypotension?
A. A person who experiences hypotension has lower blood pressure than normal. This requires the heart to pump blood more forcefully, which can result in symptoms such as lightheadedness and fainting.
Q. What causes hypotension?
A. Numerous conditions, such as dehydration, blood loss, cardiac issues, certain drugs, and neurological diseases, can result in hypotension. Hypotension can occasionally have an unexplained origin.
Q. What are the common symptoms of hypotension?
A. Tiredness, fainting, fatigue, nausea, blurred vision, and disorientation are typical hypotension symptoms. In extreme circumstances, hypotension can cause shock, which risks one’s life.
Q. How is hypotension diagnosed?
A. By utilising a blood pressure cuff to measure a person’s blood pressure, hypotension can be identified. A diagnosis may also need a physical examination, blood tests, and other diagnostic methods to find the root cause of the hypotension.
Q. What is the treatment for hypotension?
A. The underlying cause of hypotension determines the course of treatment. For instance, increasing fluid intake may be necessary if dehydration is the root of the hypotension. The person might require a blood transfusion if blood loss is the root of the problem. Blood pressure can sometimes be raised with the help of drugs such as vasopressors.