Categories: Blood Pressure

Low Blood Pressure – When Should You See a Doctor?

What is blood pressure:

The heart pumps oxygen-rich blood to all parts of the body through the arteries. In this process, the blood pushes against the walls of the blood vessels and the amount of pressure required to pump this is called blood pressure. When the blood pressure is too high, the flow of blood exerts pressure on the walls of the blood vessels. This could result in heart attacks, strokes & damage the kidneys.

Likewise, when the blood pressure is too low, it could result in reducing the rate of supply of oxygenated blood to vital organs in the body. While having low blood pressure is always good, the patient could suffer from severe conditions when left untreated. The symptoms of low blood pressure are often not that visible, but to get an accurate measurement of blood pressure, the patient would have to visit a medical facility or use the DIY sphygmomanometer.

Causes of Low Blood Pressure:

The most common causes that present the signs of low blood pressure are:

Pregnancy:

Pregnant women who are into their 24th week of the gestation period often show signs of low blood pressure. While this is a common symptom, patients are advised to visit the doctor if there is any uneasiness for prolonged durations as it may be fatal to the fetus and the mother if left untreated.

Standing for long durations:

In a few cases, people experience fatigue and dizziness after standing for long durations. This is called neurally mediated hypotension. In this condition, the blood pressure drops as an effect of the miscommunication between the heart and the brain. Normally when a person is asleep, the body significantly reduces the blood pressure and runs on limited functionality. When a person is asleep, the brain does not send electrical impulses to various parts of the body to stimulate them and this is the miscommunication that sometimes occurs between the heart and the brain when a person stands for long durations.

Loss of blood/fluid:

Loss of blood due to an external injury or excessive bleeding either internally or externally can cause blood pressure to drop. Few cases of diarrhoea and vomiting also leave the patient drained of bodily fluids, in these cases, the patient suffers from dehydration and could experience low blood pressure symptoms.

Anaphylactic shock:

An Anaphylactic shock is when the body releases excessive amounts of histamine & other immunological substances as a countermeasure for an allergic reaction caused by an antigen, for example a bee sting/medicine/food items etc. In this, the body goes into a state of shock and the body exhibits symptoms that include nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, and a weak pulse.

Most patients are allergic to shellfish, nuts, peanut butter, sunflower seeds, and taking necessary precautions to avoid an anaphylactic shock goes a long way in preventing any signs of low blood pressure.

Lack of vitamin B-12:

The presence of acute levels of Vitamin B-12 in the body can make the pulse weak and cause low blood pressure in patients. Including food like chicken, salmon, beef, cheese, and yoghurt in your diet ensures a steady supply of Vitamin B-12 to the body.

Medication:

Symptoms of low blood pressure are often exhibited as a side-effect when a patient undergoes intensive treatment for Hypertension, Parkinson’s, and cardiovascular treatments. Low blood pressure also occurs when the patient is on blood thinners, beta-blockers, or when they are treating erectile dysfunctions.

Patients undergoing treatment for high blood pressure sometimes see this as a side effect when a few over the counter drugs react with the current medication regime.

When to see a doctor:

Most symptoms caused by low blood pressure appear only for small durations and are often self-limiting. However, in cases when the symptoms are shown for longer durations, it is imperative to consult a doctor to understand the severity of the condition and the treatment plan.

Symptoms of low blood pressure are:

  • Fatigue
  • Diarrhoea
  • Fainting
  • Unable to concentrate
  • Unable to focus
  • Blurred vision
  • Depression
  • Mood swings
  • Vomiting

The body is designed to keep the blood pressure low. However, if you notice that the blood pressure drops below the normal blood pressure reading of 120/80mmhg and your body is exhibiting one of these symptoms at the time, consult a doctor immediately as negligence in this could cause anaphylactic shocks, heart strokes, and temporary or permanent brain damage.

Dr. Rajendra N.S, Consultant – Cardiology – Adult | Narayana Multispeciality Clinic, Mysore and Narayana Multispeciality Hospital, Mysore

Narayana Health

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