What is a Low Blood Pressure Reading?
Blood pressure is, for many, a constant source of tiresome confusion, apprehension, but today, more than ever, most households have the ability to take a person’s blood pressure at home. Blood pressure monitor a type of medical equipment that you can always have at home.
Most of the time, the concern is high blood pressure. It is common knowledge these days that high blood pressure is not only uncomfortable but can be quite dangerous as well.
But others learn, sometimes to their surprise, that they have low blood pressure. Since blood pressure can vary from one moment to the next, one simple reading is seldom enough to ascertain the average condition. If the blood pressure numbers are not in line with the norm, then most physicians advise sitting quietly for five minutes before taking the pressure a second time. This may be repeated again at intervals, in case of confusion or questions.
But just what is considered low blood pressure? Medically referred to as hypotension, the majority of medical opinion considers low blood pressure to be a reading dropping below 90 mm Hg systolic (the top number) and/or 60 mm Hg diastolic (the low number). However, the patient need know only one of these numbers to realize the blood pressure may be considered low.
To further complicate matters, since we are all different, what would be low blood pressure in one individual may be perfectly normal blood pressure in another. Many doctors will tell a patient that low blood pressure will only cause a problem when the patient feels faint and may even collapse.
A more dangerous possibility is when the blood pressure takes a sudden dramatic drop. Even a drop of 20 mm Hg may cause dizziness and fainting from lack of blood to the brain. Of course when severe trauma is involved, such as extensive bleeding, some infections and reactions to allergies, can be so severe as to be considered life-threatening.
There can be a number of differing causes for low blood pressure
Generally speaking, people who lead an active lifestyle, stay fit, walk a good deal and follow a regime of regular exercise, will have not only a lower heart rate but a lower blood pressure. Non-smoking too as well as a healthful diet all combine to help keep a person fit and maintain a normal weight range.
However, in some rare cases, having low blood pressure can be a sign of a possible life-threatening condition. Therefore it is important, when after monitoring blood pressure at home, to consult a physician bringing along notes regarding the times and blood pressure readings.
Some of the Conditions that may cause Low Blood Pressure
Often pregnant women have lower blood pressure because of the rapid expansion of their circulatory systems. Normally, after haven given birth, all returns to normal.
Dehydration is a common, often overlooked cause of low blood pressure. Our bodies are composed mostly of water and we need every drop of it. When a person fails to take in enough water every day, the body begins to suffer for it. Although many fail to notice this unless they become so severely dehydrated that they feel dizzy, faint and extremely tired. Lack of sufficient water can also trigger unexpected results such as diarrhea, vomiting; even a fever.
In a worst-case scenario, a life-threatening result of dehydration, called by the medical profession hypovolemic shock, is caused by a sudden drop in blood pressure due to low blood volume and lack of oxygen. Untreated, hypovolemic shock can cause death in a matter of minutes.
Many, in particular older persons, suffer from a variety of heart conditions. Some of these can and do lead to low blood pressure combined with an extremely low heart rate, valve problems and finally a heart attack or even heart failure.
Other causes can be gland disorders, such as the thyroid, low blood sugar, and often, diabetes.
Massive loss of blood, of course, will cause low blood pressure, as can some severe infections. Commonly referred to as “blood poisoning” septicemia and its accompanying drop in blood pressure, can also throw the entire body into septic shock.
It is not unusual for some persons to suffer a severe allergic reaction to a variety of medicines, foods, insect bites and many other possible causes.
Finally, a diet lacking in proper nutrients can also lead to low blood pressure along with ancillary non-healthful conditions.
If the person suffers from low blood pressure shortly after a meal, it may be preferable to eat smaller quantities, and more frequently if necessary.
For most persons, low blood pressure should present no particular difficulty, but it is important to consult a physician just to be certain everyone knows exactly what is going on.