Low blood pressure (Hypotension)

While high blood pressure (hypertension) is much more common in our society, there are those who suffer from lower blood pressure, also called hypotension.

For some people, having a blood pressure reading that is low doesn’t pose any problems or risk to their health. This is determined by asking two questions:

1) What is your blood pressure when you are feeling well and healthy?

2) Do you have symptoms that may be attributed to lower blood pressure?

If your blood pressure is ‘low’ when you are in good health it is less likely to be of concern. If you never have any symptoms, such as dizziness, when moving from lying to standing or sitting to standing even with lower blood pressure it’s not likely to be of concern.

If you are experiencing symptoms due to hypotension, you may find it to be a persistent problem that requires ongoing management. Or, it may be a short-lived problem that either resolves itself or is resolved as a result of improvement in other areas of your health.

Low blood pressure symptoms may include:

  • Feeling dizzy,
  • Feeling lightheaded,
  • Being low on energy
  • Or if severe may even result in fainting or losing consciousness.

If you are experiencing the symptoms of lower blood pressure it is important that you see your doctor to be assessed.

Fainting and loss of consciousness can be dangerous, not just due to the cause, but because fainting can lead to accidents, falling, and injury.

For example, some people suffer from fainting episodes due to stress, others experience it during panic attacks and yet others may experience it when straining to urinate or pass a bowel action. While in these instances the underlying cause of the fainting is not harmful, if a person loses consciousness while driving or if they fall and hit their head, serious harm can occur.

The same is true for people with lower blood pressure: regardless of whether the reason the blood pressure is low is harmful or dangerous, the consequences of lower blood pressure causing dizziness or fainting can be severe and at time fatal.

What is considered low blood pressure?

The average blood pressure for healthy males is 120/80. The top number is the ‘systolic’ and the bottom number is the ‘diastolic’ pressure. A systolic pressure lower than 100mmHg for men and 90mmHg for women OR a diastolic below 60mmHg in either sex is often considered to be low.

To confirm the reasons for your hypotension your doctor will recommend some tests and a comprehensive review of your medical history will be undertaken.

For some patients, medications you are taking may be lowering your blood pressure. This can be either as an unintended side effect or lowering your blood pressure further than intended. As a person’s sensitivity to medications can change as they age or as other things within their body change, your medication will sometimes need to be modified even if you have been ‘stable’ on medication for quite some time.

If you suffer from any of the above symptoms or are experiencing any of these signs, please book an appointment with one of our experienced GPs.

When did you last have your blood pressure checked by your doctor?

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