What is Low Blood Pressure?

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low blood pressure, What is Low Blood Pressure?, Dr. Nicolle

Hello. This is Hypertension Prevention Tuesdays! Today we’ll talk about low blood pressure, or hypotension. You’ve probably heard that high blood pressure is a problem. Sometimes blood pressure that is too low can also cause problems.

 

Blood pressure is the force of blood pushing against the walls of your arteries as the heart pumps blood. It is usually described as two numbers: systolic and diastolic. The numbers record blood pressure in millimeters of mercury (mm Hg), with systolic listed above diastolic. For most adults, a healthy blood pressure is usually less than 120/80 mm Hg. Low blood pressure is blood pressure that is lower than 90/60 mm Hg

low blood pressure, What is Low Blood Pressure?, Dr. Nicolle

Some people have low blood pressure all the time, and it is normal for them. Other people experience a sudden drop in blood pressure or have low blood pressure that may be linked to a health problem. Many systems of the body, including organs, hormones, and nerves, regulate blood pressure. For example, the autonomic nervous system sends the “fight-or-flight” signal that, depending on the situation, tells the heart and other systems in the body to increase or decrease blood pressure. Problems with the autonomic nervous system, such as in Parkinson’s disease, can cause low blood pressure.

 

Other causes of low blood pressure include medicines, bleeding, aging, and conditions such as dehydration, pregnancy, diabetes, and heart problems. Older adults have a higher risk for symptoms of low blood pressure, such as falling, fainting, or dizziness upon standing up or after a meal. Older adults are also more likely to develop low blood pressure as a side effect of medicines taken to control high blod pressure.

low blood pressure, What is Low Blood Pressure?, Dr. Nicolle

For many people, low blood pressure goes unnoticed. Others feel light-headed, confused, tired, or weak. You may have blurry vision, a headache, neck or back pain, nausea, or heart palpitations. Sitting down may relieve these symptoms. If blood pressure drops too low, the body’s vital organs do not get enough oxygen and nutrients. When this happens, low blood pressure can lead to shock, which requires immediate medical attention. Signs of shock include cold and sweaty skin, rapid breathing, a blue skin tone, or a weak and rapid pulse. If you notice signs of shock in yourself or someone else, call 9-1-1.

 

Your doctor will use a blood pressure test to diagnose low blood pressure. Other tests may include blood, urine, or imaging tests and a tilt table test if you faint often. You may not need treatment for low blood pressure. Depending on your signs and symptoms, treatment may include drinking more fluids, taking medicines to raise your blood pressure, or adjusting medicines that cause low blood pressure. Recommended lifestyle changes include changing what and how you eat and how you sit and stand up. Your doctor may also recommend compression stockings if you have to stand for long periods.

If you would like to receive a free resource sheet to support your quest for better heart health, click the button below to receive your gift.

 

low blood pressure, What is Low Blood Pressure?, Dr. Nicolle

 

I’m excited to talk about this topic today because not only do I truly believe that you have the power to reverse heart disease and lower high blood pressure to improve your health, but the science also agrees! You can adopt healthy lifestyle practices that improve your health and enrich your life, which can in turn improve the lives of those close to you. You have the power to break the cycle of these chronic diseases so that you can leave a legacy of health to your loved ones.

 

As you may already know, I use lifestyle medicine as the first line of treatment, before medications, to treat lifestyle-related chronic diseases. Lifestyle-related chronic diseases include diabetes, hypertension, obesity, and some cancers, just to name a few. Lifestyle practices, such as eating a whole-food plant-based diet and regular physical activity, can help you improve blood pressure and reverse heart disease. In certain cases, these approaches may even outperform pharmaceutical therapy.

 

Tools to Improve Heart Health

Blood Pressure Monitoring

It’s very important to monitor your blood pressure. I often recommend an automatic upper arm blood pressure cuff, but a wrist blood pressure monitor is also acceptable.


7 Series Upper Arm Blood Pressure Monitor
low blood pressure, What is Low Blood Pressure?, Dr. Nicolle

7 Series Upper Arm Blood Pressure Monitorlow blood pressure, What is Low Blood Pressure?, Dr. Nicolle

Weight Monitoring

Since weight management is very important in blood pressure control, I recommend that you be mindful of your weight and its fluctuations, and that you monitor your weight AT LEAST on a weekly basis. I recommend a scale that includes a body composition monitor.


Body Composition Monitor And Scale With Seven Fitness Indicators
low blood pressure, What is Low Blood Pressure?, Dr. Nicolle

Body Composition Monitor And Scale With Seven Fitness Indicatorslow blood pressure, What is Low Blood Pressure?, Dr. NicolleRemember, healthy lifestyle behaviors–like eating a whole-foods plant-based diet that is low in sodium, being physically active, and stress management are the best ways to prevent and control high blood pressure. Please talk with your doctor about any complementary health approaches, including supplements, you use.

 

Let me know what you think in the comment section below.

 

Stay healthy,

 

Dr. Nicolle

 

PS. I am always asked what tools and resources I recommend to help you reach YOUR health goals. Here is the ever-growing, always updated list for you.

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