Your blood pressure is a reading of two numbers. The top, and higher number is known as the systolic pressure while the bottom, and lower number of the two is the diastolic pressure. Your systolic number is the result of the veins filling with blood and the amount of pressure that is put on them when they do. The diastolic number is the result of the blood emptying and your veins are at rest, and the two combined are your total blood pressure reading. A normal blood pressure is 120/80. It can vary a little on either side and still be considered normal, but too high above or too low below 120/80, can mean there may be medical issues going on that should be evaluated. You can monitor your blood pressure with a bpmonitoradvisor: blood pressure monitor to make sure you’re not having trouble with your bp.
When your blood pressure drops too low, it can make you feel bad and have physical and medical consequences. Low blood pressure is called hypotension and can happen for several different reasons. If your blood pressure continuously runs low for you with no symptoms, also known as chronic hypotension, there may not be any complications associated with it, or reason to worry. It may just be the norm for you. However, if you experience sudden drops in blood pressure at various times, this is where you are at risk of problems.
Symptoms of low blood pressure
When blood pressure drops suddenly, this means that not enough blood is able to circulate properly to get to the extremities and to the brain. Lack of blood to the brain also means lack of oxygen which can lead to dizziness and lightheadedness. You may feel shaky and have a change in vision.
Types of hypotension
There are two types of hypotension that commonly happen. One is postural hypotension and the other, neurally mediated hypotension.
Postural hypotension, or orthostatic hypotension occurs when you are rising from sitting or a lying down position. When you lie down, blood pools in the lower extremities; this is normal. But upon standing, the cardiovascular system is supposed to react to the difference in position immediately and correct itself. When it doesn’t, this is referred to as a failed cardiovascular system or neurological system. When there is a change in position, your nervous system is supposed to send the message to the brain to have the heart beat faster to constrict the blood vessels. If it doesn’t, or if the heart does not pick up speed fast enough to offset the low blood pressure, you can have an episode of postural hypotension.
This type of hypotension occurs when someone has been standing too long, especially in the same position, such as with locked knees where the blood flow cannot be efficient enough to get to the brain to send messages to the heart to beat hard enough to constrict blood vessels, nor does enough oxygen reach the brain when the circulation is sufficient.
Reasons for a drop in blood pressure
There are a variety reasons why blood pressure may be low which can vary from reasons that may cause a sudden drop in blood pressure. Here are a few reasons why someone may have a low blood pressure:
- Heart failure
- Hormonal problems (underactive)
- Hypoglycemic (low blood sugar)
- Certain medications (high blood pressure meds, depression meds, Parkinson’s)
- Liver disease
Causes of sudden drops in blood pressure
- Raised body temperature
- Low body temperature
- Heart muscle disease that causes heart failure
- Large loss of blood
- Sepsis, severe blood infection
- Severe dehydration
- Reaction to drugs or alcohol
- Severe allergic reaction, also known as anaphylaxis
Monitoring your blood pressure is important, especially if you know you have factors that could cause a drop in blood pressure, such as being elderly or are on medications that could cause low pressure. Monitoring your blood pressure with a bpmonitoradvisor: Blood Pressure Monitor can help you stay on top of your blood pressure and know when to seek medical attention.