How To Manage Low Blood Pressure

Last reviewed: 18 Jul 2022

Medically Reviewed By: Dr Jay Shah

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How To Manage Low Blood Pressure

We’ve all heard of the risks associated with high blood pressure. But what if your blood pressure is too low? In this article, we take a look at the symptoms and causes of low blood pressure, or hypotension, and list the measures you can take to keep low blood pressure under control.


What is low blood pressure?

Low blood pressure, also known as hypotension, is a condition where the pressure of blood in the arteries is consistently lower than normal, with a reading of 90/60 or below.

Unlike hypertension, there are many symptoms of hypotension. The most common symptoms are feeling lightheaded or dizzy, but other symptoms include:

  • Feeling sick
  • Blurred vision
  • Feeling weak
  • Feeling confused
  • Fainting
  • Cold, clammy skin

If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s worth taking a trip to your GP, who can measure your blood pressure, identify possible causes and advise on the best course of action. Treatment usually means treating an underlying condition or making a few simple lifestyle changes, so it’s unlikely you’ll need medication to increase blood pressure.


What causes low blood pressure?

Other medical conditions generally cause low blood pressureLow blood pressure is generally caused by other medical conditions, or medication taken for another condition. It’s also fairly common in pregnancy. These conditions should be screened for first by your physician.

There are three types of ​​recurrent hypotension without a specific underlying primary medical condition:

  • Orthostatic hypotension, also known as postural hypotension, occurs when you change body position – perhaps getting up quickly after a long period of sitting or lying down. It doesn’t usually last long and the blood flow quickly returns to normal.
  • Postprandial hypotension occurs after eating a big meal, and is caused by increased blood flow towards the intestines to allow the food to digest.
  • Neurally mediated hypotension (NMH) can occur after standing for an extendeda long period, and can cause dizziness, fainting, or nausea.


How to manage low blood pressure

The first step is to book a doctor’s appointment so you can discuss your symptoms and have your blood pressure checked. They’ll also ask you whether there’s any known family history of low blood pressure, if you’re experiencing any significantmajor stresses or recent life changes, and whether you’re currently taking any medications, vitamins or supplements.

If your medication is causing low blood pressure, your doctor or healthcare provider health may recommend changing or stopping the medication or lowering the dose. It’s important that you don’t change or stop taking your medication without first talking to them first.

Otherwise, your doctor may recommend one or more of the following lifestyle changes to bring low blood pressure under control and ease your symptoms:

  • Staying hydrated by drinking more water and cutting down on alcohol. Water increases the amount of blood in the body, while alcohol is dehydrating and can contribute to lower blood pressure.
  • Get up slowly from a sitting, squatting or lying position. If you experience symptoms when standing up, cross your thighs like a pair of scissors and squeeze, or put one foot on a ledge or chair and lean as far forward as possible. Both moves encourage blood flow from the legs to the heart.
  • Avoid sitting or standing for long periods, and don’t sit with your legs crossed.
  • Get moving with at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity every day. Exercise can be beneficial for hypotension as it helps to improve circulation. Remember to warm up and cool down properly, drink plenty of water and avoid exercising in hot, humid conditions – you can read more about exercising with low blood pressure here.
  • Eat little and often to help prevent blood pressure from dropping sharply after meals, eat small meals several times a day and limit carb-heavy foods like potatoes, rice, pasta and bread. A clinical trial has also shown that drinking coffee at the end of a meal could help to prevent postprandial hypotension.
  • Try compression stockings to improve circulation and encourage blood flow from the legs to the heart. A 2006 study showed that compression stockings effectivelywere an effective way to reduce symptoms in older patients with progressive orthostatic hypotension.


Taking control of low blood pressure

While low blood pressure isn’t talked about as much as high blood pressure, it can be disruptive and, in some cases, dangerous. If you’re experiencing symptoms, it’s always worth talking to your doctor or healthcare provider to determine the cause and discuss the changes you can make to manage the condition.

Aktiia Team Written by The Aktiia Team

Our mission is to help people live free from hypertension.

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