Low blood pressure, also known as hypotension, is a medical condition where the pressure of blood in the arteries is consistently lower than normal. It is seen as the opposite of hypertension.
A blood pressure reading of <90/<60 is generally described as hypotension.
When the condition is chronic, it can lead to a poor quality of life and other symptoms.
Unlike hypertension, there are many symptoms of hypotension. The most common symptoms are lightheadedness and dizziness but others include:
The known causes of low blood pressure can be broken down into two categories:
Pregnancy is a unique cause of hypotension. As the baby grows, a pregnant person’s circulatory system expands rapidly and it can lower their blood pressure. This usually occurs in the first 2 trimesters of pregnancy. After delivery, the blood pressure should return to normal.
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Treatments for low blood pressure can vary and should target the underlying cause of low blood pressure, but the primary forms of treatment for low blood pressure can be split into two categories:
There are different things you can change in your day-to-day life that can help manage low blood pressure, and should be undertaken after consultation with a medical provider. These include:
Please note: These lifestyle changes can vary in the time it takes to reduce hypotension so always speak to a doctor about your particular circumstances.
Read more: How to Lower Blood Pressure
There are some medications that can raise the blood pressure purposely, but should only be used under the direction of a medical provider, after checking for all reversible causes of low blood pressure.
Consult your doctor on the different medications you can take to increase your blood pressure.
Low blood pressure is not usually a hereditary condition. According to NHS Inform, some research suggests that some types of hypotension is genetic. One study by a research team in the US also found that people who inherited 2 defective copies of particular salt-regulating genes developed a rare disease—such as Gitelman or Bartter syndrome— which led to “dangerously low blood pressure”.
Severely low blood pressure can therefore lead to kidney problems such as kidney failure and Acute Kidney Injury (AKI).