What Is Hypotension?
By Paul Rothbart
Most people are aware of hypertension and that it is the medical name for high blood pressure. It's a fairly common ailment that can have serious repercussions if left untreated. Less well-known is its antithesis, hypotension. This is low blood pressure. Not as common as high blood pressure, hypotension can cause its own health problems. If you experience the symptoms, you should see your primary care physician for a check-up. Blood pressure varies from person to person and if yours is lower than what is generally considered normal, it may not be a problem, but you should have it checked, especially if it is lower than it used to be.
Low blood pressure results in less oxygen and nutrients being distributed This results in symptoms such as feeling dizzy or unsteady on your feet. You may also experience blurred vision and could faint. Feeling tired and weak frequently as well as lacking energy are other common symptoms. You become suddenly lightheaded when standing after sitting or lying down. Unless you've suffered some kind of trauma, hypotension usually doesn't happen suddenly. It develops over time.
Hypotension is diagnosed if a person's blood pressure measures 30 mm Hg less than their typical pressure. There are many potential causes. Any loss of blood, whether due to bleeding, externally or internally, or donating blood can cause hypotension. Dehydration and extreme heat, in which blood is shunted into the skin may also bring on this condition. An anaphylactic reaction will often be accompanied by low blood pressure and it could happen during pressure. More serious causes include heart disease, Addison's disease, and Parkinson's. The list is long and varied which is why consulting a doctor is important.
Another low blood pressure condition is orthostatic hypotension. Your blood vessels are normally able to adjust to gravity when you stand up from a sitting or lying position. They constrict, increasing blood pressure and allowing the flow to continue to reach your brain. With orthostatic hypotension, the blood vessels are unable to adjust. Your pressure drops and you feel lightheaded. This can be caused by dehydration, spending a long time in bed, or an irregular heartbeat. Diseases of the nervous system can also cause it.
The cause of your hypertension will determine its treatment. If it happens due to an allergy to medication, you will have to have it changed. Other causes may require meds. If your blood pressure is normally on the low side, you may not need treatment at all. Your doctor will advise you.
Hypotension is not as common as hypertension and is not always a symptom of a health problem. However, if you have symptoms, don't take a chance. See a doctor and get a diagnosis.
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