Blood pressure is the force exerted by the blood circulating through our blood vessels. This force is generated when the blood pushes against our arteries with each successive heartbeat. Blood pressure is measured when the heart pumps the blood against the arteries (systolic) and in the period intervening two heartbeats when the heart is at rest (diastolic).
When the blood flow to the organs is insufficient, individuals are said to suffer from low blood pressure. Basically, during the systolic movement, blood circulates to the body and during the diastolic movement, blood is supplied to the heart via the coronary arteries. An optimal blood pressure reading is 120/80. If the blood pressure is at or below 90/60, then it is considered to be low. Such a condition is termed hypotension.
A reduced volume of blood supply to the body can lead to low blood pressure. The other causes of hypotension may be:
- Pregnancy: During pregnancy, the circulatory system of the mother expands rapidly. This might lead to the reduced blood supply and consequently low blood pressure.
- Heart problems: Extremely low heart rate (bradycardia), heart valve problems, heart attack, and heart failure are some of the plausible cardiac conditions that may lead to hypotension.
- Endocrine problems: Parathyroid, Addison’s disease, and even diabetes may cause hypotension.
- Dehydration: Lack of water worsens the feeling of tiredness in the patient.
- Blood loss: Internal or external injury may cause excessive blood loss and lead to reduced blood supply inside the body.
- Inflammation: Severe inflammation of organs inside the body such as acute pancreatitis can cause low blood pressure.
- Infection: Sometimes an infection may enter the bloodstream thereby causing a severe drop in blood pressure.
- Allergic reaction: Certain foods and medications can drive an allergic reaction. The blood pressure often drops in such cases and leads to hypotension.
- Malnutrition: Lack of proper nutrients in the diet also leads to low blood pressure. It is vital to include food groups that increase the RBC count naturally.
The most common symptoms of low blood pressure in individuals may be the following:
- Syncope or fainting
- Feeling dizzy
- Sudden chest pain
- Blurred vision
- Feeling extremely thirsty
- Unable to concentrate
- Sense of fatigue
- Clammy skin
DIAGNOSIS & TREATMENT
The treatment for hypotension is dependent on the underlying cause, as listed in the article above. However, severe hypotension must be treated right away. In the emergency ward, the patient is given fluids to stabilize the blood pressure and the heart rate.
In the common cases of blood pressure, the doctor conducts a physical examination to determine the blood pressure and pulse rate repeatedly. The patient is asked to lie down for a few minutes and then get up during the procedure.
A comprehensive test like an ECG (electrocardiogram) may also be undertaken to measure the heart rate and rhythm. In unusual cases, an echocardiogram (an ultrasound test to visualize the heart) is also performed. Hence the correct treatment and medication are delivered after a proper diagnosis of the patient’s medical condition.
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