Hypotension (Low Blood Pressure)

Hypotension | Symptoms |causes | treatment


Hypotension is also known as low blood pressure. A blood pressure reading lower than 60 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) for the diastolic (bottom number) or 90 mm Hg for the systolic (top number) is generally considered hypotension (low blood pressure).

Hypotension might seem desirable, and for some people, it causes no disorders but for many people, abnormally hypotension can cause fainting and dizziness.

The cause of hypotension can range from lack of water to serious medical problems. It’s necessary to search out the causes of low blood pressure so that it can be treated.


For few people, hypotension shows underlying problems especially when suddenly it drops or is finding by signs and symptoms like:

  • Lightheadedness or dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Fainting
  • Fading vision or blurred
  • Lack of concentration
  • Nausea
  • Unsteadiness
  • Weakness


Extreme low blood pressure resulting in life-threatening condition. Signs and symptoms including such as:

  • Confusion, especially in older people
  • Rapid and weak pulse
  • Shallow, rapid breathing

Clammy, cold, pale skin


Blood pressure is the measurement of heartbeat pressure in your arteries.

  • Systolic pressure (top number): The upper or first number measures the pressure in your arteries when your heartbeats.
  • Diastolic pressure (bottom number): The lower or second number measures the pressure in your arteries between beats.

Blood pressure varies depending upon:

  • Physical condition
  • Stress level
  • Body position
  • Breathing rhythm
  • Time of day
  • Medications you take
  • What you drink and eat

At night, blood pressure is usually lowest and sharply rises on walking

Problems/conditions that can cause low blood pressure

Medical problems/conditions that can cause hypotension to include:

  • Heart problems

Some heart problems that can lead to hypotension include bradycardia, heart attack, and heart failure, and heart valve issues.

  • Pregnancy

During pregnancy, the circulatory system expands and it drops blood pressure. After you have given birth, blood pressure normally returns to pre-pregnancy level.

  • Dehydration

When water is lost more from a body than it takes, it can cause weakness, fatigue, and dizziness. Vomiting, fever, overuse of diuretics, strenuous exercise, and severe diarrhea can lead to dehydration.

  • Endocrine problems

Addison’s disease (adrenal insufficiency), hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), parathyroid disease, and in some cases, diabetes can trigger hypotension.

  • Blood loss

 From internal bleeding or major injury, losing a lot of blood lead to a severe drop in blood pressure.

  • Septicemia (severe infection)

Infection that leads to a life-threatening drop in blood pressure when it enters the bloodstream in a body is called septic shock.

  • Anaphylaxis (severe allergic reaction)

Common triggers of a severe allergic reaction include certain medications, insect venoms, latex, and foods. Severe allergic reactions can cause hives, breathing problems, itching, a swollen throat, and a dangerous drop in blood pressure.

  • Lack of nutrients in the diet

A lack of vitamin B-12, iron, and folate can keep your body from producing anemia (red blood cells), causing hypotension.


Medications that can cause low blood pressure

Low blood pressure can be caused by some medication, including:

  • Diuretics (water pills), like Lasix (furosemide) and Microzide (hydrochlorothiazide others)
  • Alpha blockers, likeMinipress(prazosin)
  • Beta-blockers, like Tenormin(atenolol) and propranolol (Inderal, Innopran XL, others)
  • Drugs for Parkinson’s disease, like pramipexole (Mirapex) or those containing levodopa
  • Certain types of antidepressants (tricyclic antidepressants), including imipramine (Tofranil) and doxepin (Silenor).
  • Drugs for erectile dysfunction, including tadalafil (Adcirca, Alyq, Cialis) or sildenafil (Revatio, Viagra), particularly when taken with the heart medication nitroglycerin (Nitrostat, others)

Types of hypotension

Orthostatic (Low blood pressure on standing up)

This is the drop in blood pressure that occurs when you stand up from a sitting position or lying down.

It occurs commonly in people of all ages.

Orthostatic (low blood pressure on standing up) can occur for various reasons, including prolonged bed rest, dehydration, diabetes, pregnancy, heart problems, excessive heat, burns, large varicose veins, and certain neurological disorders

Postprandial (Low blood pressure after eating)

This is a drop in blood pressure that occurs 1-2 hours after eating.

Postprandial hypotension is the most affected older adults with high blood pressure or autonomic nervous system disorders like Parkinson’s disease.

Low-carbohydrate meals, eating small, drinking more water; and avoiding alcohol might help decrease symptoms.

Neurally mediate (Low blood pressure from faulty brain signals)


It happens after you stand for a long time mostly affects children and young adults. It happens because of a miscommunication between the brain and the heart.

Multiple system atrophy with orthostatic hypotension (low blood pressure due to nervous system damage)

 Also known as Shy-Drager syndrome, this rare disorder has many Parkinson’s disease-like symptoms. It causes progressive damage to the autonomic nervous system, which controls involuntary functions like heart rate, blood pressure, digestion, and breathing. While lying down it’s associated with having very high blood pressure.

Risk factors

Hypotension (low blood pressure) can occur in anyone, though certain types of hypotension are more common depending on your age or other factors:


On standing or after eating, drops in blood pressure occur primarily in adults older than 65. Children and younger adults primarily affected by neurally mediated low blood pressure.


People who take certain medications, for example, alpha-blockers for high blood pressure, have a greater risk of hypotension.

Certain diseases

Diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, and some heart problems put at a greater risk of developing hypotension.

Treatment for hypotension

Treatment will depend upon the condition of hypotension. Treatment includes medication for diabetes, heart disease, or infection.

Drink a lot of water to avoid low blood pressure due to dehydration, especially if you have diarrhea or are vomiting.

Drinks plenty of water can also help treat and cure the symptoms of neurally mediated hypotension

Treat orthostatic hypotension with gradual movements, slow. Work your way into a standing or sitting position using small movements, instead of standing up quickly. You can also avoid orthostatic low blood pressure by not crossing your legs when you sit.

The most serious form of the condition is shock-induced hypotension. Severe hypotension must be treated immediately because severe low blood pressure can cause your body of enough oxygen to carry out its functions, leading to damage to your brain and heart.

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