People often talk about high blood pressure as it can lead to heart attacks, strokes, and even kidney failure. However, a low blood pressure, commonly known as hypotension, can also damage your body.
While a blood pressure reading of 140/90 mm HG or above is considered to be too high, a reading of less than 90/60 mm HG is considered too low.
Everyone’s blood pressure drops occasionally and doesn’t cause any noticeable symptoms. For example, the transition from a sitting or lying down position to a standing up one can cause a drop in blood pressure. However, certain conditions can cause prolonged periods of hypertension that can damage your health.
Such conditions include significant blood loss due to an injury, poor circulation due to a heart condition, pregnancy, dieting to lose weight, infections of the bloodstream, anaphylactic shock, diabetes, and thyroid disease. Furthermore, certain medications such as beta-blockers, erectile dysfunction drugs, and antidepressants can also cause hypotension.
Having persistent low blood pressure is not good. If your blood pressure gets severely low, your body will not receive enough oxygen to carry out normal functions. A decrease in oxygen levels can lead to impaired functioning of the heart and brain as well as cause difficulty breathing. In certain cases, people suffering from low blood pressure can lose consciousness or go into shock, making it very important to know the signs and symptoms of low blood pressure, so that timely intervention can be sought. Below are the key signs and symptoms of low blood pressure:
1. Dizziness or Light-Headedness
A low blood pressure causes poor blood flow to the brain. This decreases the oxygen supply to the brain and makes you feel dizzy and light-headed. This is often associated with a sudden change in position, such as standing up to quickly or waking up in the morning.
Low blood pressure will affect your energy levels, causing fatigue. The flow of blood throughout the body plays a key role in the production of energy as it provides the body with oxygen and other necessary nutrients.
The mitochondria with cells require nutrients for energy production. When there is a disruption in the blood flow due to a decrease in blood pressure, it disrupts the energy creation process, which in turn causes fatigue and tiredness.
Poor blood flow to the heart causes it to contract irregularly. If your heart is not getting the required amount of blood, it tries to compensate for this by beating faster.
This can cause your pulse and breathing to speed up, and you may even notice a frequent change in body temperature.
4. Cold, Clammy Skin
Having cold, clammy and pale skin is another sign of low blood pressure, especially when it’s also accompanied by a rapid heartbeat and shallow breathing. This occurs when there’s not enough blood circulating in your body due to a drop in blood pressure.
5. Lack of Concentration
Due to a decrease in blood pressure, blood is not being moved to the brain at a normal rate. As a result, the brain cells are not getting the required oxygen and nourishment that they need to function properly. This makes it hard to concentrate.
If you start to feel foggy and can’t concentrate on what you’re doing despite trying hard, get your blood pressure checked by the doctor.
Being unusually thirsty means that you’re dehydrated, which can at times cause your blood pressure to drop.
In fact, this is your body’s way of telling you that you need to add more water to your blood, in an attempt to raise your blood pressure.
7. Blurred Vision
The lack of oxygen in the blood resulting from a drop in blood pressure affects eye movements significantly. Suddenly experiencing blurry vision can be scary, and the effect can be long-lasting or permanent.
As this can be caused by glaucoma, myopia, retinal detachment, and a migraine, do not ignore this symptom.
Some Treatments for Hypotension
• Drink plenty of water to avoid a drop in blood pressure due to dehydration.
• Do not cross your legs when you sit.
• Avoid standing up quickly from a sitting or sleeping position.
• Get enough sleep so you always feel refreshed.
• Eat foods rich in essential vitamins B12 and folic acid to prevent anemia.
• Avoid smoking and drinking in excess, as both can cause poor circulation.
• Learn your triggers and try to avoid them as best as you can.