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Low Blood Pressure: Symptoms, Causes And Treatment

Last Updated: Feb 17, 2023

What is Low Blood Pressure?

Low blood pressure is otherwise called hypotension and it causes the inadequate blood supply to the main organs of the body. Many symptoms would develop due to low blood pressure. A blood pressure reading has two numbers namely systolic and diastolic.

The upper reading is systolic pressure, i.e. the pressure in the arteries is monitored when the heart beats and fills the arteries with blood. The lower reading is diastolic, i.e. monitoring the pressure in the arteries when the heart rests between the beats.

The normal blood pressure is 120/80 mmHg whereas the low blood pressure is 90/60 mmHg. However, the pressure varies from person to person depends on the diseases, medication and age etc. Untreated low blood pressure can be life threatening and can even leads to Coma. If one is constantly experiencing the symptoms like shallow breaths, fatigue, drowsiness, shocks, rapid pulse, pale skin and confusion, it is advised to get in emergency help as these are the signs of low blood pressure that can be harmful.

What are the Symptoms of Low Blood Pressure?

Symptoms of low blood pressure are as follows:

  • When there is an insufficient supply of blood to the organs, it may temporarily or permanently be damaged. Depends on the organ, the symptoms are noted. If the brain cells do not receive enough oxygen, then dizziness, light headedness or even faintness can be experienced by the person. Some people may experience, nausea, vomiting, palpitation, thirst, shivering, fatigue, blurry vision, lack of concentration.
  • Chest pain or even heart attack may occur when there is no sufficient supply of blood to the coronary arteries.
  • When kidneys receive insufficient blood, they fail to eliminate wastes from the body and thus increase urea, creatinine levels in the blood.
  • Shock is a dangerous condition where there is persistent low pressure causing organs such as heart, kidney, liver, lung and brain to fail quickly.

Can low blood pressure go on its own?

Low blood will be treated when it will show some symptoms. Treatment depends upon symptoms. However, it can be prevented by following some simple rules. Low blood pressure prevention rules include:

  • Having balanced diet
  • Proper hydration
  • Physical exercise and activity
  • Avoid alcohol
  • Cut caffeine

By following these simple rules, we may prevent low blood pressure. Sometimes drop in blood pressure causes shock and it also causes damage to internal organs.

These are emergency situations that need a doctor. Low blood pressure does not decrease life expectancy unless it is too serious.

Summary: Low blood pressure if not harmful can be taken lightly but in its extreme case, it needs proper diagnosis and treatment.

What does low blood pressure feels like?

Low blood pressure feels like having dizziness and lightheaded. It feels nauseated, confused, has blurry vision, etc. Sometimes we find it hard to think straight.

Low blood pressure also causes chest pain. Low blood pressure does not feel good so it is better to cure it as soon as possible.

Summary: Low blood pressure causes a kind of mental instability. We start losing concentration and confusion increases.

What is normal blood pressure by age?

Blood pressure is the measurement of the flow of blood against the wall of arteries. When it is slower we call it low blood pressure. The range of normal blood pressure differs not too much but slightly for different age groups.

For measuring blood pressure we measure diastole and systole. DIastole is measured before the heart contracts while systole is measured when after the heart contracts. For different age groups, we measure blood pressure as:

In Males:

  • 21-25 years -- 120.5-78.5
  • 26-30 years -- 119.5-76.5
  • 31-35 years -- 114.5-75.5

In Females:

  • 21-25 -- 115.5-71.5
  • 26-30 -- 114.5-72.5
  • 31-35 -- 113.5-73.5
Summary: Normal blood pressure usually is below 120/80. It is slightly different for different age groups.

What are the Causes of Low Blood Pressure?

Causes of low blood pressure are as follows:

Postural Hypotension

Changes in a posture like from standing to sitting or lying can lead to a downfall in blood pressure but in such case, the blood pressure gets back to normal level quickly. It is mostly seen in older people especially diabetic people can experience such problem when their autonomic nervous system gets damaged.

Heart Ailments

Heart valve problem, low heartbeat rate, heart failure may lead to severe low blood pressure because the heart cannot pump enough blood to maintain the pressure up.

Low blood pressure after meals:

Sometimes, blood pressure falls down after immediate meals and thus causing dizziness, faintness. It is very common in high blood pressure, diabetic, older and Parkinson’s patients. This is because after eating our intestines need more blood supply to digest the food. The heart starts beating faster and the blood vessels in other parts of the body narrow down to support in maintaining blood pressure. Lying down after eating, reducing carbohydrate intake and eating smaller meals frequently helps in mitigating this problem. Coughing and swallowing may also cause low blood pressure due to the vagus nerve stimulation.

Other than the above,

  • Shock with dehydration and weakness
  • Infection in the blood
  • Diseases such as thyroid, adrenal insufficiency, and diabetes
  • A severe allergic reaction called anaphylactic shock
  • A huge amount of blood loss through injury
  • Medicines like beta-blockers, nitroglycerin, antidepressants, diuretics, etc.,

Can low blood pressure make you tired?

Yes, low blood pressure can make us feel tired because low bp signs primarily include dizziness and sometimes we may faint due to it. We feel tired all day long and do not feel good.

Some people also struggle with depression due to low bp. So a person having low blood pressure is supposed to feel tired and lightheaded.

Summary: Low bp causes a slow rate of flow of blood causing an inadequate supply of blood. That is why we feel tired all day long.

What are you lacking if you have low bp?

Diets play an important role in the case of low bp. If a person is suffering from low blood pressure then he/she must be lacking vital nutrients.

Lack of nutrition like Iron, Folic acid, and Vitamin B12 causes deficiency in the body, Body cannot make an adequate amount of blood. This leads to anemia which ultimately leads to low blood pressure.

Summary: To avoid low blood pressure, a balanced diet rich in nutrients is required. We should drink a lot of water and take zinc, calcium, spinach, milk, etc. in meals. These can be termed as low blood pressure treatment food.

What are the Safety Precautions For Low Blood Pressure?

Changing our lifestyle model is quite sufficient to save from low blood pressure.

  • Drink water sufficiently to keep the body hydrated as dehydration is the key cause of low blood pressure.
  • Do not get exposed to the hot environment. While exposing to heat, it dilates the blood vessels, increases sweating thus leads to low blood pressure ultimately. Do avoid physical exertion when you feel it is severely hot.
  • Do not consume alcohol since it has the tendency of lowering blood pressure.
  • If you are a prolonged stander, then drink water frequently.
  • Do avoid keeping crossed legs while sitting or sleeping since this manner decreases blood into the lower part of the body and drops blood pressure significantly.
  • In every two hours have a meal or snack as the body requires a balanced diet. Make sure to take nutritious intake to keep yourself healthy.


How Do You Test For Low Blood Pressure?

Firstly, the physician will check you clinically by understanding your pulse rate, symptoms and medical history. Then, he will advise you to do other tests such as

  • ECG (Electrocardiogram) to measure heart rhythm and rate
  • Echocardiogram to visualize the heart valves
  • Blood tests for anemia and blood sugar levels check out
  • If you experience low blood pressure while standing or due to faulty brain signals, a tilt table test can evaluate how your body reacts to the posture changes.
  • Sometimes heart problems cause issues in lowering blood pressure. A Stress test is advised and you will be made to walk on a treadmill or do some exercises. When your heart is working harder, its function will be monitored with ECG or Echo and at the same time, your pressure is also checked.

What are the Treatment for Low Blood Pressure?

Generally, lifestyle changes are recommended for low blood pressure such as

  • Eating a diet with extra salt
  • Drinking more fluids
  • Regular exercises to improve blood flow
  • Avoid straining and heavy lifting
  • Using stockings to reduce the blood flow to the lower body

If these measures do not help out you, you may be put in medications.

  • Midodrine: It helps to activate receptors on the smallest arteries and veins to increase blood pressure. This drug helps in increasing blood pressure in people with standing blood pressure, postural hypotension.

  • Fludrocortisone: It is widely used. It promotes sodium retention in the kidneys which leads to edema that is necessary to improve blood pressure. But, it also causes potassium depletion. So, when you take this drug, you should comply with potassium supplements

  • Too little amount of folate in the body has low blood pressure effects. Hence, eat folate-rich foods such as liver, asparagus, garbanzo beans to improve your pressure.
  • When you have a decreased amount of Vitamin B12, it might lead to anemia which in turn brings down blood pressure. Eat fortified cereals, eggs, and beef to improve Vitamin B12.

How is the Treatment of Low Blood Pressure Done?

Low blood pressure in itself is not a serious condition. Often it can be a symptom of another health problem. The underlying conditions differ from person to person. Therefore, it is necessary for the doctor to identify the real cause of your blood pressure problem.

First, fix an appointment with your doctor; notify him/her about your medical history, your age, the symptoms you are currently experiencing, and the reasons for the occurrence of the blood pressure drop. The doctor will conduct a thorough physical examination of the concerned patient. Then she or he will make the patient undergo a series of tests where the patient will be asked to stand up suddenly after lying down for some time. During this time, the doctor will take the pulse rate and will check the blood pressure levels.

If the doctor feels necessary then she or he may perform an ECG or an electrocardiogram in order to check the pulse rate and also an echocardiogram/ultrasound test in order to see the condition of the heart and take pictures of it for later reference. She or he might also take blood test samples from the patient in order to check for anemia or any issues with your blood sugar level.

In order to check for irregular heart rate the doctor may ask the patient to get an ECG or a Holter monitor done. An exercise test or stress test may also be advised. In certain cases, a ‘tilt table’ test is performed for a patient experiencing postural hypotension in order to assess the response of the body to unexpected changes in movements or position.

Who is Eligible for the Treatment of Low BP?

A person who is experiencing shock or symptoms of low blood pressure like feeling lightheaded or dizzy on an off and on basis. Although chronic low blood pressure might not be a serious health issue in itself, it can be a symptom of a much severe underlying medical condition.

Who is not Eligible for the Treatment Low BP?

All those people who are experiencing the symptoms of low blood pressure mentioned above do not need to go visit a doctor.

Are There Any Side Effects?

The side effects of taking flodrocortisone include heart failure, muscle weakness, expansion of the heart, easy bruising, headaches, light-headedness and sudden increase in blood glucose levels.

What are the Post-treatment Guidelines?

The doctor may advise you to increase the amount of salt in your diet because sodium increases pressure drastically. Also, increase the quantity of your fluid intake daily in order to prevent dehydration by drinking lots of water.

You may also be advised to wear stockings that put on compression on your legs by pooling the blood. This can help to reduce inflammation and pain. You may also be prescribed certain medications such as fludrocortisone and midodrine/orvaten help to treat the problem of hypotension or low blood pressure.

How Long Does it Take to Recover?

With proper rest, medication and water (for drinking, in case the low blood pressure occurred as a result of dehydration) you can recover within a few hours.

What is the Price of the Treatment of Low BP in India?

In India one strip of 2.5 mg of Midodrine costs about 2,3000 Rupees, an ECG test costs about 250 Rupees in India, and an ultrasound test can cost you about Rs. 1000- 4000 in India.

Should I go to urgent care for low blood pressure?

Normally low blood pressure is not a matter of concern unless it causes trouble. Sometimes people don't even know about them having low blood pressure but there are some conditions that need urgent care when having low blood pressure. Pregnancy is one of them.

Low blood pressure pregnancy can lead to many complications. The shock caused by low blood pressure is the most serious condition. If someone is suffering from heart disease then he/she must take low bp seriously.

There are some problems like fast breathing caused by low blood pressure while sleeping. Above mentioned situations need urgent care from doctors.

Summary: Low blood pressure normally does not need more attention but can't be ignored completely too. It gives rise to many serious problems that need to be cured as soon as possible.

Are the Results of the Treatment Permanent?

The results of the treatment depends on well you adhere to the post-treatment guidelines. If you can look after your daily diet and also identity the reasons behind your sudden blood pressure levels you can prevent the sudden attacks from occurring on getting up after lying for some time.

What are the Alternatives to the Treatment of Low BP?

Alternatives for low blood pressure problems include certain home remedies such as increasing the daily water consumption level and cutting down on alcohol which will help to tackle the dehydration levels, having a balance diet which incorporates nutritional items such as fruits, veggies, whole grains and protein such as chicken and fish. Other remedies include gently moving from one place to another instead of getting up suddenly or moving too fast. Avoid sitting with your legs crossed and try to consume small portion of really low-carb foods. Also, keep eating small portions of food throughout the day to prevent the blood pressure levels from dropping suddenly.

How to Increase Blood Pressure Naturally?

Certain foods definitely help in increasing blood pressure naturally and they are:

  • Too little amount of folate in the body has low blood pressure effects. Hence, eat folate-rich foods such as liver, asparagus, garbanzo beans to improve your pressure.

  • When you have a decreased amount of Vitamin B12, it might lead to anemia which in turn brings down blood pressure. Eat fortified cereals, eggs, and beef to improve Vitamin B12.

  • Licorice helps in reducing the effect of aldosterone, the hormone which is responsible to regulate the salt impact on the body. Drinking licorice tea improves your blood pressure level.

What Foods are Good for Low Blood Pressure?

Food supplements that are good for low blood pressure are as follows:

  • Olives: Olive is rich in vitamin E, copper and Iron. Since it is slightly salty taste, it helps in improving the blood pressure. Salty foods are safe for the people who have a sudden pressure dip.
  • Coffee: It temporarily and immediately boosts the blood pressure. When you feel giddy, dizzy, take a cup of tea or coffee and it will spike blood pressure by inducing the cardiovascular system and boosting the heart rate.
  • Tulsi Leaves: Tulsi leaves have high levels of magnesium, potassium, vitamin C that helps in regulating blood pressure. Chew at least six tulsi leaves every morning to reinstate normal blood pressure. Presence of Eugenol is an antioxidant keeps the blood pressure in control and lowers cholesterol levels.

Physical Exercises for the people suffering from low blood pressure:

Exercise is the key to staying healthier. People who indulge in physical activities are healthier compared to those persons who don't exercise daily. Low blood pressure recovery also requires exercise and physical activities.

There are some simple activities that can save us from the harmful effects of low bp:

  • Do exercise which is moderate in intensities such as brisk walking.
  • Yoga can also be helpful.
  • Take a break and stretch yourself after sitting for an hour.

Also during exercise do not exhaust yourself too much and drink a lot of fluids. Keep yourself rehydrated.

Summary: Physical exercise is needed to maintain healthy blood pressure. It is necessary to get a suggestion from an instructor before getting into any kind of activity.

What is the best medicine for low blood pressure?

There are some medications that are often used for treating lower blood pressure like Fludrocortisone, Midrodine, etc. But one should not take any kind of medicine without the prescription of a doctor.

Instead of medicines, some steps can be followed to prevent low blood pressure like having a diet rich in salt ( but check with your doctor first), drinking more fluids, limiting alcoholic drinks, etc.

Summary: Medications prescribed by experienced doctors are taken in case of low blood pressure. There are different types of medicines that are prescribed for different types of symptoms.


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Written ByDr. Atindra Nath Bagchi Diploma in CardiologyGeneral Physician
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