Low blood pressure or hypotension occurs when the pressure in the circulation drops. Blood pressure is the force where blood is pushing against the arterial walls as the heart pumps out blood. When the systolic blood pressure is measured to be less than 90 millimeters of mercury (mmHg) or diastolic blood pressure of less than 60 mmHg, it is considered to be hypotension. Hypotension is easier understood as a physiological state. When an individual has low blood pressure, vital organs such as the brain may be deprived of oxygen and nutrients.
The blood pressure varies throughout the day depending on different factors such as physical condition, breathing rhythm, body position, stress level, medications, food, beverages, and time of the day. Some of the causes of low blood pressure include heart issues, pregnancy, dehydration, endocrine problems, excessive fluid loss, infection, severe allergic reaction, nutritional deficiency and medications. In those who are in top physical condition, a lower blood pressure can be an indication of good fitness and health.
There are several types of low blood pressure such as orthostatic hypotension or postural hypotension, postprandial hypotension, neurally mediated hypotension, and low blood pressure due to nervous system damage. The treatment of hypotension usually includes the use of vasopressors and intravenous fluids.
Low Blood Pressure Cause #1: Lightheadedness
Lightheadedness is an unpleasant and common sensation where the affected individual may feel faint or dizzy. It can be chronic, short-term, or recurring. Most cases of lightheadedness are not serious and usually resolve on their own. Lightheadedness can be due to blood or oxygen shortage to the brain in cases of low blood pressure and rapid dehydration. It can also be seen in panic attacks, hyperventilation, anemia, antihistamine drugs, narcotics, hypoglycemia, cold, allergies, and more.
The management for lightheadedness usually involves drinking plenty of fluids or intravenous fluids, maintaining a normal blood sugar level, correcting electrolyte imbalances, and avoid sudden changes in posture.