What is Blood Pressure?

Blood pressure is the force of blood as it pumps against the blood vessel walls. Blood pressure changes throughout the day depending on whether you are actively exercising, sitting and resting, or nervous and stressed. Blood pressure is measured in millimeters of mercury (mmHg). Two numbers are used to represent your blood pressure. The top number is the systolic blood pressure which is the pressure within the arteries when the heart is contracting. The bottom number is the diastolic blood pressure which is the pressure within the arteries when the heart at rest. Ideal blood pressure should be below 120/80 mmHg.


What is Low Blood Pressure?

A blood pressure reading of 90/60 mmHg or below is generally considered low blood pressure. Some people have naturally low blood pressure without any symptoms, so treatment is not necessary. However, when someone begins experiencing symptoms of low blood pressure, there is a cause for concern. Low blood pressure prevents parts of the body, heart, and brain from getting the necessary oxygen that it needs.


Some Causes of Low Blood Pressure

  • Pregnancy
  • Heart problems
  • Prolonged bedrest
  • Dehydration
  • Blood loss
  • Hormonal problems
  • Severe allergic reactions
  • Severe blood infection
  • Poor nutrition
  • Certain medications


Some Symptoms of Low Blood Pressure

  • dizziness
  • fainting
  • nausea
  • fatigue
  • quick, shallow breathing
  • loss of concentration


Treatment of Low Blood Pressure

  • Drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated
  • Increase salt intake (only when permitted by your doctor)
  • Limit alcohol
  • Change medications that cause low blood pressure
  • Wear compression stockings
  • Stand up slowly after sitting down or lying down
  • Treat underlying causes of low blood pressure


For more information about low blood pressure, visit:

National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/hyp


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