We’re talking about Hypotension-how low blood pressure can go…safely.
Most people don’t realize that low blood pressure can be just as unsafe in many situations as it’s opposite, hypertension (high blood pressure).
And the events affecting your pressure are just as varied. For Instance:
- Age: A Drop in blood pressure, especially after eating (known as “Postprandial Hypotension”) or when standing up, (known as “Orthostatic” or “Postural Hypotension” ) is not uncommon in adults older than 65.
- Medications: People who take medications known as “beta blockers” used to control high blood pressure have a greater risk of low blood pressure.
- Certain diseases/medical conditions: Parkinson’s disease, Diabetes, and some heart conditions put you at a greater risk of developing low blood pressure.
- Heart problems: Some heart conditions such as bradycardia (extremely low heart rate ), heart-valve problems, heart attacks and heart failure may cause low blood pressure because they prevent your body from circulating enough blood.
- Endocrine disorders: Thyroid conditions — such as parathyroid disease — adrenal insufficiency (Addison’s disease), low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) and, sometimes even diabetes can trigger low blood pressure.
- Dehydration: Even mild dehydration can cause weakness, dizziness, and fatigue. Fever, vomiting, severe diarrhea, overuse of diuretics and strenuous exercise can all lead to dehydration.
- Blood loss: Losing a lot of blood from a major injury or internal bleeding reduces the amount of blood in your body, leading to a severe drop in blood pressure.
- Severe infection (septicemia): Septicemia can happen when an infection in the body enters the bloodstream. This condition can lead to a life-threatening drop in blood pressure called septic shock.
- Severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis): Common triggers of anaphylaxis include foods, certain medications, insect venoms, and latex. Anaphylaxis can cause breathing problems, hives, itching, a swollen throat and a drop in blood pressure.
- Lack of nutrients in your diet: A lack of the vitamins B-12 and Folate can cause a condition in which your body doesn’t produce enough red blood cells (anemia), causing low blood pressure.
The symptoms listed below may signal a sudden drop in blood pressure, and point to underlying problems requiring medical attention:
- Dizziness or light-headedness
- Fainting (syncope)
- Lack of concentration
- Blurred vision
- Cold, clammy, pale skin
- Rapid, shallow breathing
In addition, we can even address the issue of hypotension-how low blood pressure can go- by looking at some of the medications to blame.
- Diuretics (water pills), such as Furosemide (Lasix)
- Drugs for Parkinson’s disease
- Certain types of antidepressants
- Nitroglycerine (taken for chest pain)
- Viagra, particularly when taken with the heart medication Nitroglycerin
Even the more moderate forms of low blood pressure can cause dizziness weakness and fainting.
And severely low blood pressure from any cause can deprive your body of enough oxygen to carry out its normal functions, ultimately damaging your heart and brain.