Hypotension

Hypotension

Clinically known as hypotension, low blood pressure (LBP) may indicate signs of underlying health problems. While its common for some people to always have hypotension, severe drops in your blood pressure can deprive your body of oxygen and result in damage to vital organs. Sudden drops may be caused by heart failure, loss of blood, an allergic reaction called anaphylaxis or sepsis, a life-threatening blood infection. Doctors define a reading below 90/60 as low blood pressure. You may become dizzy or even faint if your pressure falls below this reading. As you get older, you are more likely to develop either high or low blood pressure. Medications that help treat high blood pressure may actually cause you to have low blood pressure.

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    AHealthwise answered

    Orthostatic hypotension is a rapid and sudden decrease in blood pressure that occurs when a person changes position, such as rising from a sitting or lying position to standing, or when standing motionless in one position. Symptoms of orthostatic hypotension may include lightheadedness, dizziness, or fainting (syncope).

    When a person sits up or stands up, the body adjusts the way it pumps blood to maintain blood flow to the brain. If the blood flow changes occur too slowly after the person stands up, the blood flow to the brain may be temporarily reduced, causing the person to feel lightheaded or to faint. Most people do not have orthostatic hypotension symptoms when they change position.

    Orthostatic hypotension is often caused or made worse by dehydration. Other causes include diabetes, heart disease, and nervous system problems. Many medications cause orthostatic hypotension.

    Treatment can involve adjusting medicines and increasing fluid intake.



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    When orthostatic hypotension is caused by hypovolemia due to medication, the disorder may be reversed by adjusting the dosage or discontinuing the medication. When the condition is caused by prolonged bed rest, improvement may occur by sitting up with increasing frequency each day. In some cases, physical counter-pressure such as an elastic hose or a whole-body inflatable suit may be required. Dehydration is treated with salt and fluids.

    This answer from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke has been reviewed and/or edited by Dr. William D. Knopf.

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    Doctors often can successfully treat hypotension. Many people who have the disorder live normal, healthy lives.

    If you have low blood pressure, you can take steps to prevent or limit symptoms, such as dizzy spells and fainting.

    If you have orthostatic hypotension, get up slowly after sitting or lying down. Eat small, low-carbohydrate meals if you have postprandial hypotension (a form of orthostatic hypotension).

    If you have neurally mediated hypotension, don't stand for long periods. Also, drink plenty of fluids and try to avoid unpleasant or scary situations. Learn to recognize symptoms and take action to raise your blood pressure. Children who have NMH often outgrow it.

    Other lifestyle changes also can help you control low blood pressure.

    Ask your doctor about learning how to measure your own blood pressure. This will help you find out what a normal blood pressure reading is for you. Keeping a record of blood pressure readings done by health professionals also can help you learn more about your blood pressure.

    This answer from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute has been reviewed and/or edited by Dr. William D. Knopf.

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    Blood transfusion: If blood loss causes low blood pressure, a blood transfusion can help increase blood pressure.

    Drink plenty of fluids: Drinking more water may help raise blood pressure because fluids increase blood volume. Drinking adequate amounts of water also helps prevent dehydration, a common cause of hypotension.

    Avoid consuming alcohol: Alcohol is dehydrating, and it may lower blood pressure. These effects may occur even if a person drinks in moderation. Therefore, patients with hypotension are encouraged to avoid consuming alcohol.

    Stand up slowly: If hypotension occurs when a person stands up after sitting or lying down, it may help to take several deep breathes before getting up. Sleeping with the head slightly elevated may also reduce symptoms.

    If a person develops symptoms of hypotension after standing for a long period of time, it may help to cross the thighs. This puts pressure on the blood vessels and may improve blood pressure. As a result, blood flow from the legs to the heart may increase.

    Compression stockings: Compression stockings, which are often used to relieve pain and swelling of varicose veins, may help prevent blood from pooling in the legs. As a result, symptoms of hypotension may be reduced.

    Medications: When there is no known cause of hypotension, medications may be prescribed to increase a person's blood pressure. For instance, a medication called fludrocortisone is often used to treat postural hypotension, which occurs when a patient stands up after sitting or lying down. This drug, which is classified as a mineralcorticoid, increases extracellular fluid and plasma volume and sensitizes blood vessels to the vasoconstrictive effect of norepinephrine. Other drugs, such as midodrine (Orvaten® or ProAmatine®), pyridostigmine (Mestinon®, Mestinon Timespans®, Mytelase Caplets®, Prostigmin®, or Regonol®), erythropoietin, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), are sometimes prescribed either alone or in combination with other drugs to increase blood pressure.

    You should read product labels, and discuss all therapies with a qualified healthcare provider. Natural Standard information does not constitute medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.



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    A primary care doctor or specialist may diagnose and treat hypotension. The type of specialist most commonly involved is a cardiologist (heart specialist).

    Other specialists also may be involved, such as surgeons, nephrologists (kidney specialists), neurologists (brain and nerve specialists), or others.

    This answer from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute has been reviewed and/or edited by Dr. William D. Knopf.

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    General: If a person has symptoms of hypotension, the goal is to determine the underlying cause. A doctor may perform one or more of the following tests to reach a diagnosis.

    Blood tests: Blood tests may be performed to determine if an infection is present in the blood. They are also used to detect possible endocrine problems, such as low blood sugar levels, an underactive or overactive thyroid gland, or adrenal insufficiency. Blood tests may also determine if the patient has vitamin B-12 or folate deficiencies and/or anemia.

    Electrocardiogram (ECG, EKG): An electrocardiogram may be performed to detect abnormalities in the heart's rhythm or structure. It can also detect problems with the supply of blood to the heart muscle. During the procedure, small electrode patches attached to the person's chest, arms, and legs. These electrodes transmit information about the electrical activity of the heart to a monitor.

    Stress test: A stress test may also be performed to determine how blood pressure changes when the heart is working harder than normal. This test may make it easier for a doctor to diagnose hypotension. During the test, the patient either exercises (often on a treadmill) or is given medication to make the heart work harder. Small electrodes are placed on the patient's chest to monitor the electrical activity of the heart. The patient's blood pressure may also be monitored. People with hypotension will have lower blood pressure during a stress test than healthy people who undergo a stress test.

    Tilt-table test: Patients who have postural hypotension or neutrally mediated hypotension may undergo a tilt-table test. During the test, the patient lies on a table that is tilted to raise the upper part of the body. The patient's blood pressure is measured during the test to determine how the body reacts to changes in position.

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    In general, hypotension (low blood pressure) is only considered a problem when symptoms develop. Symptoms may be persistent or they may only occur when a person stands for extended periods of time, stands up after sitting or lying down, or after a person eats. If blood pressure drops suddenly, it is often a sign of a life-threatening medical condition, and the person should immediately be taken to the nearest hospital.

    Common symptoms: Common symptoms of hypotension include dizziness, lightheadedness, blurred vision, pale skin, and fatigue. Individuals should be taken to the nearest hospital if they faint or lose consciousness, have difficulty breathing, or experience nausea. These may be signs of a serious medical problem.

    Additional symptoms: Depending on the underlying cause, additional symptoms may also be present. For instance, if a severe allergic reaction, called anaphylaxis, is causing symptoms, additional symptoms may include itching, hives, difficulty breathing, swelling of the throat and tongue, stomach cramps, nausea, and diarrhea.

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    Copyright © 2012 by Natural Standard Research Collaboration. All Rights Reserved.

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    Hypotension can affect people of all ages. However, people in certain age groups are more likely to have certain types of low blood pressure.

    Older adults are more likely to have orthostatic and postprandial hypotension. Children and young adults are more likely to have neurally mediated hypotension.

    People who become dehydrated or volume depleted due to many reasons are at risk for hypotension.

    People who take certain medicines, such as high blood pressure medicines, are at higher risk for low blood pressure. People who have central nervous system disorders (such as Parkinson's disease) or some heart conditions also are at higher risk for low blood pressure.

    Other risk factors for hypotension include being immobile (not being able to move around very much) for long periods and pregnancy. Hypotension during pregnancy is normal and goes away after birth.

    This answer from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute has been reviewed and/or edited by Dr. William D. Knopf.

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    There are several types of hypotension. People who always have low blood pressure have chronic asymptomatic hypotension. They have no signs or symptoms and need no treatment. Their low blood pressure is normal for them.

    The three main types of this kind of hypotension are orthostatic hypotension, neurally mediated hypotension (NMH), and severe hypotension linked to shock.

    Orthostatic hypotension

    This type of low blood pressure occurs when standing up from a sitting or lying down position. It can make you feel dizzy or lightheaded, or even make you faint.

    Orthostatic hypotension occurs if your body isn't able to adjust blood pressure and blood flow fast enough for the change in position. This type of low blood pressure usually lasts for only a few seconds or minutes after you stand up. You may need to sit or lie down for a short time while your blood pressure returns to normal.

    Orthostatic hypotension can occur in all age groups. However, it's more common in older adults, especially those who are frail or in poor health. It can be a symptom of other medical conditions, and treatment often focuses on treating the underlying condition(s).

    Neurally mediated hypotension

    With NMH, blood pressure drops after you've been standing for a long time. You may feel dizzy, faint, or sick to the stomach as a result. This type of low blood pressure also can occur if you have an unpleasant, upsetting, or scary experience.

    Severe Hypotension Linked to Shock

    People may say a person has "gone into shock" as a result of an upsetting event. But to doctors, the word "shock" has a different meaning. This implies collapse of the cardiovascular system from a variety of reasons.

    This answer from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute has been reviewed and/or edited by Dr. William D. Knopf.

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    Hypotension is the medical term for low blood pressure. Blood pressure is the force of blood pushing against the walls of arteries (blood vessels). Each time the heart beats, it pumps blood through blood vessels, supplying the body's muscles, organs, and tissues with the oxygen and nutrients that they need to function. Throughout the day, an individual's blood pressure rises and falls many times in response to various factors. For instance, stress typically increases blood pressure, and patients generally have lower blood pressure during sleep.

    Blood pressure is represented as two numbers: systolic pressure over diastolic pressure. These numbers are measured in millimeters of mercury (mmHg). Systolic pressure indicates the amount of pressure that the heart produces when it is pumping blood throughout the body. Diastolic pressure indicates the amount of pressure in the arteries when the heart is resting between beats.

    Normal blood pressure is considered lower than 120/80 millimeters of mercury. Many experts consider 115/75 millimeters of mercury to be optimal. It is important to note that this target blood pressure may be different for people with chronic illnesses, such as diabetes. If a person's blood pressure it less than 90/60 millimeters of mercury, it is considered lower than normal. Having just one number in the low range is considered low.

    There are many potential causes of hypotension, such as allergic reactions, excessive blood loss, endocrine problems, dehydration, heart problems, medications, nutritional deficiencies, pregnancy, and septicemia and septic shock. Because there are so many different causes of hypotension, it can occur in almost anyone.

    Treatment is rarely needed if hypotension does not cause any signs or symptoms. If symptoms are present, treatment depends on the underlying cause. If it is unclear what is causing symptoms of hypotension, treatment focuses on raising blood pressure. Blood pressure may be increased with diet and lifestyle changes, as well as with medications.

    You should read product labels, and discuss all therapies with a qualified healthcare provider. Natural Standard information does not constitute medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.



    For more information visit https://naturalmedicines.therapeuticresearch.com/

    Copyright © 2012 by Natural Standard Research Collaboration. All Rights Reserved.

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