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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    Low blood pressure, or hypotension (blood pressure less than 90/60), can be caused by the following: pregnancy; hormonal problems such as underactive/hyperactive thyroid, diabetes, or low blood sugar; over-the-counter medications; overdose of high blood pressure medications; heart failures; abnormal heart rhythm; widening of blood vessels; heat exhaustion; or liver disease.
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    Regardless of the cause of shock, untreated, shock can be fatal. If treated promptly, damage and injury to vital organs from shock can be limited. For the elderly and those suffering from other medical conditions, recovery is more difficult. Infections like septic shock will affect the kidneys, whereas shock caused by spinal cord injury may affect the brain. Depending on the cause of shock, different portions of the body are affected differently.

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    Distributive shock is the term that refers to shock resulting from excessive dilation of the blood vessels. This is the same as vasodilatory shock, which increases the flow of blood into the vessels but simultaneously lowers blood pressure. Because of the lower blood pressure, the blood flow into the connected cells is lower.

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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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    A , Emergency Medicine, answered
    The following are the signs and symptoms of shock:
    • Anxiety, restlessness
    • Rapid, weak pulse
    • Rapid, shallow breathing
    • Pale, cold, clammy skin
    • Blue/pale lips and nail beds
    • Coldness of extremities
    • Thirst, dryness in mouth
    • Nausea
    • Dizziness, fainting
    • Mental confusion
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    Hypotension is low blood pressure. Blood pressure is the force of blood pushing against the walls of the arteries as the heart pumps out blood.
    Blood pressure is measured as systolic and diastolic pressures. Systolic blood pressure is the pressure when the heart beats while pumping blood. Diastolic blood pressure is the pressure when the heart is at rest between beats.
    You will most often see blood pressure numbers written with the systolic number above or before the diastolic, such as 120/80 mmHg. (The mmHg is millimeters of mercury-the units used to measure blood pressure.)
    mal blood pressure in adults is lower than 120/80 mmHg. Hypotension is blood pressure lower than 90/60 mmHg.
    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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    Another name for low blood pressure is hypotension. Some people have hypotension all the time. These people have no problems with the low blood pressure and it is considered to be normal for them.

    Low blood pressure may be a concern to your doctor if you begin to have symptoms such as feeling dizzy, anemia, dehydration, abnormal heartbeats or fainting. Sometimes very low blood pressure can cause shock, a serious condition that needs immediate medical attention. Your doctor will test for further problems to see what might be causing the low blood pressure readings and other symptoms. 
     
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    Shock is a medical emergency. If you suspect that someone is going into shock, call 911 immediately and begin treating for shock. Do not move the person if spinal cord injury is suspected, do not give anything to eat or drink, and administer first aid to any wounds. The person should be kept as warm and comfortable as possible.

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    Orthostatic hypotension is a sudden fall in blood pressure that occurs when a person assumes a standing position. It may be caused by hypovolemia, a decreased amount of blood in the body, resulting from the excessive use of diuretics, vasodilators, or other types of drugs; dehydration; or prolonged bed rest. The disorder may be associated with Addison's disease, atherosclerosis (build-up of fatty deposits in the arteries), diabetes, and certain neurological disorders including Shy-Drager syndrome and other dysautonomias. The symptoms that generally occur after sudden standing include dizziness, lightheadedness, blurred vision, and syncope (temporary loss of consciousness).
    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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    Shock is a medical emergency that occurs when blood pressure drops drastically. Shock is a physical condition that may be triggered by problems with the heart leading to cardiogenic shock; blood vessel dilation causing distributive or vasodilatory shock; or blood volume levels that are so low it leads to hypovolemic shock. Toxic poisoning can cause septic shock and allergic reactions can lead to anaphylactic shock. Shock can affect other organs including the heart, liver, brain and kidneys. If left untreated, shock can cause irreversible damage and even death.

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