Detailed Information on Hypotension (Low Blood Pressure)

Hypotension is a condition defined by a reduction in the patient’s blood pressure. When blood pressure falls below the normal range, it is referred to as low blood pressure or hypotension. Low blood pressure can be a sign of underlying heart, endocrine, or neurological disorders. It can also occur during pregnancy. While mildly low blood pressure is not a cause for concern, in severe cases it can lead to shock and even death.

Signs and Symptoms of Hypotension

The typical signs and symptoms of hypotension include:

  • Weakness
  • Lightheadedness
  • Dizziness
  • Blurred vision
  • Nausea
  • Fainting
  • Rapid and shallow breathing

Causes of Hypotension

Hypotension can be caused by a number of conditions or medications. The most common causes of low blood pressure include:

  • Dehydration
  • Nutritional deficiencies
  • Endocrine disorders (such as diabetes and hypothyroidism)
  • Anemia
  • Nervous system disorders (such as Parkinson’s disease)
  • Heart problems (such as heart failure)
  • Blood loss (such as from severe bleeding)
  • Certain medications (such as diuretics and antidepressants)

Diagnosing Hypotension

Typically, a healthcare practitioner will evaluate a patient’s blood pressure using a sphygmomanometer. This involves the use of a stethoscope and an inflatable cuff that is placed around the patient’s arm. The patient’s blood pressure is determined by measuring the pressure in the cuff. The practitioner may also perform a physical exam and order laboratory tests to further diagnose the patient’s condition.

Treatment of Hypotension

Treatment for hypotension depends largely on the underlying cause. If the patient is suffering from dehydration, intravenous fluids may be administered. Nutritional deficiencies may be addressed with diet modifications and supplements. In cases of endocrine disorders, the underlying condition (ex. diabetes) must be managed. Medications may also be used to treat certain causes of low blood pressure.

Preventing Hypotension

In some cases, hypotension can be prevented with healthy lifestyle habits. Drinking plenty of fluids and eating a balanced diet can help to maintain normal blood pressure. Regular exercise is also beneficial, as it helps to promote strong vascular health. Additionally, keeping stress levels under control is important, as stress is one of the primary triggers of low blood pressure.