Also known as hypotension, low blood pressure can be a life-threatening condition, and unfortunately, as a matter of fact, it affects millions of people worldwide. It is imperative to know its ill-effects, but at the same time also important to be well aware of the causes and preventive measures too.
The heart pumps blood and this blood circulates to all parts of our body to keep us going. This function is carried out by the blood vessels. Now, blood pressure is simply the amount of pressure that the blood which is circulating around exerts on the walls of these blood vessels. Obviously it can be normal, high, and even low. When the hearts pumps blood the pressure is high, and when it relaxes the pressure goes down.
This is the reason why blood pressure is measured by counts relating to both these processes, and is called systolic/diastolic blood pressure. 120/80 is considered to be normal blood pressure, where 120 is the count when the heart pumps blood, and 80 being the count when it relaxes. Now that we understand what blood pressure actually means, in this article, we will elaborate some more about low blood pressure and its effects on a patient’s life.
What is Low Blood Pressure?
Also known as hypotension, it is simply when the pressure of the blood drops below normal levels. A slight drop is not a cause of concern, since our blood pressure fluctuates a bit every now and then, depending on the level of activity we are performing. A fluctuation of around 30 is considered to be ok, as long as it is not long term. But when the blood pressure falls below the reading of 90/60 mm Hg, the number 60, which is referred to as the diastolic blood pressure, is said to indicate that the person is suffering from low blood pressure. When this condition occurs, the heart is not in a position to pump the required amount of blood needed by all parts of the body.
Causes of Low Blood Pressure
This ailment can be caused due to various factors. The most common reasons for this condition can be any of the following – blood loss, dehydration, severe allergies, malnutrition, heart diseases, slow heart rate, inflammation near the heart, blood clot, low temperature, age, and pregnancy. While these cover more than 99% of the reasons that cause this disease, there can be other rare conditions too that can be a cause. In any case, what the cause may be, an immediate visit to the doctor is imperative, so he can diagnose the problem himself and treat the patient accordingly.
Effects of Low Blood Pressure on the Body
It is important for a patient to properly understand the symptoms of this problem. It has varied effects on the body, one important effect being that the heart rate is lower than normal.
- Heart/Kidney Problems: The kidney does not eliminate wastes from the body efficiently. This malfunction then results in a build-up of toxins in the body, which can lead to any related sickness. This condition also adversely affects the heart and tends to cause various heart diseases, and can ultimately also result in a heart attack.
- Brain/Nerve Damage: A lower blood pressure can lead to nerve damage. It will also damage the brain due to insufficient oxygen, thus causing a stroke.
- Dizziness: This is experienced by many people suffering from low blood pressure. It occurs when a person suddenly stands up, or gets out from the bed after sleeping very soon. It also tends to affects people more with advancement in age.
- Nausea: This is another very common effect that low blood pressure has on our body. This again happens due to less blood and oxygen in the brain, and is related to gastrointestinal distress.
- Organ Failure: It can make a person go into shock too. This happens simply due to less blood going around to certain parts of the body. This in turn can lead to single or multiple organ failure, varying from case to case.
- Other Effects: These include fainting, light-headedness, confusion, mental instability, breathing problems, chest pain, weakness, blurred vision, palpitations, etc.
Prevention/Treatment of Low Blood Pressure
There is a mix of preventive measures as well as treatment options that can be undertaken to control low blood pressure. The simplest and quickest way is to increase the intake of salt. But it should also be remembered that there are professional doctors out there who can treat us properly. The doctor needs to be visited who can get to the root cause of the problem and treat the patient accordingly. It can also happen that you are taking some drugs for some other treatment, which are also acting like blood pressure lowering drugs.
This is usually the case with an alpha blocker like doxazosin. Taking care while standing up, getting out of the bed slowly, can also help lessen the symptoms. If the nerves have been affected, then the doctor will prescribe drugs that will help stimulate the nervous system. The patient may also be administered hormones that help in the retention of salt. Wearing an anti-gravity suit or elastic stockings will also help a great deal. But as mentioned earlier, the doctor knows best, so it is very important that he checks the patient, so he can treat accordingly.
As we have seen that the dangers of low blood pressure are varied and many, and they simply differ from patient to patient and case to case. As advised by the doctor, proper preventive and treatment methods need to be undertaken to control this simple, yet dangerous problem, which can also become life-threatening. So stay informed and stay healthy.