Low Blood Pressure: Types, Causes, and Risk Factors

  • Low blood pressure, or hypotension, occurs when the blood pressure is less than 90/60 mmHg.
  • There are three main kinds of hypotension, which are caused by different factors.
  • Other causes include genetic mutations, cardiovascular issues, and lifestyle risk factors.

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A healthy blood pressure level is between 90/60 millimeters of mercury (mmHg) and 120/80 mmHg.

Low blood pressure, or hypotension, occurs when the blood pressure is less than normal.

This condition may impair the functions of your brain and other organs.

It can be caused by a variety of factors. Identifying the type of hypotension you have can help determine the cause.

Types and Common Causes

There are three main kinds of hypotension: orthostatic hypotension, neurally mediated hypotension, and severe hypotension.

Orthostatic Hypotension

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Orthostatic hypotension, or postural hypotension, is a rapid drop in blood pressure caused by abrupt changes in body position, such as suddenly standing from a sitting or lying position.

This results in the classic symptoms of low blood pressure: dizziness, blurry vision, and fainting.

In this condition, nerve receptors fail to signal your body to increase blood pressure and heart rate when changing your position. This causes the blood to pool in your lower body when it should be reaching your brain, making you feel woozy.

Possible causes include:

  • Anemia
  • Dehydration
  • Low blood sugar and diabetes
  • Pregnancy
  • Severe infections
  • Nervous system disorders
  • Side effects of certain medications, such as diuretics or other high blood pressure medications like beta-blockers
  • Long exposure to heat or extended immobility

Neurally Mediated Hypotension

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Extended periods of standing can cause hypotension when the nervous system is impaired.

Due to the poor communication between your brain and your heart, your body can receive false signals that your blood pressure is high. The body then responds by slowing your heart rate, which further drops your blood pressure.

Possible causes include:

Severe Hypotension Related to Shock

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Shock is a medical emergency that requires immediate medical help. The sudden drop in blood pressure is much more severe—and it doesn’t return to normal.

Possible types include:

  • Cardiogenic shock from arrhythmia, heart attack, or pulmonary embolism
  • Septic shock from toxins or infection
  • Vasodilatory shock from anaphylaxis, head injury, poisoning, or liver failure
  • Severe blood loss
  • Severe fluid loss from burns, diarrhea, or diuretics overdose

Other Causes

Genetics

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Gene mutations can cause lower blood pressure, which is generally a good thing. This reduces your risk of cardiovascular diseases and high blood pressure in older age.

It is only when it occurs suddenly or unusually that it causes concern.

Cardiovascular

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The function and structure of your heart can impact your blood pressure.

Some issues include:

  • Low heart rate
  • Weak heart
  • Decreased blood supply
  • Plaque buildup in the arteries

Lifestyle

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Other risk factors include:

  • Eating habits: Patients with existing high blood pressure can experience postprandial hypotension, which is a rapid drop in blood pressure after eating a large meal.
  • Nutrient deficiencies such as folic acid or iron deficiency
  • Dehydration after exercising
  • Changes in blood sugar, usually caused by diabetes

Things to Consider

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A woozy sensation after sudden changes in position is a common experience for most people.

But if you feel it frequently along with other symptoms, make sure to consult with a doctor immediately.

 

Source: very well health



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