While many of us are aware of the hazards of high blood pressure, low blood pressure is equally prevalent and dangerous. When blood pressure falls below the normal pressure level, which is 120/80 mmHg, it is regarded as low blood pressure or hypotension. Hypotension occurs due to the insufficient supply of oxygen (via the blood) to the heart and brain. Consequently, these vital organs cannot function properly, and as a result, they may suffer damage that could be temporary or even permanent.
The force with which blood pushes against the walls of the arteries is known as blood pressure. When the heart pumps blood into the arteries, the pressure exerted on the arterial walls is known as systolic pressure. When the muscles relax and refill with blood, the pressure falls, and this is known as diastolic pressure. Both systolic and diastolic pressures are important. The normal pressure value is 120/80 mmHg, where 120 denotes the systolic pressure and 80 refers to the diastolic pressure. If blood pressure is 90/60 mmHg or less, it is referred to as low blood pressure.
It should be noted, however, that blood pressure varies among people, and hence, if someone has a low blood pressure value, but shows no other signs or symptoms of low blood pressure, then he/she is not considered to have low blood pressure. In order to better understand or deal with low blood pressure, it is therefore important to understand the related signs and symptoms of low blood pressure.
Symptoms of Low Blood Pressure
Most people with low blood pressure show no symptoms. For such people, there are no underlying conditions causing the low blood pressure, and hence, no treatment is necessary. However, medical attention is vital when low blood pressure also leads to insufficient supply of blood to the brain and other vital organs. In such a scenario, underlying health conditions lead to hypotension. The common symptoms of hypotension are as follows:
· Blurred vision
· Increased thirst
· Pale skin
· Shortness of breath
· Irregular heartbeat
Inadequate blood supply to the brain due to low blood pressure results in dizziness, fatigue, and lack of concentration. Changing positions such as going from a seated position to a standing position can lead to dizziness or lightheadedness as well. When one is standing, the blood moves toward the lower body, and this can lower blood pressure. Since the blood pressure of hypotension patients is already low, standing can lower the pressure even further, manifesting in symptoms such as lightheadedness and dizziness. Medically, this is referred to as orthostatic hypotension.
Common Causes of Low Blood Pressure
• Dehydration (due to sweating and/or diarrhea)
• Medications (for high BP or other treatments)
• Severe infection
• Heart attack
• Heart failure
· Stand up gradually – particularly first thing in the morning. It may also be useful to try other physical movements first to increase your heart rate and the flow of blood around your body. For example, stretching in bed before you get up or crossing and uncrossing your legs if you are seated and about to stand.
· Avoid standing for long periods of time – this can help prevent neutrally mediated hypotension (low blood pressure caused by miscommunication between heart and the brain).
· Eat small, frequent meals rather than large ones – this can help prevent postprandial hypotension (low blood pressure after eating). Lying down after eating or sitting still for a while may also help.
· Light exercises, yoga, walking, swimming and cycling are highly recommended to regulate your blood pressure on daily basis.
· All kind of stress should be avoided. Refrain from working till late nights, and avoid negative thinking and unnecessary worry.
· Laughter is the best medicine they say, and for people suffering from low blood pressure, surely it is. Laughing out loud first thing in the morning helps to regain your normal blood pressure.
Home Remedies for Low Blood Pressure
Increase Water Intake
Drink a lot of water. It will keep you hydrated. It also fights dehydration, and increase the blood volume, thereby keeping your blood pressure in the normal range.
Salt water helps treat low blood pressure because the sodium in salt increases blood pressure. Do not overdo this remedy though, as excess salt can prove to be unhealthy. Simply mix one-half teaspoon of salt in a glass of water and drink it.
Having a cup of strong coffee, hot chocolate, cola, or any caffeinated beverage can also temporarily increase your blood pressure. If you frequently suffer from low blood pressure, drink a cup of coffee in the morning or have it along with meals, especially when dealing with orthostatic hypotension. But, do not make it a habit because the long-term effects of caffeine are not clear.
Raisins are a traditional remedy that is considered excellent for treating hypotension naturally.
· Soak 30 to 40 raisins in a cup of water overnight.
· Eat them in the morning, one at a time, on an empty stomach. You can also drink the water in which the raisins were soaked.
· Follow this remedy for a few weeks or even a month.
You can take about four to five almonds, 10 to 15 black currants, and 15 to 20 peanuts along with a glass of milk.
Drinking juice of beet root twice a day is one of the effective home remedies to treat low blood pressure.
Almonds and Milk
This is another traditional home remedy for low blood pressure. · Soak five to six almonds in water overnight. · In the morning, peel off the skin and grind the almonds into a smooth paste. · Finally, boil the paste in a cup of milk. Drink a cup of this every morning.
Rosemary is believed to be useful in normalizing low blood pressure because it stimulates the central nervous system and improves circulation. Having freshly prepared infusion with this herb or adding it to your foods is useful.
Starting your day with fresh carrot juice mixed with a little honey is an easy way to treat low blood pressure.
· Take a glass of carrot juice.
· Mix two tablespoons of honey in it.
· Drink it twice daily (on an empty stomach in the morning and in the evening).
Lemon juice is highly effective in treating high blood pressure, but it can also be used for low blood pressure, especially when it is caused by dehydration. In such cases, you can drink some lemon juice mixed with a little salt and sugar. It helps energize your body by stimulating the liver function and aiding in digestion. A glass of sugarcane juice mixed with a teaspoon of lemon juice and salt is also useful.
Pomegranate has proved to a great remedy for low blood pressure. Eat it as a fruit, and crush it and have its juice, both are highly effective.