Readings below 90/60 mm Hg are considered hypotension (low blood pressure). Different factors can provoke hypotension and treatment depends on the cause. Dizziness and fainting are the most common symptoms in those who experience low blood pressure. However, many people do not have any symptoms (asymptomatic).

What is Low Blood Pressure?

It is considered that a person has low blood pressure or hypotension when it is too low than expected. As mentioned people with hypotension do not experience any symptoms but if they appear, you might need medical attention.

Types of Low Blood Pressure

  • Orthostatic Hypotension – This type of low blood pressure is also called postural hypotension because it usually appears with changes in posture. If your systolic (top) pressure drops below 20 mm Hg and diastolic (bottom) pressure below 10 mm Hg for a longer time is considered low blood pressure.
  • Absolute Hypotension – In case your resting blood pressure is below 90/60 mm Hg (millimeters of mercury).

Systolic (top number) – This number shows pressure on your arteries each time your heart beats.

Diastolic (bottom number) – Shows how much pressure your arteries are under between heartbeats.

Is low blood pressure a common health condition?

Usually, people who suffer from hypotension experience no symptoms and it is roughly impossible to determine how many people are affected by this condition. However, orthostatic hypotension is more common as you get older. About 5% of people experience this condition at age 50, increasing to 30% in people over 70 years old.


While most time people do not experience symptoms, they can appear. For example:

  • Lightheadedness
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting or passing out
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Blurred vision
  • Fast or shallow breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Tiredness
  • Lethargy
  • Confusion
  • Concentrating problems
  • Agitation

For those who experience any of the symptoms listed above, depends on the cause of low blood pressure. Commonly, slow drops in blood pressure happen normally and blood pressure becomes lower as an individual gets older. If a fast drop in blood pressure occurs it may mean that certain parts of your body do not get enough blood flow. Thus, it may cause undesired or even dangerous effects.

In addition, when doctors diagnose low blood pressure they may pay attention if you have any of the following signs. Examples include:

  • Too slow or fast heartbeat
  • Lighter skin (more than usual)
  • Cool kneecaps
  • Low cardiac output
  • Low urine output


Different factors may provoke low blood pressure. Check below some examples:

  • Orthostatic Hypotension – It usually occurs when you stand up too quickly and your body cannot compensate with more blood flow to the brain.
  • Central Nervous System Disease – In case you experience a health condition that affects your nervous system (such as Parkinson’s disease), you may notice the effects of low blood pressure after meals because your digestive system uses more blood than usual to digest food.
  • Extreme Temperatures – If you are in too hot or cold temperatures, your low blood pressure may worsen.
  • Pregnancy – Bleeding or other complications of pregnancy may cause hypotension.
  • Alcohol and Recreational Drugs – These products can decrease your blood pressure usually, for a short time. Furthermore, some vitamins, home remedies, and herbal supplements, may also decrease your blood pressure. That’s why it is advised to consult a doctor before using any supplements.
  • Prescription Medicines – You may notice hypotension as a side effect of medications used to treat other pre-existing health conditions. In any case, you should not stop taking them until your doctor directs you to do so. Drugs used in the treatment of hypertension, erectile dysfunction, heart failure, neurological disorders, and depression usually cause low blood pressure.
  • Heart and Lung Diseases – If your heart beats too slowly or too fast, you may experience low blood pressure. In addition, if your lungs do not work properly or you have advanced heart failure, you also can experience hypotension.
  • Life-threatening Conditions – Arrhythmias, pulmonary embolism (PE), myocardial infarctions, and collapsed lung are some life-threatening diseases that can cause low blood pressure. Moreover, some allergic reactions that also may cause hypotension are anaphylaxis or immune reactions to severe infections (sepsis).
  • Low Blood Volume – Dehydration or blood loss due to severe injuries contributes to decreased blood volume. This factor also can reduce your blood pressure.


If you leave this condition untreated, it may lead to several complications. Check below some of them:

  • Heart Problems or Stroke – If you experience low blood pressure for a long term, your heart tries to compensate by pumping faster. Therefore, it may cause permanent damage to your heart or even heart failure. In addition, it also may lead to deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and stroke.
  • Shock – In case you experience extremely low blood pressure, it may negatively affect your organs because they get a decreased amount of blood. Hence, your body may start to shut down due to limited blood flow and oxygen.
  • Falls and Fall-related Injuries – If you experience hypotension, it is advised to prevent falls because it may lead to broken bones, concussions, and other life-threatening injuries.


In most cases, diagnosing a hypotension is easy but it is hard to determine the exact cause of this condition. In case you experience some symptoms, doctors will perform some blood tests.

Lab Tests

Your doctor may recommend blood and urine tests for the following potential problems. For example:

  • Vitamin deficiencies
  • Thyroid or hormone issues
  • Decreased levels of iron in the blood (anemia)
  • Pregnancy
  • Diabetes


Your physician may suspect a lung or heart problem and will advise you to perform the following tests. Examples include:

  • Computed Tomography (CT) scans
  • Echocardiogram or similar ultrasound-based tests
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • X-rays

If you have any questions, ask your healthcare professional.


Fortunately, different treatment options are available to treat hypotension. Low blood pressure can be treated even if the exact cause is not known. Check below some examples:

  • Changing how your body handles fluids – To maintain fluid balance in your body are responsible your kidneys. There are some medicines that help to keep salt and fluids in your body. This effect helps with low blood pressure.
  • Making blood vessels constrict
  • Increasing blood volume – Intravenous (IV) fluids, plasma, or blood transfusions are some methods to increase blood volume. These methods are also known as fluid resuscitation.

Frequently Asked Questions

How soon after treatment will I feel better?

Usually, it depends on the cause of your low blood pressure. In some cases, you may feel better when you receive the treatment. However, there are some cases that may take several days or even weeks for treatments and medicines to help permanently. Discuss with your healthcare provider for more details.

How to decrease the risk of hypotension?

Commonly, you do not have to do that will help to reduce the risk. However, you can try to avoid supplements, vitamins, and recreational drugs that decrease your pressure. In addition, eating small amounts of carbohydrates also may help to prevent low blood pressure.

What drinks are allowed while experiencing hypotension?

  • Drink more water
  • Consume moderate amounts of alcohol
  • It is advised to add salt to your diet

In any case, you should inform your doctor about any changes you want to make. Otherwise, it may lead to some unpleasant results.

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