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LOW BLOOD PRESSURE

HYPOTENSION

A conversation between an academic doctor and a protégé:

Doctor A. E: Two colleagues of mine died during the lock down last year.

Protégé: Woah, what could have happened?

Doctor A. E: One died of high blood pressure while the other died of low blood pressure. I never knew low blood pressure could kill, I mean, I was shocked to say the least

Protégé : Which one is low blood pressure again?

The conversation of course didn’t end here, however, this was culled for the significance of the topic. Also note that this was a real life occurrence.

Now, unlike high blood pressure, little or no attention is given to low blood pressure, which is just as detrimental to the health as high blood pressure. A healthy blood pressure or BP is usually less than 120/80mm Hg for most adults. When your BP reads lower than 90/60mm Hg, you should know that low blood pressure has set in.

Amazingly, for many people, low BP means having a sound health, while for some other persons, they need to take medications in addition to making lifestyle modifications to help keep their BP at a healthy level. However, it is important to state at this point that if your low blood pressure is accompanied by the symptoms stated below, you should consult a doctor.

SYMPTOMS OF LOW BLOOD PRESSURE

  • Dizziness or light-headedness
  • Lack of concentration
  • Heart palpitations
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Blurry vision
  • Fainting

Accordingly, the symptoms must have been triggered by a few factors. The causes of low blood pressure also known as hypotension, ranges from dehydration to serious medical disorders.

CONDITIONS THAT CAN CAUSE HYPOTENSION

  • Pregnancy. During pregnancy, the circulatory system expands swiftly, and as a result, BP is likely to drop. Your BP usually returns to your pre-pregnancy level after you’ve given birth. It’s advisable you check your BP regularly during pregnancy.
  • Heart problems. Some heart conditions that can lead to low BP include extremely low heart rate, heart attack and heart failure.
  • Dehydration. Dehydration happens when your body loses more water than it takes in, and it can cause weakness, dizziness, and fatigue. Additionally, fever, vomiting, severe diarrhoea and strenuous exercise can lead to dehydration.
  • Blood loss. Losing a lot of blood via an accident or any other means, diminishes the amount of blood in your body, leading to a severe drop in blood pressure.
  • Insufficient nutrients in your diet. If your diet lacks Vitamin B 12, folate and iron, know that you are depriving your body of producing enough blood cells, causing low blood pressure.

Having known the causes of hypotension, what can you do if you have it or know someone who does?

  • Drink enough water on a daily basis. Dehydration is the major cause of orthostatic hypotension. Not only does water prevent hypotension, it increases your blood volume. Increased blood volume translates to lower BP. If you engage in exercise, drink more water this is because exercise can cause you to sweat, and when you sweat, you lose water. Furthermore, replace sugary drinks with water if you are struggling to get enough water each day. Avoid alcohol by all means possible. Also, drink enough water daily, so that your urine is mostly colourless.
  • Diet and exercise are a good combination. It is important that you have a diet rich in fresh vegetables, fruits, whole grains, milk and milk products, nuts, legumes, beans and small amounts of lean meats. Exercise regularly to keep fit and most importantly to have a healthy heart. A lack of essential nutrients in your diet can lead to low blood pressure. For instance, if you do not have enough B12 in your diet, your body will not have enough red blood cells. Milk, eggs, fish and fortified breakfast foods are good sources of B12.
  • Increase your salt intake. Talk to your doctor or a trained nutritionist before adjusting the sodium content of your diet. The amount of sodium you need depends on your body, age and gender. Also, be careful when adding sodium to your diet.
  • Monitor your blood pressure regularly as you age. Even though you drink enough water, exercise regularly and have increased your sodium intake, the older your body gets, the harder time you have regulating your BP. Some people develop hypotension as they age, therefore, it is key that you make monitoring your BP a lifestyle.
  • Your doctor should be in the know if you suffer from an illness or pre-existing condition. Endocrine conditions such as low blood sugar, diabetes, Addison’s disease and other central nervous system disorders can also lower your blood pressure. With this information in mind, your doctor can prescribe medications and courses of treatment which will not lead to low BP. When these prescriptions are made, you can contact us to get them delivered to you speedily.

Finally, an unexpected fall in blood pressure can be dangerous. A change of just 20mm Hg can cause dizziness and fainting when the brain fails to receive enough blood. It’s noteworthy that critically low BP can deprive your body of enough oxygen to carry out its functions, leading to damage to your heart and brain. Also, it’s important to find out what is causing your low blood pressure so as to get a proper treatment for it.

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