Nearly 45% of American adults suffer from hypertension, but what’s more concerning is the lack of awareness around the opposite condition: hypotension.
Otherwise known as low blood pressure, hypotension is often overlooked because it’s harder to identify. If you’re prone to hypotension and you’re interested in treatment, you’ve come to the right place.
Wondering how to fix hypotension? Here’s everything you need to know.
What Is Considered Low Blood Pressure?
Before we dive into how to fix hypotension, it’s important to understand its definition. Medical professionals define low pressure when it’s under 90 mm Hg systolic or 60 mm Hg diastolic.
Low blood pressure can be dangerous, especially if there’s a sudden drop. It can cause dizziness, and you may faint if your brain isn’t getting enough blood.
Types of Low Blood Pressure
There are different types, such as postural or orthostatic hypotension. This is where your blood pressure plummets when you stand up after lying down or sitting for an extended period.
Gravity pulls blood to your legs and ensures enough returns to your brain, but with orthostatic hyperactive, your body can’t do it quickly enough. As a result, your blood pressure falls and you experience symptoms.
You may also have postprandial hypotension which occurs several hours after eating and mainly affects older adults. In healthy patients, blood flows to your digestive tract after you eat, but if the blood pressure drops, your body is unable to do this and you feel dizzy.
There’s also neurally mediated hypotension that occurs when you stand for long periods which affects children or young adults.
The main causes are nutritional deficiencies, pregnancy, certain medications, heart problems, and allergic reactions. Certain health conditions also play a factor, like Addison’s disease, liver failure, diabetes, and dehydration.
It’s therefore important to ask your doctor for a diagnosis.
Symptoms of Low Blood Pressure
While you may be wondering, “how to fix orthostatic hypotension?”, it’s important to first cover the symptoms so you know what to look out for.
Symptoms of hypotension include:
- Lack of concentration
- Blurred vision
Signs of low blood pressure aren’t obvious like with hypertension. If you experience this for an extended period, schedule an appointment with your doctor.
Extreme cases can cause shock, a serious medical emergency where there’s a decrease in blood flow in your body that can lead to organ damage. Symptoms of shock include shallow breathing, confusion, and a weak pulse. If you or a loved one experiences this, you’ll need immediate medical attention.
Anyone can have low blood pressure but it’s more common in adults older than 65. People who take medication like alpha-blockers will also have a greater risk of hypotension. Also, conditions like Parkinson’s disease can develop into low blood pressure.
How to Fix Hypotension
Whether you want to learn how to fix postural hypotension or orthostatic hypotension, treatment will help both. But before trying these, speak with a healthcare professional and they’ll find the right one for you. This may include one of the following.
Eat More Salt
A surefire way to ease symptoms is to add more salt to your diet. Slightly increasing your sodium intake will raise blood pressure. However, don’t overdo it, as excessive salt can also harm your heart.
Staying hydrated increases your blood volume and prevents dehydration, both causes of hypotension. Aim to drink around eight glasses of water a day, more if you can.
It’s also wise to avoid drinking an excessive amount of alcohol as it can lead to lower blood pressure and dehydration.
Eat Small Meals Frequently
Make sure you eat smaller meals regularly as it’ll lower your blood pressure. This works because small meals prevent a massive drop in blood pressure that often happens when you eat heavier meals.
You should also cut the carbs so your body maintains the same blood pressure level.
Exercise for around 45 minutes a day and choose workouts that elevate your heart rate. For instance, you could try resistance exercises or weight lifting. But avoid a strenuous workout on a hot day, because it can lead to dehydration.
Cross Legs While Sitting
This is an easy way to increase blood pressure, but you should avoid sudden position changes. If you stand or sit up too quickly then you may become lightheaded and faint. In many cases, this is because the heart hasn’t pumped enough blood around the body fast enough.
Wear Compression Stockings
You should also wear compression or support stockings. These relieve pain and swelling in your legs while reducing the amount of blood pooling in your legs. If that’s not comfortable, try elastic abdominal binders instead.
When to See a Doctor
If you regularly experience dizziness or lightheadedness then see a doctor so they can conduct a routine examination. It’s useful to record your symptoms including what you were doing at the time and how regularly they occur.
But if you spot signs of shock, then you’ll need immediate medical help.
Now You’re All Caught Up
Hopefully, this article has familiarized you with how to fix hypotension, as well as its causes and symptoms.
Be mindful of how often you’re feeling lightheaded, dehydrated, or dizzy because it could be a sign of low blood pressure. Aside from getting your doctor’s advice, you should regularly exercise, eat smaller meals, and add more salt, as it’ll increase your blood pressure.
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