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MedLines: Some facts about Low Blood Pressure (Hypotension)

By Patience Joseph Mamman (Human Physiologist)
Diagram_of_human_circulatory_system

Generally speaking, many of us are very familiar with High Blood Pressure and the attendant complications that accompany it, as well as some of the useful remedies to at least maintain a normal blood pressure. But then there is also a reverse side to this which is Low Blood Pressure. This is what this short article hopes to briefly talk about.

To start with, let’s explain the concept of blood pressure itself and its significance before delving into the subject proper. Blood pressure as the name implies is simply the force exerted by the blood circulating in your blood vessels i.e the veins and arteries.

An individual’s blood pressure is expressed as what is commonly known as the SYSTOLIC/ DIASTOLIC blood pressure e.g. 100/80. 100 here is the systolic, while 80 is the diastolic. The systolic blood pressure or the top number represents the pressure in the arteries (i.e. vessels that carry blood with oxygen away from the heart to other parts) as the muscle of the heart contracts to pump blood into them. The diastolic (bottom number) represents the pressure in the arteries as the muscles of the heart relaxes following its contraction.

Blood pressure generally is always high when the heart is pumping blood than when it’s relax.

So, what is Low Blood Pressure? This is a blood that is low enough that the flow to the body organs is inadequate and symptoms or signs of low blood flow develop.

Things to note about Low Blood Pressure.
* Low blood pressure alone, without symptoms or signs is not usually unhealthy.
* Unlike high blood pressure, low blood pressure is definitely defined primarily by signs and symptoms of low blood flow and not by a specific BP number.
* The symptoms of low blood pressure include light-headedness, dizziness and fainting. These symptoms are most prominent when individuals go from lying down or sitting position to the standing position (orthostatic hypotension).
* Low blood pressure that causes inadequate flow of blood to the body’s organs can cause stroke, heart attack and kidney failure. Its most severe form is shock.
* Common causes of LBP include reduced volume of blood (PVC), heart disease and medications.
* The cause of low blood pressure can be determined with blood tests,radiologic studies and cardiac testings.
* Treatment of LBP is determined by the cause of the low pressure.

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