When is Low Blood Pressure a Cause for Concern?
In mild cases, low blood pressure, or hypotension, is considered to be a sign of good health and an indicator of reduced risk of heart disease. The generally accepted baseline for “normal” blood pressure is 120/80. These two numbers represent readings of systolic pressure and diastolic pressure. Systolic pressure (the top number) is a measure of the pressure within the arteries as the heart pumps blood. Diastolic pressure (the bottom number) is a measure of the pressure within the arteries as the heart fills with blood. A reading of 90/60 or lower is indicative of hypotension.
In a healthy individual, blood pressure can fluctuate over time, but usually stabilizes. Many athletes and others who exercise regularly have slightly low blood pressure. Some people naturally have hypotension, while others experience it in episodes. For instance, some older adults have a sudden drop in blood pressure when they stand up from a seated position or remain standing for a prolonged period of time. Others who may be susceptible to hypotension include people who are on extended bed rest or are taking certain medications, as well as those with heart conditions, diabetes, allergies, severe infections, or nutrient deficiencies.
In general, hypotension is not a cause for concern unless it is associated with certain symptoms, such as:
- Blurred vision
- Shortness of breath
- Pale, clammy skin
If a sudden drop in blood pressure is accompanied by any of these symptoms, it’s important to promptly consult with a physician who can perform a thorough diagnosis and check for serious underlying conditions, such as an allergic reaction or internal bleeding. Treatment for symptomatic hypotension generally depends on its cause; immediate steps might include fluid intake, rest with the feet elevated above the heart, and avoidance of triggers, such as standing. Additionally, a physician may recommend diet or medication adjustments, compression stockings, or medications that are designed to raise blood pressure.
To have your blood pressure checked or discuss hypotension symptoms with a physician, please contact or visit South Tampa Immediate Care. Our walk-in clinic is conveniently located on South Howard Avenue in Tampa, FL, and no appointments are necessary.