Should You Worry About Low Blood Pressure?
While we know that high blood pressure is a cause of concern, we don’t know what to make of a lower reading on the meter? Most people simply feel grateful that their reading isn’t high but if you are constantly getting a low reading on your BP meter, there are some things you should know.
First up, let’s see what blood pressure is? Blood pressure is the measurement of pressure in your arteries during the active and resting phases of every heartbeat. When you record BP, the two numbers that you see on the meter are called systolic pressure (top number) and diastolic pressure (bottom number). Systolic is the amount of pressure your heart generates when pumping blood throughout your body and diastolic pressure is the pressure in your arteries when your heart is at rest between beats.
As per the current guidelines, the normal blood pressure is 120/80 mm Hg or anything lower than that. Does that mean any number lower than that is fine? According to Dr. Prashant Nair (Consultant, Cardiology) from Kokilaben Ambani Hospital, “What’s considered low blood pressure for you may be normal for someone else. Most doctors consider blood pressure too low only if it causes symptoms like fatigue or giddiness. There are experts who define low blood pressure as readings lower than 90 mm Hg systolic or 60 mm Hg diastolic. If either number is below that, your pressure is lower than normal.”
According to Dr Rohan Sequeira, senior cardio-metabolic, diabetes and obesity consultant physician at Jaslok Hospital and Research Center, “Low blood pressure might seem desirable but it can be life threatening in severe cases. The causes of low BP can range from dehydration to serious medical or surgical disorders. It is important for medical professionals to know the cause of low BP for them to treat it accordingly.”
People need to know that a sudden drop in blood pressure can be dangerous. Dr Vivudh Pratap Singh, consultant interventionist cardiologist, Fortis Escorts Heart Institute explains, “For example, a drop from 110 systolic to 90 mm Hg systolic can cause dizziness and fainting since the adequate supply of blood to the brain gets hampered. Bigger plunges can lead to uncontrolled bleeding, acute dehydration, infections, allergies, some of which can be life-threatening.”
Most doctors do not consider low BP an issue if the person is not showing any worrying symptoms and is talking and walking normally.
Some common causes of low blood pressure could be:
Extended periods of bed rest, which can decrease the circulation
Heart issues that disrupt the circulation of enough blood in the body
An under active thyroid
During pregnancy when the BP drops in the first 24 weeks.
Trauma, dehydration and internal bleeding
Medications that are taken for high blood pressure, depression, erectile dysfunction
Vitamin B12 and folic acid deficiencies
Severe allergic reaction