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Hypotension: What You Need To Know About Low Blood Pressure

Medically reviewed by Jezreel Esguerra, MD · General Practitioner

Written by Dan Navarro · Updated Feb 23, 2023

Hypotension: What You Need To Know About Low Blood Pressure

An occasional rise or drop in our blood pressure (BP) is considered normal. However, a BP that is constantly higher or lower than the recommended measurement may signify a health problem.

Hypotension, more commonly known as low blood pressure, is a health condition wherein one’s BP clocks below the lower limit of the normal BP range which is 90/60 mmHg.

A sudden drop in blood pressure, such as a sharp decrease of 20 mmHg is also medically concerning. This is because it can lead to minor symptoms such as:

  • Dizziness
  • Blurring of vision
  • Fainting
  • Types of Hypotension

    There are different types of hypotension. These types include:

    Orthostatic or postural hypotension

    Common among older people and pregnant women, this happens when we stand up from a lying or sitting position. In a much clearer sense, the blood pressure suddenly drops when you change your position.

    Postprandial hypotension

    Postprandial means the period after eating. This happens when, after eating, blood flow is rerouted more into the gastric area, and your heart and arteries do not adapt quickly enough to the decrease in systemic blood volume. Hence, there is decrease in blood pressure causing dizziness and nausea after meals.

    Neurally mediated hypotension

    This is caused by the heart and brain not communicating properly. Additionally, this usually happens after standing for a long period of time.

    Multiple system atrophy with orthostatic hypotension (Shy-Drager Syndrome)

    This is a rare condition associated with symptoms that are also present in Parkinson’s disease. Their symptoms may affect involuntary processes in the body, including heart rate and blood pressure.

    Causes of Hypotension

    Some factors that contribute to a significant decrease in one’s BP are related to various risk factors such as old age, medications, and underlying diseases and complications.

    Written below are the conditions that usually causes decrease in blood pressure:

    • Dehydration. This is caused by not drinking enough water, or not hydrating after a period of strenuous activities.
    • Blood loss. Losing significant amounts of blood from severe injuries or internal bleeding may lead to a sudden drop in BP.
    • Heart complications. These include heart attack, heart failure, bradycardia or slower heart rate, or other known heart complications..
    • Endocrine disorders. Complications in the endocrine system such as hypoglycemia, adrenal insufficiency, and parathyroid disease may result in low BP.
    • Septicemia. Also known as ‘septic shock’. This may happen when one experiences serious infection in the bloodstream or blood poisoning.
    • Anaphylaxis. Serious allergic reactions to certain food items, medications, and other substances may lead to an alarming decrease in one’s BP.
    • Nutrient deficiency. Low blood pressure may occur when the body experiences anemia due to lack of nutrients such as Vitamins B9 and B12.
    • Medications. These include anti-anxiety drugs,  antidepressants, and painkillers. This also includes medications for heart complications, erectile dysfunction, and surgery.
    • Pregnancy. Pregnant women experience a rapid expansion of their blood circulation. However, it is considered normal and temporary and can return to normal levels after giving birth.

    Symptoms of Hypotension

    Symptoms of hypotension may not manifest at all, or may only show mild symptoms. But it can easily worsen if left unnoticed and not treated immediately. For this reason, we recommend that you take note of the following:

    • Dizziness or lightheadedness
    • Nausea and fatigue
    • Fainting
    • Blurry vision
    • Feeling weak or sick
    • Breathing problems (fast but shallow breaths)
    • Confusion and lack of concentration
    • Dehydration
    • Cold and pale skin

    Treatment and Prevention

    Treatment and prevention for hypotension consist of a mix of dietary and lifestyle changes and medications that aim to increase your blood pressure.

    These include:

    Lifestyle recommendations

    • Wear compression stockings to apply pressure to one or both legs. This will promote a better blood circulation.
    • Slowly get up from a sitting or lying down position. When you exhibit symptoms of low blood pressure, cross the thighs in a scissor-like position or insert your foot on a chair ledge and lean forward. These can help to ensure you have a normal blood flow from the lower part of the body up to the heart.
    • If possible, minimize prolonged periods of standing.
    • Don’t get up from bed immediately. Instead, get up to a sitting position and perform deep breaths for a couple of minutes.

    Dietary recommendations

    • Consume more salt, as sodium can lead to an increase in blood pressure.
    • Keep yourself replenished with water, especially after doing vigorous activities.
    • Avoid consuming too much alcohol.
    • Consume healthy foods, and limit your consumption of high-carbohydrate food items.


    The following medications may increase your blood pressure:

    • Fludrocortisone. This can help in increasing blood volume.
    • Midodrine. This can be taken to increase blood pressure to normal levels.

    Remember: consult to your doctor first before taking any medication. Make sure to have your doctor’s approval as these drugs can harm you if taken inappropriately.

    Key Takeaways

    Hypotension or low blood pressure may hinder the normal distribution of oxygen and nutrient-rich blood to various parts of the body. This is considered normal on most occasions. However, prolonged and consistent low BP, as well as low BP after doing active tasks, may pose serious health risks. For this reason, it is important to recognize the signs and symptoms of low blood pressure. Moreover, practicing healthy lifestyle and dietary recommendations will help in maintaining a healthy blood circulation.

    Learn about Hypertension here.


    Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

    Medically reviewed by

    Jezreel Esguerra, MD

    General Practitioner

    Written by Dan Navarro · Updated Feb 23, 2023

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