We all know that high blood pressure is incredibly dangerous and should be avoided at all costs. It can lead to cardiovascular problems and stroke, both deadly conditions. However, having low blood pressure is a problem in itself, too. Although it is widely agree that there are very few dangers with having low blood pressure, those who do have it know that it can be uncomfortable. Additionally, people with low blood pressure have an increased risk of fainting, which could have dangerous consequences. As a result, it may be necessary to understand how to raise blood pressure, albeit not to a level that would be to high and dangerous.
What Are the Signs of Low Blood Pressure?
Some people have naturally low blood pressure and these tend to not have any symptoms. However, sometimes, it can mean there is insufficient blood to support vital organs, in which case various symptoms may start to appear. These include feeling lightheaded, or dizzy, blurred vision, palpitations, nausea, weakness and so on.
There are different types of low blood pressure as well. Orthostatic or postural hypotension is experienced by those who have low blood pressure after changing position. This tends to only last for a few seconds and is more common in older people. The inherent danger, therefore, is falling. Others have postprandial hypotension, which happens after eating. This is common in people with diabetes, Parkinson’s and those who normally have high blood pressure. It is caused by the intestines’ need to use blood to digest. If the heart cannot cope with this, blood pressure drops. Finally, there is neurally mediated hypotension, which happens when people are in a standing position for an extended period of time. This is most common in younger people.
What Is Healthy Blood Pressure?
Whenever your heart beats, your blood pressure goes up (systolic). When your heart relaxes, in between beats, it drops (diastolic). As a result, your actual blood pressure changes regularly and is affected by many different factors. However, it should be less than 120 systolic and 80 diastolic.
How to Raise Blood Pressure
Hypotension in itself is generally not dangerous. However, if it does cause problems, advice exists to limit this. For instance, people with low blood pressure should always stand up slowly. This is particularly true after first waking up. Having a few stretches in bed before getting to a standing position is incredibly beneficial. It is also not recommended to remain standing for long periods, as this can cause neurally mediated hypotension.
Compression stockings can also be beneficial. This is because they add some pressure to the legs, feet and abdomen. This can improve circulation and thereby raise blood pressure. However, not everybody should use support stockings, so do consult with a medical professional first.
People with low blood pressure should limit their alcohol intake. Additionally, they should avoid consuming caffeine at night. This is because caffeine and alcohol can dehydrate the body, which can lead to low blood pressure. It is also better to eat small, frequent meals rather than three large ones. This is particularly beneficial for those who suffer from postprandial hypotension. Sitting still after a meal or having a lie down can also be beneficial.
People with low blood pressure may also have to raise the amount of salt and fluids they consume. Low blood pressure is often caused by dehydration, which requires fluids and salts. Drinking enough water every day, particularly in hot climates, is incredibly important. Do be careful with salt, however, as too much is very bad for your health. Hence, this is something that should be discussed with a medical professional. Generally, extra salt does not mean adding a few pinches more to your meals.
It is also possible that you are currently taking medication that can cause low blood pressure. Whenever you take medication, your medical professional should check your blood pressure and if it is indeed dropping, they may advise a different type of medication. If you notice any other side effects, do mention those as well.
It is also possible that you have an underlying health condition that is causing the low blood pressure. This could be hormonal, for instance, in which case you will need to see an endocrinologist. They will generally prescribe HRT (hormone replacement therapy).
Finally, you may be prescribed medication to help with low blood pressure. It is very rare for this to be necessary, as low blood pressure is not dangerous in itself and can be managed with the above tips. If need be, a medical professional may prescribe something that does not raise blood pressure, but rather the volume of blood. Alternatively, medication can be prescribed to narrow the arteries. However, these are often just temporary solutions.
Home Tips to Monitor Your Blood Pressure
The best way to monitor your own blood pressure is through a home monitor. However, you do have to use this properly. It will come with instructions that you must follow to the letter in order for the readings to be accurate. You should only take your blood pressure when you are fully comfortable and aren’t suffering from any anxiety, as this could raise your blood pressure. During the reading, you must keep still as movements can affect it. Make sure you take around three readings, with two minutes between each, and calculate your average. However, do not round off your reading either. Always record your results, so you can see whether your blood pressure is improving, or whether certain factors affect it.
New Discoveries and Technology for Blood Pressure
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Indeed, 11 new variants in the DNA sequences that affect the genes have been found to influence blood pressure and heart disease. By identifying these genes, scientists have gained a better understanding of how blood pressure works. It is hoped that, eventually, this will lead to better treatment being developed for both high and low blood pressure. In the immediate, it has shown new opportunities for how current drugs affect cardiovascular disease.