Hypotension

Definition

Hypotension is, as its name implies, low blood pressure. We speak of hypotension when the systolic pressure is below 100 mm of mercury (10 cm of mercury) instead of 120 to 140 mm of mercury for a normal pressure (this pressure depends on age, see also our file on hypertension) .
It is rarely a serious disease and it can sometimes be beneficial for the cardiovascular system, as the heart “gets tired” less than in cases of hypertension, for example.However, in rare cases, hypotension can be a symptom of a serious illness or condition, such as shock or a heart attack. In these cases, it is a medical emergency.

orthostatic hypotension

Orthostatic hypotension is a frequent type of hypotension, this occurs when you move quickly from a sitting position to a standing position.

Causes

The main causes of hypotension are not completely known, but it can be caused by:

– dehydration (due to diarrhea or gastroenteritis , for example)
– a (genetic) predisposition to low blood pressure. Note: in this case it is not always a negative point (as it has a favorable effect on the cardiovascular system).
– severe injuries, internal bleeding, allergies , a snakebite, a heart attack , etc. In these cases we speak of acute hypotension, which is a medical emergency.
– a pregnancy
– thyroid gland problems ( hypothyroidism , hyperthyroidism )
– liver problems
– vision disorders (blurred vision)
– headache, neck or shoulder pain

Causes of orthostatic hypotension

As we saw in definition , moving suddenly from a lying or sitting position to standing up can lead to orthostatic hypotension.
This orthostatic hypotension can arise from a side effect of antidepressant or antihypertensive medications. Other causes such as diabetes can also lead to orthostatic hypotension.

Symptoms

It is possible to have hypotension without manifesting apparent symptoms, however, here are some of the classic and visible symptoms in case of hypotension:

– fatigue (chronic) with a certain weakness

– vertigo

– loss of consciousness (syncope)

– nausea

– ringing  in the ears

Complications

Hypotension and particularly orthostatic hypotension increase the risk of falling, especially in the elderly.

Hypotension can also increase the risk of stroke, according to a statement from the American leading medical institution Johns Hopkins Medicine on July 31, 2017.

Diagnosis

orthostatic hypotension

– Clinically, a person has orthostatic hypotension when systolic blood pressure drops by at least 20 mmHg (for example, from 120 mmHg to less than 100 mmHg) during the transition from lying to standing or diastolic blood pressure drops by at least least 10mmHg within three minutes of standing up.
– In a study published on July 24, 2017 in the scientific journal JAMA Internal Medicine , researchers at Johns Hopkins Universitysuggest that testing for the presence of orthostatic hypotension be done within one minute of lying down. Current guidelines (2017) recommend measuring three minutes after a person stands up, these guidelines are from the late 1990s. To reach these conclusions, Johns Hopkins researchers analyzed data from 11,429 people with orthostatic hypotension.

Treatments

The first step is to try to treat the cause of hypotension, for example, if it is due to taking medication, talk to your doctor and try to change the treatment; if it is caused by diabetes, it will be necessary to treat this metabolic disease, etc.

However, the doctor or pharmacist may have medicines known as vasoconstrictors or hypertension, such as:

– phenylephrine (a sympathomimetic)

– etilefrine (a hypertensive/sympathomimetic).

– There are also prescription drugs available to treat hypotension. These can be taken in pill form, for example.

Measures to be taken in case of fainting (syncope)

– Leave the person lying down and raise their legs

– Depending on the symptoms and the speed of regaining consciousness, contact a doctor or not. This choice is difficult, because sometimes it can be a simple syncope, without any complications, but in rare cases, it can be a sign of a more serious illness (heart attack, shock, allergy…). If in doubt, it is best to call a doctor.

Herbal medicine

Drinking lots of soup, if possible very salty (we know that salt promotes high blood pressure), can help.

Tips

Here are some tips we can give you in case of hypotension

– Drink plenty of fluids. Drinking a lot helps increase blood volume1.

– Take your time (10 seconds) to move from a lying or sitting position to a standing position, especially if you suffer from orthostatic hypotension.

– Exercise regularly to improve blood circulation. However, avoid exercising outdoors when the temperature is too high.

– Avoid consuming too much alcohol and limit excessive meals, that is, eat small portions. Alcohol dilates blood vessels and can promote postural hypotension.

– Stop or change the use of certain medications, such as antidepressants and sedatives, as they may be associated with orthostatic hypotension.

– You can eventually add a little salt to food, but if possible, consult your doctor, as this must be done with care.

– When symptoms of hypotension (low blood pressure) appear, try to sit or lie down.

Jeanne Kenney
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I’m a stylist trainer, a content creator, and an entrepreneur passion. Virgo sign and Pisces ascendant, I move easily between my dreams, the crazy world I want, and my feet on the ground to carry out my projects.

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