John P. Cunha, DO, is a U.S. board-certified Emergency Medicine Physician. Dr. Cunha's educational background includes a BS in Biology from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, and a DO from the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences in Kansas City, MO. He completed residency training in Emergency Medicine at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center in Newark, New Jersey.
Jay W. Marks, MD, is a board-certified internist and gastroenterologist. He graduated from Yale University School of Medicine and trained in internal medicine and gastroenterology at UCLA/Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.
Low blood pressure, also called hypotension, is blood
pressure that is low enough that the flow of blood to the organs of the body
is inadequate and symptoms and/or signs of low blood flow develop.
Low pressure alone, without symptoms or signs,
usually is not unhealthy.
The symptoms of low blood pressure include lightheadedness, dizziness, and fainting. These symptoms are most prominent
when individuals go from the lying or sitting position to the standing
position (orthostatic hypotension).
Low blood pressure that causes an inadequate flow of
blood to the body's organs can cause strokes, heart attacks, and kidney
failure. It's most severe form is shock.
Common causes of low blood pressure include a reduced
volume of blood, heart disease, and medications.
The cause of low blood pressure can be determined
with blood tests, radiologic studies, and cardiac testing to look for
Treatment of low blood pressure is determined by the cause of the low
Blood pressure is the force exerted by circulating blood on the walls of blood vessels. It constitutes one of the critically important signs of life or vital signs which include heart beat, breathing, and temperature. Blood pressure is generated by the heart pumping blood into the arteries modified by the response of the arteries to the flow of blood.
An individual's blood pressure is expressed as systolic/diastolic blood pressure, for example, 120/80.The systolic blood pressure (the top number) represents the pressure in the arteries as the muscle of the heart contracts and pumps blood into them. The diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number) represents the pressure in the arteries as the muscle of the heart relaxes following its contraction. Blood pressure always is higher when the heart is pumping (squeezing) than when it is relaxing.
The range of systolic blood pressure for most healthy adults falls between 90 and 120 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg). Normal diastolic blood pressure ranges between 60 and 80 mm Hg. Current guidelines define normal blood pressure range as lower than 120/80. Blood pressures over 130/80 are considered high.
High blood pressure increases the risk of developing:
Low blood pressure (hypotension) is pressure so low it causes symptoms or signs due to the low flow of blood through the arteries and veins. When the flow of blood is too low to deliver enough oxygen and nutrients to vital organs such as the brain, heart, and kidney, the organs do not function normally and may be
temporarily or permanently damaged.
Unlike high blood pressure, low blood pressure is defined primarily by signs and symptoms of low blood flow and not by a specific blood pressure number. Some individuals
routinely may have blood pressures of 90/50 with no symptoms and therefore do not have low blood pressure. However, others who normally have higher blood pressures may develop symptoms of low blood pressure if their blood pressure drops to 100/60.
It's not uncommon to have a drop in blood pressure during pregnancy. Many women don't realize that pregnancy can have an effect on blood pressure. It occurs because the circulation expands during pregnancy and hormonal changes cause the blood vessels to dilate, leading to a lowering of blood pressure. The blood pressure begins to fall in early pregnancy and is usually at its lowest sometime in the middle of the second trimester. For many clinicians, low blood pressure is defined by the blood pressure that gives a person the symptoms described below and not by a standard measurement.
Not surprisingly, women may experience symptoms of low blood pressure during pregnancy. These symptoms are similar to symptoms that anyone with low blood pressure might feel. Most commonly, symptoms of low blood pressure in pregnancy include dizziness and even fainting. The lightheadedness can be worse when standing up suddenly or rising from a reclining position.
A blood transfusion is the transfer of blood or blood products from one person (donor) into another person's bloodstream (recipient). This is usually done as a life saving maneuver to replace blood cells o"...