Low Blood Pressure (Hypotension)

  • Medical Author:
    John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP

    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.

  • Medical Editor: Jay W. Marks, MD
    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD

    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.

Quick GuideLow Blood Pressure (Hypotension): Symptoms, Signs, Causes

Low Blood Pressure (Hypotension): Symptoms, Signs, Causes

What is low blood pressure (Blood Pressure Readings Chart)?

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 rate, 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.

Reviewed on 4/16/2016
References
REFERENCES:

"Low Blood Pressure." American Heart Association. 4 Apr. 2012.

Cupp, Melanie Johns. "Herbal remedies: adverse effects and drug interactions." American Family Physician 59.5 (1999): 1239-1244.

Goldstein, D.S. and Y. Sharabi. “"eurogenic orthostatic hypotension: a pathophysiological approach." Circulation. 119.1 (2009): 139-146.

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