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) Pictures Slideshow

Low Blood Pressure (Hypotension) Pictures Slideshow

Causes of low blood pressure: Dehydration, bleeding, and inflammation

Conditions that reduce the volume of blood, reduce cardiac output (the amount of blood pumped by the heart), and medications are frequent reasons for low blood pressure.

  • Dehydration is common among patients with prolonged nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or excessive exercise which shunts blood away from the organs to the muscles. Large amounts of water are lost when vomiting and with diarrhea, especially if the person does not drink adequate amounts of fluid to replace the depleted water.

    Other causes of dehydration include exercise, sweating, fever, and heat exhaustion, or heat stroke. Individuals with mild dehydration may experience only thirst and dry mouth. Moderate to severe dehydration may cause orthostatic hypotension (manifested by lightheadedness, dizziness, or fainting upon standing). Prolonged and severe dehydration can lead to shock, kidney failure, confusion, acidosis (too much acid in the blood), coma, and even death.
  • Moderate or severe bleeding can quickly deplete an individual's body of blood, leading to low blood pressure or orthostatic hypotension. Bleeding can result from trauma, surgical complications, or from gastrointestinal abnormalities such as ulcers, tumors, or diverticulosis. Occasionally, the bleeding may be so severe and rapid (for example, bleeding from a ruptured aortic aneurysm) that it causes shock and death rapidly.
  • Severe inflammation of organs inside the body such as acute pancreatitis can cause low blood pressure. In acute pancreatitis, fluid leaves the blood vessels to enter the inflamed tissues around the pancreas as well as the abdominal cavity, concentrating blood and reducing its volume. Continue Reading
Reviewed on 1/26/2015
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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