Low Blood Pressure - Numbers

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What is low blood pressure?

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:

  • heart disease,

  • kidney disease,

  • hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis or arteriosclerosis),

  • eye damage, and

  • stroke.

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.

Return to Low Blood Pressure (Hypotension)

See what others are saying

Comment from: IFTI, 65-74 Male (Patient) Published: March 06

For over 5 years I have had high blood pressure for which my doctor prescribed daily dose of EZIDAY 50 mg and OGREL 75mg - about one month ago I started a diet of one tablespoon Honey with half tablespoon Cinnamon and six drops of Black-Seed Oil. Now I have been having dizzy spells and blood pressure is as low as 100/60 in fact the Diastolic level is constantly below 70. Is this an area of concern because my Doctor says it's within normal limits whereas I used to be a steady 120/80 for most of my life. Is this due to my changed diet.

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Comment from: Rubicar, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: May 16

For the past several months, my doctor and I have had problems getting my blood pressure to a lower level. First the readings were too high, and then they would dip low. Now, after one week of perfect readings (110/70) my blood pressure has dropped so low I can hardly stand. It is also hard on my breathing, since I have emphysema. This is after two days of no BP pills whatsoever. What could this possibly be caused by?

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