Everything You Need to Know About Hypotension



Hypotension or low blood pressure might not seem like a serious health issue. In fact, it does not cause any kind of complication in many people. However, if the blood pressure drops abnormally low, it can lead to severe symptoms like dizziness and fainting, and can be life-threatening as well in some cases. An adult primary care physician at a Los Angeles community clinic can help you understand your risk for hypotension.

What is Considered Low Blood Pressure?

Low blood pressure is a unique condition that differs from person to person. In general though, if the blood pressure readings go below 90 mm Hg systolic (the upper level) or 60 mm Hg diastolic (the bottom level), then it is considered hypotension and can cause many symptoms.

A sudden drop in blood pressure can be very dangerous for some people. For instance, a change of around 20 mm Hg in the normal blood pressure can lead to a shortage of blood supply to the brain, causing dizziness, fainting, and other symptoms. Anything above that, such as that caused by severe infections, uncontrolled bleeding, or allergic reactions, can be critical.   

In most cases, hypotension is a sign of an underlying health condition, particularly when it is accompanied by symptoms like lightheadedness, blurred vision, nausea, fatigue, lack of concentration, and shock. In severe cases, a sudden fall in blood pressure can cause symptoms like confusion, cold and pale skin, rapid breathing, weak pulse, etc.

Therefore, patients experiencing any signs or symptoms of consistently low blood pressure should seek medical help as soon as possible. Even dizziness or lightheadedness should not be taken lightly if it happens too often, because that can point to a more serious health issue.

What Causes Low Blood Pressure?

The causes of hypotension can range from dehydration to several medical disorders. That is why it is important to understand what is causing the symptoms to deal with the low blood pressure problem effectively. Below are some of the common medical conditions that can lead to low blood pressure.

  • Pregnancy: As the circulatory system rapidly expands during pregnancy, pregnant women often experience a slight drop in blood pressure. Yet if it is a big change, then medications may be required to bring the blood pressure back to normal.
  • Heart problems: Many heart problems can cause low blood pressure, such as bradycardia or extremely low heart rate, heart valve issues, heart failure, and heart attack. This requires seeking immediate medical attention to prevent the underlying cause from aggravating.
  • Endocrine issues: Different types of endocrine problems, such as hypoglycemia, adrenal insufficiency, and parathyroid disease, can also lead to hypotension. Patients with diabetes are also at a higher risk of experiencing low blood pressure issues.

Other than these, blood loss due to a major injury or internal bleeding can also cause a sudden drop in blood pressure. Septicemia, anaphylaxis, and anemia are also major conditions that can trigger a serious drop in blood pressure.

Contact CCCHC to learn more about your risk for hypotension.

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    About the Author

    Dr. Ghassan M. Al-Jazayrly, MD

    A graduate of University of Aleppo Faculty of Medicine, Dr. Al-Jazayrly or, as he is colloquially known: Dr. AJ, is an oncologist and hematologist of a Complete Care Community Health Center (CCCHC) with more than 36 years of experience. In recent years, he’s been involved with a non profit organization known as Every Woman Counts (EWC) which provides free breast and cervical cancer screening and diagnostic services to California’s underserved populations in order to eliminate health disparities for low-income individuals.

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