Many are aware of the risk factors that lead to hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, and how the condition can place an individual at serious risk of grave health issues, such as stroke, heart attack, and kidney damage.
Just like how having higher blood pressure levels can be a cause for concern, lower blood pressure, also known as hypotension, bring its own risks. Find out more about your blood pressure and what it means for your health if it goes below normal.
The role of blood pressure in the body
Blood pressure is essential in a body’s normal physiology because it sends oxygen-rich blood to various vital organs that need it to function normally, such as the brain. It is a simple measure of one’s overall health. It can now be quantified at home easily thanks to the commercial availability of inexpensive and user-friendly blood pressure monitors.
For those experiencing higher or lower levels in their blood pressure, it is advised to keep a close eye on it regularly and consult an online doctor in Singapore.
Before moving on to the risks of high or low blood pressure, it is vital to know two things. Firstly, that the normal blood pressure is widely considered to be at 120/80mmHg. Secondly, in the blood pressure measuring monitor, there are two numbers displayed.
Both numbers represent pressure in the arteries but with slight differences. The number at the top signifies systolic pressure, and it is the measurement of pressure whenever the heart contracts. Meanwhile, the one at the bottom is diastolic pressure, but this time when the heart is relaxing.
When blood pressure is too low
Contrary to general belief, low blood pressure affects how a person feels than measured numbers. For instance, a 90/60mmHg blood pressure level may be average for a young and healthy person.
Still, it may cause issues like weakness or lightheadedness in older people or someone experiencing other health conditions. Some of the common symptoms that accompany low blood pressure include:
- Lightheadedness or dizziness
- Blurry or fading vision
- Lack of concentration
In more severe cases of hypotension, shock can potentially occur and typically includes the following symptoms:
- Cold, pale, and clammy skin
- Rapid and shallow breathing
- Quick yet weak pulse
- Confusion (especially in older people)
If these symptoms of shock are exhibited, it is best to consult a doctor immediately.
Generally, the occasional dizziness is relatively just a minor problem and most likely caused by small issues like slight dehydration, either from spending too much time in hot tubs, under the sun, or other reasons.
Nevertheless, it is recommended to regularly see a doctor if you show symptoms of hypotension since it can point to more serious health issues. Moreover, it would also help them if you record details about your symptoms, such as when they occur and the activities you are doing at that point.
What causes low blood pressure?
For most cases, medications, dehydration, and a lack of critical nutrients in one’s diet such as folate, vitamin B-12, and iron are the primary causes of low blood pressure.
However, there are also specific cases and situations where low blood pressure can happen, such as:
- Heart conditions
- Endocrine problems
- Blood loss
- Septicemia or severe infecetion
- Anaphylaxis or severe allergic reaction
While there are many factors that can affect one’s blood pressure, the following three are the most important:
- Blood vessel tone – affected by blockages or stiffness in blood vessels
- Stroke volume – the amount of blood the heart pumps with each contraction
- Heart rate – the number of times your heart beats per minute
A disruption in any of these factors can quickly lead to low blood pressure. For example, an individual with low stroke volume and heart failure are more prone to experiencing low blood pressure levels.
This pressure drop can also be due to diuretics (water pills), which cause dehydration. Conditions like tachycardia and bradycardia, also known as abnormally fast and slow heart rates respectively, could also result in hypotension.
It is important to note that blood pressure levels will fluctuate depending on the body since its oxygen requirements will vary depending on various situations. When involved in intense physical activities such as exercise, it will naturally rise. It will go back down once the body returns to its resting state
When you should call a doctor
If you notice that your blood pressure level is lower than usual, yet you feel fine and experience virtually no symptoms of hypotension, there is rarely a need to seek a doctor about it.
However, when it causes persistent symptoms such as weakness, feeling faint, and dizziness, it is advised to seek a doctor as soon as possible.
Although not as widely talked about as hypertension or high blood pressure, hypotension is still a severe health condition whose symptoms could lead to dire consequences, such as the increased risk of injury from falls. As such, it must be monitored closely with your doctor and should never be neglected.
If you need to see a doctor regarding your low blood pressure symptoms, the MyCLNQ app can make it happen in just a few clicks. As the leading one-stop provider of telemedicine in Singapore, MyCLNQ offers all the healthcare services you would need while staying at the comforts of your home.