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The What, Why, & How of Low Blood Pressure
It is one of the most underrated disorder and very often people do not realize they are suffering from it.
While high blood pressure is the much talked about and most aware condition, low blood pressure is its non-glamorous cousin. Also known as hypotension, it is a condition where the blood pressure in your arteries is abnormally low.
Naturally low blood pressure is unlikely to cause any symptoms and is normally nothing to worry about. However, if your blood pressure drops too low, it can restrict the amount of blood flowing to your brain and other vital organs, which can cause fainting or dizziness and lightheadedness.
What is low blood pressure?
The heart pumps a constant supply of blood around the body through arteries, veins and capillaries. Blood pressure is a measure of the force of the blood on the walls of the arteries as the blood flows through them. It is measured in millimeters of mercury (mmHg) and recorded as two measurements:
Systolic pressure: The pressure when your heart beats and squeezes blood into your arteries.
Diastolic pressure: The pressure when your heart rests between beats.
For example, if your systolic blood pressure is 120 mmHg and your diastolic blood pressure is 80 mmHg, your blood pressure is 120 over 80, which is commonly written as 120/80. People with a blood pressure reading of around 90/60 or less are usually regarded as having low blood pressure.
You can have blood pressure variations for many reasons, including the time of day, age, temperature, any medication you may be on, an injury, or some illness.
Causes of low blood pressure
Throughout the day, your blood pressure can vary by between 30 to 40 mmHg (both systolic and diastolic) depending on what you are doing.
- The time of day: Your blood pressure falls overnight so will be low towards the end of the day.
- Your age: Your blood pressure usually increases as you get older, but a drop in blood pressure from movement or eating is more common with age.
- How stressed or relaxed you are: You have lower blood pressure when you are relaxed.
- How much exercise you do: Initially, exercise will raise your blood pressure, but if you are healthy and exercise regularly, your blood pressure will be low when you are resting.
- Temperature: Warm temperature may cause your blood pressure to fall.
- If you have recently eaten: Blood will be used for digesting food in your stomach, so the blood pressure elsewhere in your body will fall.
- Dehydration (due to sweating and/or diarrhea).
- Medications (for high BP or other treatments).
- Severe infection.
- Heart attack.
- Heart failure.
- Septic shock.
Signs and Symptoms of Low Blood Pressure
In certain instances, people may experience low blood pressure but otherwise feel fine. Hypotension becomes a concern when it is accompanied by one or more of the following symptoms – blurry vision; cold, clammy, pale skin; confusion; dizziness; fainting; fast breathing; fast heartbeat; fatigue; inability to concentrate; lightheadedness; nausea; sleepiness; weakness.
In the case of shock, a person may at first experience any of the above signs or symptoms. Over time, without immediate medical attention, a person may become unconscious.
Treatment & Self-Help
Increasing water intake can help raise blood pressure levels and prevent dehydration, which is one of the major causes of low blood pressure. Blood volume is increased with additional fluids that can help the blood pump harder.
The juice of raw beetroot has been considered as good home remedy for low blood pressure. For this, a person should take a cup of this juice two times a day. The treatment is to be continued for at least for a week.
Eat a leafy salad between lunch and dinner. Include onions, sea greens, organic beef chunks, carrots, peas and broccoli. This mixture contains very important macrobiotic ingredients that will help alkalize your body and balance your hormones and other chemicals, which is essential for healthy blood pressure.
Crush 10-15 holy basil leaves (tulsi) and strain through a clean muslin cloth. Mix with 1 teaspoon honey. Have it the first thing in the morning.
Taking almond milk first thing in the morning has proven beneficial for low blood pressure.
Limit your intake on foods that are rich in carbohydrates i.e. potatoes, rice, bread, pasta etc.
Take a glass of water, and add a pinch of salt in it. Drink it twice a day to treat low blood pressure.
Light exercises, yoga, walking, swimming and cycling are highly recommended to regulate your blood pressure on daily basis.
Pomegranate has proved to a great remedy for low blood pressure. Eat it as a fruit, and crush it and have its juice, both are highly effective.
Eating uncooked/raw cottage cheese (paneer) is also a great home remedy.
Drinking dark coffee gives instant relief to the condition. However, check with your doctor before trying this remedy as drinks with caffeine can raise many other problems.
Refrain from working till late nights, and avoid negative thinking and unnecessary worry.
Laughter is the best medicine they say, and for people suffering from low blood pressure, surely it is. Join a Laughter Club in the morning. Laughing out loud first thing in the morning helps to regain your normal blood pressure.
If you consume alcohol, it may not be good for your blood pressure as alcohol tends to dehydrate, and eventually may lower your blood pressure.
Changing positions suddenly may make you feel dizzy. If you are lying down, go slow when you get up. Sit for few minutes on the bed, and then stand up or vice-versa.
Soak about 30 small raisins in a ceramic bowl full of water over the night. In the next morning, chew them one by one on empty stomach. Drink this water afterwards. This has beneficial effects on treating low blood pressure. This is one of the best home remedies for low blood pressure.