What is a dangerously low blood pressure?

LOW blood pressure can have serious consequences as well as high blood pressure.

Here's what to watch out for.

Symptoms of low blood pressure

Get your blood pressure checked if you keep getting symptoms like:

  • lightheadedness or dizziness
  • feeling sick
  • blurred vision
  • generally feeling weak
  • confusion
  • fainting

This might mean your blood pressure is too low.

If you get symptoms when you stand up or suddenly change position, you may have postural hypotension.

How to check your blood pressure

You can check your blood pressure:

  • by asking if a pharmacist can do it
  • by asking a practice nurse or GP to do it
  • at home yourself using a home blood pressure monitor – Blood Pressure UK has information about choosing a blood pressure monitor

Low blood pressure is a measurement of less than 90/60mmHg.

Treatment for low blood pressure depends on the cause

If a cause can be found, a GP will be able to recommend treatment to ease your symptoms.

For example, they may suggest:

  • changing medicines or altering your dose, if this is the cause
  • wearing support stockings – this can improve circulation and increase blood pressure

Medicine to increase blood pressure is rarely needed because simple lifestyle measures or treating the underlying cause is usually effective.

How to ease low blood pressure symptoms yourself

Do

  • get up slowly from sitting to standing
  • take care when getting out of bed – move slowly from lying to sitting to standing
  • raise the head of your bed by about 15cm (6 inches) with bricks or heavy books
  • eat small, frequent meals – lying down or sitting still for a while after eating may also help
  • increase the amount of water you drink

Don’t

  • do not sit or stand for long periods
  • do not bend down or change posture suddenly
  • do not drink caffeinated drinks at night
  • do not drink too much alcohol

Causes of low blood pressure

Your blood pressure can vary depending on the time of day. It gradually increases throughout the day.

What you're doing and how you're feeling can also affect it.

There are many possible causes of low blood pressure. It may be low because you're fit and healthy, or you may have inherited it from your parents.

Some people develop low blood pressure as they get older.

It can also be caused by:

  • being pregnant
  • some medical conditions, such as diabetes
  • some medicines

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