The pressure in the arteries is highest when the heart contracts and pumps blood around the body. This is called your systolic blood pressure. The heart then relaxes and your blood pressure is at its lowest. This is called your diastolic blood pressure. Healthy blood pressure can vary from person to person.
You generally have low blood pressure if your systolic blood pressure is below 90 or your diastolic blood pressure is below 60. This also differs between men and women. Men can already be suffering from low blood pressure with a systolic blood pressure below 110 or a diastolic blood pressure below 70. This is often a little lower in women. Low blood pressure can already be seen in women with a systolic blood pressure below 100. If your blood pressure is above these values, but you still have symptoms, you may still have low blood pressure. Low blood pressure is often discovered by accident and doesn’t require treatment.
Low blood pressure means part of the body isn’t getting enough blood and oxygen. Your blood pressure is lower when you’re calm or when you’re sitting or lying down, compared to when you’re exercising. Your body needs more blood and oxygen, which makes your heart pump faster, when you’re exercising or exerting yourself. The cause of low blood pressure remains unknown. For example, it can happen when you get up too quickly. It’s also more common in case of:
- Warm weather.
- Heavy blood loss.
- Heavy fluid loss.
- Certain medications.
Low blood pressure is usually harmless, but can cause certain symptoms. Symptoms you may notice are:
- Heavy feeling in the head.
- Seeing black spots.
- Blurred vision.
- Ringing in the ears.
All your blood will rush down if you stand up too quickly and there will be little oxygen in your brain. This can result in symptoms which can lead to fainting. Therefore try to stand up more calmly and try to stand up with more support. If you feel dizzy, tighten your abs and leg muscles and clench your fists. This will raise your blood pressure, which will give your brain more blood and oxygen and reduce your symptoms. If you still feel like you might faint, try sitting down and resting your head between your knees. This will also give your brain more blood and oxygen. Fluid loss lowers blood pressure. So make sure you drink plenty when you're exercising, or when it’s hot and you’re sweating a lot. You can also lose a lot of fluid through sweating, vomiting or diarrhoea if you’re ill or taking certain medications. Also make sure you're drinking enough in those cases, in order to prevent low blood pressure with the associated symptoms.
Low blood pressure is often harmless and often won’t require treatment. The symptoms will often go away on their own if you’re no longer unwell, you’re continuing to drink plenty of water and trying to stand up calmly. You can contact your GP if you continue to suffer from low blood pressure symptoms for a long time, or if these symptoms often recur. Certain medications which cause low blood pressure can be adjusted or further investigated if necessary.