Low blood pressure (hypotension)

What is Low Blood Pressure?

Low blood pressure, also known as hypotension, is a condition in which the force of the blood pushing against artery walls is lower than normal. Normal blood pressure ranges from 90/60 mmHG to 120/80 mmHG.

Image of a person measuring blood pressure with low values on the monitor

When an individual’s systolic (upper) reading is less than 90 and/or diastolic (lower) reading is less than 60, it is considered hypotension.

In this article, we will discuss the types, symptoms, causes, medications, complications, and risk factors of low blood pressure.

Examples of Hypotension

Types of Low Blood Pressure

There are three main types of hypotension:

  1. Orthostatic (Postural) Hypotension: This type of low blood pressure occurs when there is a sudden drop in blood pressure when standing up from a sitting or lying position. This type of hypotension can be caused by dehydration, prolonged bed rest, and certain medications.
  2. Neurally Mediated Hypotension: This type of hypotension occurs when the blood pressure drops after standing for a long time. It can also occur after eating, and is more common in people with certain medical conditions.
  3. Severe Hypotension: This is a medical emergency that requires immediate treatment. It can be caused by blood loss, severe infection, or anaphylaxis.

By the way, if you wish to explore other blood pressure categories, you can check out the blood pressure chart.

Symptoms of Low Blood Pressure

The symptoms of low BP can include:

  • Dizziness
  • Fainting
  • Blurred vision
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Rapid or shallow breathing

Causes of Low Blood Pressure

Low blood pressure can be caused by a variety of factors, including:

  • Dehydration
  • Blood loss
  • Heart problems
  • Endocrine disorders
  • Certain medications, such as diuretics and beta blockers
  • Infection

Medications Used to Treat Low Blood Pressure

There are several medications that can be used to treat low blood pressure, including:

  • Fludrocortisone: This medication can increase blood volume and raise blood pressure.
  • Midodrine: This medication can constrict blood vessels and raise blood pressure.
  • Pyridostigmine: This medication can increase the activity of the autonomic nervous system and raise blood pressure.

Always consult with a healthcare professional prior starting any medical treatment.

Complications of Low BP

If left untreated, low blood pressure can lead to serious complications, such as:

  • Falls and injuries
  • Shock
  • Stroke

Risk Factors for Hypotension

There are several risk factors for low blood pressure, including:

  • Age: Low blood pressure is more common in older adults.
  • Certain medical conditions: diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, and heart conditions.
  • Certain medications: Some medications can cause low blood pressure.
  • Genetics: Some people may be genetically predisposed to low blood pressure.

Prevention and Management of Low BP

There are several steps you can take to prevent and manage low blood pressure, including:

  • Drinking enough fluids
  • Eating a balanced diet
  • Avoiding sudden changes in posture
  • Wearing compression stockings


Low blood pressure can be a serious health issue that requires prompt treatment. If you experience symptoms of low blood pressure, such as dizziness, fainting, or blurred vision, it is important to seek medical attention.

By understanding the types, symptoms, causes, medications, complications, and risk factors of hypotension, you can take steps to prevent and manage this condition.

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