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Blood pressure - low
Alternative namesHypotension; Low blood pressure
DefinitionLow blood pressure is an abnormal condition where a person's blood pressure (the pressure of the blood against the walls of the blood vessels during and after each beat of the heart) is much lower than usual, which can cause symptoms such as dizziness or lightheadedness.
When the blood pressure is too low, there is inadequate blood flow to the heart, brain, and other vital organs.
A blood pressure level that is borderline low for one person may be normal for another. The most important factor is how the blood pressure changes from the normal condition. Most normal blood pressures fall in the range of 90/60 mm Hg to 130/80 mm Hg, but a significant change, even as little as 20 mm Hg, can cause problems for some people.
Low blood pressure is commonly caused by drugs such as the following
Other causes of low blood pressure include the following:
Another common cause type of low blood pressure is orthostatic hypotension, which results from a sudden change in body position, usually from lying down to an upright position.
Home CareFollow prescribed therapy. Bed rest and assistance with daily activities as needed until the condition improves.
Call your health care provider if
Call your local emergency number (such as 911) if someone is unconscious. If trained in basic life support (BLS) or advanced cardiac life support (ACLS), check the person's ABCs (airway, breathing, and circulation). If the person is NOT breathing or has NO pulse, begin CPR .
Call your doctor immediately if you:
Also call your doctor if you have:
In emergencies, the seriousness of the condition will be determined first. Then, the health care provider will obtain your medical history and will perform a physical examination.
Frequent monitoring of vital signs (temperature, pulse , rate of breathing, blood pressure ) and/or hospitalization may be necessary.
Medical history questions documenting low blood pressure may include the following:
Update Date: 1/28/2004Jacqueline A. Hart, M.D., Department of Internal Medicine, Newton-Wellesley Hospital, Newton, Ma., and Senior Medical Editor, A.D.A.M., Inc. Previously reviewed by Bridget Martell, M.D., Department of Internal Medicine, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New York, NY. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network (11/19/2002).
Last updated: Tue, 06 Jan 2009 00:20:03 GMT