Low blood pressure is common. Slim young people in particular are susceptible to this, but pregnant women also often suffer from low blood pressure, also known as hypotension. Those affected usually suffer from tiredness, dizziness or tachycardia.
In this article, we address the most important questions about low blood pressure. So that you know how low blood pressure becomes noticeable and how you can raise your blood pressure with simple home remedies and tips.
the essentials in brief
- Low blood pressure is not life-threatening, but low blood pressure is manifested by fatigue or dizziness, among other things.
- Low blood pressure is a value below 110 mmHg. Ideally, your blood pressure should not exceed 130 mmHg.
- Exercising is good for low blood pressure. You should also drink plenty of water to raise your blood pressure.
Definition: What is low blood pressure?
Low blood pressure is also called hypotension. In general, the value of blood pressure describes how well the blood is pumped into the heart. If the blood pressure is too low, then the blood supply in the body to the organs is restricted. As a result, many symptoms can arise. Low blood pressure is below 110/60 mmHg.
You can easily measure your blood pressure at home. There are now many inexpensive blood pressure devices. This is usually attached to the upper arm and the device then measures your blood pressure in a few seconds.
Background: What you should know about low blood pressure
Here we show you everything about low blood pressure and the different reasons for it.
How does low blood pressure manifest itself?
Often there are no symptoms at all. It is actually good to have a rather low blood pressure, because it protects your circulation and your heart. Thus, low blood pressure is not necessarily dangerous. But it can also happen that low blood pressure is not necessarily a good thing for you. Blood pressure that is too low can reduce blood flow to the brain. Symptoms include, but are not limited to:
- Cold hands and feet
How dangerous is low blood pressure?
Compared to high blood pressure, low blood pressure is hardly dangerous. Many people have low blood pressure but hardly feel it at all. Performance athletes can also have low blood pressure without losing quality.
Nonetheless, you should not take low blood pressure lightly. For example, try to drink a lot of water so that symptoms of low blood pressure do not develop in the first place. (1)
What forms of hypotension are there?
There are two different forms of hypotension. Once in primary and once in secondary. The most common form is primary low blood pressure. Primary blood pressure is not considered a disease and is most often congenital. Here the blood pressure values are low without any cause. Secondary low hypotension, on the other hand, is a consequence of various diseases.
Reasons for secondary blood pressure include hypothyroidism, heart disease, salt deficiency or hypofunction of the adrenal cortex. One reason for low blood pressure can be insufficient water intake.
If you drink too little water, the pressure in your vessels will decrease. But taking too many medications can also lead to low blood pressure. These drugs include diuretics and psychotropic drugs.
There is also a special form. An example of the special type, orthostatic hypotension, is when your blood pressure is disturbed when you stand up suddenly or stand for a long time. Orthostatic hypotension occurs particularly often in a warm room or when there is a stressful situation. This is where the blood falls to the lower part of the body and the result is that you can black out.
If this happens, it is best to just lie down for a moment and your blood pressure will normalize on its own. Possible reasons are secondary low blood pressure, nerve cell damage in the brain or varicose veins.
What does the lower blood pressure value mean?
First of all, you should know that there is a systolic pressure and a diastolic blood pressure. These two values are used to determine blood pressure. The systolic blood pressure means the upper limit of the measured value.
The diastolic blood pressure is the lower reading. This corresponds to the lowest pressure value between the expansion phase and relaxation phase of the heart muscle. In the case of systolic blood pressure, it is the maximum pressure between the expansion phase and the relaxation phase of the heart muscle.
What is the difference between low blood pressure and high blood pressure?
In rare cases, low blood pressure is dangerous and life-threatening. Many competitive athletes have low blood pressure. One only speaks of hypotension when there is insufficient blood flow to the organs. In some cases, high blood pressure can be fatal. It leads, among other things, to a heart attack, kidney failure or even a stroke.(2)
When is blood pressure too low or too high?
The following table should give you an overview of what the different values of the systolic blood pressure mean (3):
|blood pressure||systolic (mmHg)|
|Low blood pressure||110/100|
|normal blood pressure||110-129|
|High-normal blood pressure||130-139|
|High blood pressure||from 140|
How does low blood pressure lead to a high heart rate?
The reason why you can get a high heart rate with low blood pressure is quite simple. Your heart is trying to compensate for the hypotension so that every organ in your body is still getting enough blood. A low blood pressure and a high pulse do not endanger the body. The high heart rate causes blood to flow faster in your body. A racing heart or a rapid movement of the Autar can be signs of a high pulse.
What are the symptoms of low blood pressure?
There are different symptoms that can occur with low blood pressure. For example, low blood pressure could lead to tachycardia, headaches, circulatory problems or fatigue.
Women often suffer from low blood pressure during pregnancy. (Image Source: Alicia Petresc / Unsplash)
People who are often affected by such symptoms are pregnant women, slim people, the elderly or adolescents. If one of the above cases happens to you from time to time or more frequently, then a doctor's visit is recommended.
loss of appetite
Loss of appetite is a symptom of low blood pressure. But it should be noted that a loss of appetite can not only be caused by low blood pressure. Other reasons could include stress or tension. You shouldn't see a doctor right away. It only makes sense to have your doctor check you up because of low blood pressure if you continue to experience symptoms.
The reason for a headache with low blood pressure is that the blood flow in the head is reduced. This headache feels like a stabbing pain. Of course, you can get rid of headaches with the help of medication.
However, before taking any medication, we recommend trying a few other things. Drinking a lot of water is particularly helpful against headaches, as increasing the amount of water dilutes the blood and allows it to flow better again. A walk in the fresh air is also a way to get rid of this headache.
Dizziness can also be caused by low blood pressure. This dizziness is caused by an insufficient supply of blood. In addition, the dizziness is also responsible for the fact that you can black out or get an unpleasant ringing in your ears.
Dizziness often occurs when sitting and then getting up very quickly. This is when most of the blood is still in the lower body and it may take your body a little time to redistribute the blood evenly. It is helpful here if you sit down again and drink some water. After that it is important to get up more slowly.
shortness of breath
A stabbing pain in the heart or a very uncomfortable pressure in the chest area are signs of low blood pressure. It can happen that you get bad breath because of it. The reason for shortness of breath is that the blood vessels are relatively narrow and in order to get the blood to the important organs such as the heart. Shortness of breath can also lead to a high heart rate. Since it is difficult for the blood to get to the heart, the heart then automatically beats faster than it should.
If this shortness of breath applies to you, it is very important to keep calm. It is best to lie down in a stable position so as not to overexert your body. Thus, the oxygen can be better distributed in the body. A stable position is to lie on your back with your legs as vertical as possible.
This allows blood to flow from the legs to the heart region. If that doesn't help either, you should see a doctor as soon as possible, who can also prescribe medication for you. (4)
Fatigue leads to concentration problems and drowsiness. Patients then usually need longer than usual to wake up properly. It can also make you shaky.
Is low blood pressure a problem during pregnancy?
No it is not. Low blood pressure is normal in the first six months of pregnancy. It can also happen that after the first six months there is low blood pressure. The reason for the low blood pressure is the so-called vena cava syndrome.
The unborn baby presses against the vena cava, i.e. the vena cava. It is this blood vessel that carries blood back to your heart. This is why an unborn baby has such a big impact with low blood pressure. This means that the other organs are also affected, as there is little blood flow here. (5)
Increase blood pressure: The best tips & tricks to increase your blood pressure
We show you what to expect when you go to the doctor and how you can get rid of this pain without a doctor.
Go to the doctor
If you have low blood pressure, you may need to see a doctor. You can go to your family doctor for this. However, as far as possible, you should get your low blood pressure under control yourself at home. If the techniques and means do not work, a doctor's visit is of course necessary. The doctor first makes a diagnosis. Here you will be tested on different things. After that comes the treatment.
In order for the doctor to make a diagnosis for your low blood pressure, regular checks are necessary. In addition, the controls take place at different times.
The doctor can use a Schellong test to determine whether the low blood pressure is a result of orthostatic hypotension. In this exercise you have to lie down for ten minutes and then get up as fast as you can. If you are standing, you also have to stay that way for ten minutes. If you had orthostatic hypotension, you would now feel dizzy.
There is also the tilting table test. This is done on patients who have previously fainted from low blood pressure. The patient is tied to a tilting table with two straps. Your blood pressure values are monitored while you are lying down.
After lying down for ten minutes, you will be placed on the tilting table in a 60 to 80 degree lying position. Standing up quickly is simulated to see if you faint as a result. If you faint now, you have vasovagal syncope.
The doctor may also order further tests if they think the low blood pressure is due to an underlying condition. If this is the case, it is called secondary hypotension. For this purpose, an ECG can help in clarifying a heart disease. The doctor can also assess your thyroid levels. These values are measured in the blood and examined by an ultrasound.
The doctor will only prescribe medication in rare cases. These rare cases include, for example, serious complaints or when it becomes life-threatening. The annoying symptoms of low blood pressure can be alleviated with the help of tricks and home remedies.
Drug treatment may be necessary in some cases. (Image source: stevepb / Pixabay)
If you need treatment with medication, you have two active ingredients at your disposal. On the one hand sympathomimetics, which narrows the blood vessels and increases the heart rate. This does not increase your blood pressure.
However, a side effect could be a cardiac arrhythmia . There is also fludrocortisone. The drug increases the amount of fluid in the blood vessels. Side effects could include weight gain or edema.
increase high blood pressure itself
There are some home remedies and tricks that can help raise your blood pressure. These tips should help you in everyday life. You can also avoid a visit to the doctor with these tips.
A contrast shower has several benefits for your body. This has a positive effect on your immune system, metabolism, heart and circulation. The different stimuli of cold and warm water narrow and widen your blood vessels.
With the alternating shower you only start with the warm water. After that you have to overcome and adjust to cold and shower off. It is best to start with your right foot first and then work towards your hips. Then you continue with the inner thigh. You then do the same with the left side.
After you've given your lower body a cold shower, it's your upper body's turn. For this you start with the real outside hand and stop at the shoulder. From the shoulder you then go through the inside to your hand. You also do the same on your left side.
There are a total of two passages in the alternating shower. First warm then cold and then the same thing again. The reason you stop drinking cold water is because your blood vessels constrict. After the shower, make sure you warm up quickly. Even athletes use this technique to recover better. (6)
Making a regular plan to exercise is very useful for low blood pressure. We recommend that you organize three fixed days a week on which you exercise regularly. The sports can be chosen relatively freely here, for example jogging or muscle training .
It is important that you enjoy the sport. Ideally, you should choose a sport between brisk walking, jogging, swimming or dancing. If you need a bit of variety, different sports are also recommended.
However, you should completely avoid strength sports. The blood pressure rises quickly, but then decreases again. This up and down of blood pressure can lead to nausea and dizziness.
get enough sleep
In the case of hypotension, insomnia can also be a reason for the disease. Therefore, it is important to have a good and restful sleep . Typically, patients suffering from hypotension require about an hour more sleep. The problem with insomniacs is that when they get up in the middle of the night, they have a hard time falling asleep again. Plus, getting enough sleep has other health benefits as well.(7)
The support stockings are mostly made of polyester. This speeds up blood flow. In addition, the blood no longer flows so easily into the lower region of your body and can therefore be distributed better.
Diet can prevent low blood pressure. It is important to drink a lot of water. This also includes different types of tea such as fruit tea or herbal tea. But coffee is also good for low blood pressure. As you drink more water, you have more volume in your blood, which results in higher blood pressure.
But eating more can also help. For one thing, chocolate can help raise your blood pressure. Chocolate contains a substance called theobromine, which not only increases blood pressure but also increases heart rate.
You should also pay attention to the increase in salt. However, you should not do without salt as in most cases, but consume much more salt. Salt increases your sodium content, which has a positive effect on your blood pressure. Also make sure you are getting enough zinc, magnesium and iron. You can also use an immune booster.(8)
You have now learned from this article that low blood pressure is not as bad as high blood pressure. You also now know that low blood pressure can lead to fatigue, loss of appetite, dizziness and, in the worst case, shortness of breath.
You can also easily implement the tips presented to increase your blood pressure. As a result, you are no longer tired during the day or your nausea can also disappear. This way you can avoid a visit to the doctor for the time being. A doctor's appointment is only necessary if the tips are of no use.
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- Weber, T., Arbeiter, K., Ardelt, F. et al. Austrian Blood Pressure Consensus 2019. Wien Klin Wochenschr 131, 489-590 (2019). Source
- SPRINT Research Group, Wright JT Jr, Williamson JD, Whelton PK, Snyder JK, Sink KM, Rocco MV, Reboussin DM, Rahman M, Oparil S, Lewis CE, Kimmel PL, Johnson KC, Goff DC Jr, Fine LJ, Cutler JA , Cushman WC, Cheung AK, Ambrosius WT. A Randomized Trial of Intensive Versus Standard Blood-Pressure Control. N Engl J Med. 2015 Nov 26;373(22):2103-16. doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa1511939. Epub 2015 Nov 9. Erratum in: N Engl J Med. 2017 Dec 21;377(25):2506. PMID: 26551272; PMCID: PMC4689591. Source
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- Juliff LE, Halson SL, Bonetti DL, Versey NG, Driller MW, Peiffer JJ. Influence of contrast shower and water immersion on recovery in elite netballers. J Strength Cond Res. 2014 Aug;28(8):2353-8. doi: 10.1519/JSC.00000000000000417. PMID: 24531433. Source
- Cohen S, Doyle WJ, Alper CM, Janicki-Deverts D, Turner RB. Sleep habits and susceptibility to the common cold. Arch Intern Med. 2009 Jan 12;169(1):62-7. doi: 10.1001/archinternmed.2008.505. PMID: 19139325; PMCID: PMC2629403. Source
- Koletzko B. Basics of Nutrition. paediatrics. 2019;25-39. doi:10.1007/978-3-662-57295-5_2 Source