Hypotension

Hypotension is the medical term for low blood pressure. Hypertension is the medical diagnosis for people with high blood pressure readings on a consistent basis. This is a tell tale sign of cardiovascular disease. So most people strive to have blood pressure readings within normal limits. Some people would even think it would be good to have blood pressure readings that are on the low side, and some athletes who exercise on a regular basis do have such levels which are normal for them. However, there are times that the blood pressure falls into dangerously low levels and can cause medical emergencies. Hypotension can be caused by several different environmental and disease processes. These will be discussed later in this article.

Symptoms of low blood pressure or hypotension that need to be watched out for are dizziness and fainting, severe nausea, cold, clammy skin, being extremely thirsty, fatigue, rapid shallow breaths, blurring of vision, and a sudden inability to concentrate. When hypotension is accompanied by these symptoms a person should be evaluated by medical personnel immediately for underlying medical conditions such as heart disease, endocrine problems, allergic reactions, severe shock, or even internal bleeding.

Some of the reasons for hypotension can include taking some medications. Some heart medications and diuretics can greatly affect the blood pressure. Any medication that can affect the blood pressure when given by a physician should instruct patients to monitor their blood pressure frequently for any issues with this problem. They should also be given symptoms of hypotension in case any side effects occur due to this.

Some heart conditions can cause hypotension. Congestive heart failure, myocardial infarction or heart attack, bradycardia or extremely slow heart rates, and issues with the heart valves can affect the blood pressure in negative ways. These conditions can cause problems with the correct amount of blood being circulated into the body, there by causing lower blood pressure readings.

Thyroid disease such as hypothyroidism can cause hypotension. Adrenal disease such as Addison’s Disease can also cause fluctuations in the blood pressure. In some cases diabetes can cause problems with blood pressure readings as well.

Severe allergic reactions can cause hypotension. This is a very life threatening situation and needs to be treated by medical personnel immediately. Some common causes are foods, insect bites or stings, and medications. Symptoms include a rash, hives, problems with breathing, swelling in the throat and a sudden drop in blood pressure.

Severe shock including sudden blood loss can cause hypotension. This can be due to injury or trauma. Dehydration can cause hypotension as well. Infections that are not treated that have spread to the blood such as septicemia can cause bouts of hypotension. There are even nutritional deficiencies that can cause hypotension.

There are several different types of hypotension that need to be discussed. One type of hypotension is orthostatic hypotension. This type of hypotension occurs upon sitting or standing when moving from a lying position. Some laypeople may also know this as postural hypotension. This condition is more common in older adults, however there have been reports of it affecting some young healthy individuals as well. This can be caused by several disease processes as well as some medications. There is a simple test that can be performed by physicians to rule out postural hypotension.

Another disorder that occurs is called Shy-Drager Syndrome. It is a very rare disorder that causes damage to the nervous system. It causes hypotension and affects other autonomic processes such as the heart rate, breathing and the digestive process.

One other type of hypotension is called neurally mediated hypotension. This type of hypotension occurs after someone has been standing for long periods of time. This disorder usually affects young people instead of older individuals. There is also a type of hypotension that occurs after eating. It is called postprandial hypotension. It seems to happen to people who eat large meals that are high in carbohydrates.

It is important to seek medical attention if anyone has any of the symptoms that are listed above and coincide with a drop in their blood pressure. A consultation with their physician along with proper testing can be done to find out what if any disease process is occurring and prescribe the proper treatment for these problems.

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Last updated on May 1st, 2009 and filed under Cardiovascular Disorders. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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