Hypotension: to know
Theoretically, having a rather low blood pressure is rather a good thing: it is the arterial hypertension (excess of tension) which is dreaded for its dangers on the health! However, sometimes the blood pressure is really too low, to the point of causing troublesome symptoms: we can then really talk about low blood pressure. Discover its main causes and possible forms, its manifestations and its treatments.
What exactly is "low blood pressure"?
The blood pressure is the pressure exerted by the blood on the arterial walls. When there is a drop in blood pressure, it means that the blood is no longer propelled correctly to the brain, hence the appearance of more or less painful symptoms. This usually happens when the systolic pressure (blood pressure measured during the systole phase, in other words when the heart expels blood) falls below the bar of 100 or 90 mmHg (millimeters of mercury). This is called arterial hypotension or "voltage drop", or even "drop in voltage" ... Generally, it is a passing phenomenon and without the slightest gravity. That said, much more rarely, low blood pressure is a symptom of an illness requiring treatment.
What are the symptoms ?
Hypotension is mainly manifested by blurred vision, dizziness and a feeling of weakness. Unfortunately the risks of falls and other accidents (especially when you are driving) are real, especially since the drop in blood pressure can lead to a brief loss of consciousness (syncope).
Note that other symptoms can also be observed including faster breathing and heart rate, difficulty concentrating or cold and pale skin.
The two most common forms of low blood pressure
There are two major forms of low blood pressure, completely benign. The first is orthostatic hypotension, also called postural hypotension: symptoms occur when you move too quickly from sitting (or lying) to standing. This phenomenon is mainly related to the gravity: the blood remains a little too concentrated in the legs instead of going up correctly to the brain. Orthostatic hypotension is very common. It can appear at any age but preferably affects the elderly.
The second common form is postprandial hypotension: the voltage drop is then triggered within 2 hours of the start of the meal. The cause of the phenomenon: the influx of blood into the digestive system to allow digestion. For most people, this is not enough to trigger the onset of symptoms of hypotension: only certain vulnerable people, such as those with diabetes or heart failure for example, are affected. Seniors with high blood pressure are also often victims of this disorder.