Low Blood Pressure In Seniors
Most of us know someone else who is on medications to control high blood pressure, but what about low blood pressure? Many of us don't know that low blood pressure is a cause for concern too. As with most other things, too much or too little is not ideal. The same goes for blood pressure. Too high or too low, both can have serious consequences. Healthcare professionals check our blood pressure routinely, especially in seniors. The most important reason is that it can lead to falls, and in extreme cases, shock and even death. It could even be a sign of another medical disorder.
A blood pressure reading lower than 90 mm of mercury (Hg) for the top number (systolic) or 60 mm Hg for the bottom number (diastolic) is generally considered low blood pressure (hypotension). So, what kind of symptoms do people experience when their blood pressure is low? Heart.org lists dizziness, fainting, nausea, dehydration, clammy skin and blurred vision as some of the symptoms that could indicate low blood pressure.
What are the most common causes of low blood pressure?
Dehydration and some heart diseases can cause low blood pressure. Amongst medications, low blood pressure can be a side effect of drugs used to treat high blood pressure, depression and erectile dysfunction. There are other medications that can cause low blood pressure as a side effect, if in doubt, talk to your pharmacist.
Other causes of low blood pressure can be low blood sugar levels, extreme heat, anemia, an under-active thyroid, massive blood loss through internal or external bleeding. A sudden drop in blood pressure can be because of a serious infection, incessant diarrhea or vomiting, or even an anaphylactic reaction.
If you or a loved one are experiencing any of the above, it's probably a good idea to see a doctor. If you can afford it, it's also a good idea to buy a home blood pressure monitor, and monitor your blood pressure at home every now and then, especially if you're not feeling well. Or you could just visit your neighbourhood pharmacy and see if they have a blood pressure monitor for public use.
In terms of treatment for low blood pressure, it really depends on what the cause is. Your doctor will perform a physical examination and might even run some tests to ascertain the cause before discussing treatment options.
I can imagine how challenging it can be for someone to have vague symptoms like those of low blood pressure, especially if they haven't been diagnosed with a medical condition. At in4MED, we can make this difficult time easier by providing you with information about your condition, connecting you to local specialists and support systems, and being there for you as your trusted health advocates. As always, feel free to connect with me or leave a comment.
Healthcare Consultant, in4MED
The author of this blog post is a Physician with over 10 years of experience working in the healthcare system as a clinician, researcher and educator. She is passionate about healthcare for older adults and strives to be a resourceful inspiration to caregivers.
*No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified healthcare professional.