In most healthy adults, low blood pressure does not cause problems or symptoms. In fact, it may be normal for you. For example, people who exercise regularly often have lower blood pressure than people who are not as fit.
There are a lot of assumptions we make about our hearts. And for each myth, there is often some truth upon which it is founded.
Take heart attacks, for instance.
Most people imagine they would know when they are having a heart attack. It would be difficult not to recognize symptoms of "the big one" – sweating, soreness in the left arm, and sudden, disabling chest pain.
But that’s not always the case. Sometimes the signs are much more subtle or mimic other conditions.
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But if your blood pressure drops suddenly or causes symptoms like dizziness or fainting, it is too low. It can cause shock. Shock can be dangerous if it is not treated right away.
Blood pressure is a measure of how hard the blood pushes against the walls of your arteries as it moves through your body. Blood pressure consists of two numbers: systolic and diastolic.
The systolic (higher) number shows how hard the blood pushes when the heart is pumping.
The diastolic (lower) number shows how hard the blood pushes between heartbeats, when the heart is relaxed and filling with blood.
Someone with a systolic pressure of 120 and a diastolic pressure of 80 has a blood pressure of 120/80, or "120 over 80." Normal blood pressure is lower than 120/80.
Low blood pressure does not have a specific number where it is too low. Most doctors consider blood pressure to be too low when it causes symptoms or drops suddenly. In general, low blood pressure symptoms happen when blood pressure is less than 90/60.
What causes low blood pressure?
Some of the causes of low blood pressure include:
Getting up after you sit or lie down. This can cause a quick drop in blood pressure called orthostatic hypotension.
If you have symptoms of low blood pressure, especially dizziness or fainting, call your doctor.
Watch for symptoms of low blood pressure. Tell your doctor when the symptoms happen so he or she can treat them.
How is low blood pressure diagnosed?
Often people learn that they have low blood pressure when their doctor checks it. Or you may find that you have low blood pressure when you check it at home.
To check for the causes of your low blood pressure, your doctor will ask about your past health, your symptoms, and the medicines you take. He or she will do a physical exam and may do other tests. Your doctor may check for another health problem that could be causing your low blood pressure.