Having low blood pressure can be a sign of good health. For some people, however, very low blood pressure, or hypotension, can lead to symptoms such as lightheadedness, nausea, fainting and shallow breathing. It also can be a sign of a more serious health condition. Low blood pressure usually means that a person has a blood pressure reading lower than 90/60; the top number refers to systolic pressure and the bottom number is diastolic pressure. People who may experience hypotension can take these steps to raise their blood pressure.
- Skill level:
Know the different causes of hypotension before you try self-treatment. Some causes of hypotension are heart disease, thyroid disorders, pregnancy, medications and an inadequate intake of nutrients such as vitamin B-12. Realise that there are also different types of hypotension, which include orthostatic hypotension (blood pressure drops when standing up) and postprandial hypotension (blood pressure drops after eating). Treatment may depend on the cause so it is important to be diagnosed properly.
Increase your sodium intake. Adding some salt to your diet may help with hypotension if it is not caused by a medical condition. Consult with your doctor to determine if this is the appropriate treatment for you.
Stay hydrated by drinking water and other fluids. This can prevent dehydration, which is another cause of hypotension. Because alcohol can dehydrate the body, it is best to either drink fewer alcoholic beverages or avoid them.
Change your diet to include healthy foods such as vegetables, fish, whole grains and fresh fruits. A poor diet also may require supplementation to provide the proper nutrients and minerals. Taking essential vitamins, including vitamin B and vitamin C, may be beneficial for this condition.
Try herbal remedies to raise low blood pressure. Herbs such as ginger, ginseng and liquorice may be useful. Drinking beetroot juice is another remedy. Alternative natural treatments can include hydrotherapy, massage and physical exercise.
Use compression stockings to relieve symptoms of orthostatic hypotension. The stockings can aid in decreasing blood pooling in the legs, which occurs when a person stands. Caffeinated drinks also can be helpful for this type of hypotension.
Treat low blood pressure with medication. Some people with orthostatic hypotension may need to take the drug fludrocortisone. For chronic orthostatic hypotension, a doctor may prescribe the drug midodrine.
Tips and warnings
- Consult with a doctor before using any treatment.
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