High Blood Pressure

Low Blood Pressure

Low blood pressure, also known as hypotension, occurs when blood flows through your blood vessels at pressures that are lower than normal. Blood pressure is defined as the force of blood pushing against artery walls as it is pumped by the heart. Low blood pressure is primarily a concern if it produces symptoms such as dizziness, fainting, blurry vision, or fatigue, or if you have a sudden drop in blood pressure.

Maintaining a healthy blood pressure (below 120/80 millimeters of mercury, or mm HG) can protect you from a host of health issues

But blood pressure that is too low—defined as below 90/60 mm Hg—can prevent your organs from getting adequate amounts of the oxygenated blood they need to function properly. Hypotension is of particular concern for vital organs like the brain.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What causes low blood pressure?

    Low blood pressure can be caused by factors like dehydration or medications, or it can be related to an underlying condition, such as heart problems, hormone issues, pregnancy, or neural conditions. There are three primary types: orthostatic hypotension, neurally mediated hypotension, and severe hypotension related to shock, which is a medical emergency.

  • What is considered low blood pressure?

    If your blood pressure is consistently below 90/60 mm Hg, be sure to talk to your doctor, though it's important to remember that everyone's different. What's normal for you may be considered low for someone else.

  • What is a dangerously low blood pressure?

    Low blood pressure is usually only considered a problem if it's causing symptoms, such as dizziness, blurry vision, feeling faint, or confusion. However, if your blood pressure drops suddenly, it could be related to shock, which can be dangerous and is a medical emergency. Other symptoms of shock include weak pulse, clammy skin, rapid breathing, and loss of consciousness. 

  • How can you raise low blood pressure?

    In many cases, drinking plenty of water, increasing your salt intake, avoiding alcohol, and wearing compression stockings can help rebalance your blood pressure. You may also need to avoid standing for extended periods of time, or trying not to change positions (like going from sitting to standing) too quickly. In other cases, medication may be warranted to raise your blood pressure to more stable levels.

  • Is low blood pressure bad?

    Generally speaking, low blood pressure is only problematic if it occurs suddenly or when it's a result of an underlying disease or condition. If you're concerned about your blood pressure, be sure to talk to your doctor.

Key Terms

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  1. National Institutes of Health: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Low blood pressure.

Additional Reading