Symptoms of Low Blood Pressure

A woman sitting on the edge of the bed, feeling dizzy

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In This Article

Low blood pressure is when a person’s blood pressure reads lower than 90/60. More specifically, it means that the force of blood moving through the arteries when the heart is pumping blood is abnormally low. The medical term for low blood pressure is hypotension. With orthostatic hypotension and neurally mediated hypotension, the symptoms—faintness, dizziness, and nausea—are similar. However, those symptoms manifest themselves in different situations.

In addition to the signs and symptoms in those two types, severe hypotension linked to shock comes with additional symptoms. Its symptoms get worse progressively fast, and can even be fatal.

Frequent Symptoms

The symptoms and complications of low blood pressure depend on the particular type being experienced. Most often, people with low blood pressure will experience:

  • Dizziness
  • Lightheadedness
  • Tiredness
  • Weakness
  • Blurred vision
  • Confusion
  • Fainting or feeling faint

With orthostatic hypotension, you'll likely experience these symptoms soon after you stand up if you’ve been sitting or lying down. However, they’ll go away once you resume your previous sitting or lying down position for a couple of minutes. Things that can worsen the symptoms in orthostatic hypotension are physical exertion, standing for prolonged periods of time, and warm temperatures.

In postprandial hypotension, a form of orthostatic hypotension, you may experience these symptoms right after eating.

With neurally mediated hypotension the symptoms occur after standing for long periods of time.

Rare Symptoms

Less common symptoms of orthostatic hypotension are neck and shoulder muscle pain, and lower back pain.

Symptoms of severe hypotension linked to shock that are not seen in the other two kinds of hypotension include:

  • Weak and rapid pulse
  • Pale or blue-ish skin
  • Cold and sweaty skin
  • Feeling warm and flush, and then later cold and sweaty. This happens when the shock is caused by a sudden and extreme relaxation of the blood vessels.
  • Rapid breathing
  • Feeling very sleepy
  • Losing consciousness

Shock is a life-threatening condition. Those experiencing symptoms of shock must be treated immediately to prevent fatal outcomes.

Complications

Orthostatic hypotension increases one’s risk of developing other serious health conditions like:

You are also more likely to sustain injuries from falls due to frequent fainting.

When to See a Doctor or Go to the Hospital

If you have symptoms of low blood pressure, you should bring it up with your doctor. Low blood pressure can be successfully treated. You can live a life largely unhindered by the symptoms of low blood pressure if you make a few conscious lifestyle changes.

Once you notice the symptoms of shock in yourself or someone else, you should contact emergency services immediately. This is because, with severe hypotension linked to shock, the blood pressure drops much lower than in the other types of low blood pressure. Death is a possible outcome if it is not treated immediately.

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Article Sources

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