How Low Blood Pressure Is Treated

Black woman checking her blood pressure at home
Low blood pressure.

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Low blood pressure (hypotension) is typically not a serious problem unless it causes symptoms and complications like fainting, dizziness, confusion, and shock. In many cases, simple adjustments to one’s lifestyle, diet, and habits are all that's needed to treat low blood pressure successfully. In other cases, medication may be prescribed to raise the blood pressure back to a normal range.

Home Remedies and Lifestyle

Making certain changes to your lifestyle and cultivating some new habits can help you raise your blood pressure to acceptable levels.

  • Avoid sitting up or standing up quickly. Instead, do it slowly. You can also try moving your legs a bit before trying to sit or stand up to get the blood flowing.
  • Avoid standing for long periods of time if possible. This is particularly important if you have neurally mediated hypotension.
  • Avoid crossing your legs while sitting.
  • Wear compression stockings. The stockings will apply pressure to your legs, helping blood move better in them. You should, however, consult your doctor before you start to wear compression stockings as a form of treatment.

Diet

Limiting your intake of certain foods, and increasing your intake of others, can help raise your blood pressure.

  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Drink fluids that contain beneficial nutrients like sodium.
  • Limit or cut off alcohol intake completely.
  • Increase your salt intake. You should make sure to consult your doctor on the extent to which this should be done.

If you have postprandial hypotension, the kind of orthostatic hypotension that occurs after eating, you can try eating smaller, low-carb, meal portions.

At-Home Monitoring

If you can, buy a blood pressure reading machine, and ask your doctor to teach you how to use it. This will help you keep track of your blood pressure daily, and discover what’s normal for you.

By monitoring your blood pressure in this way, you will know when you should try to get your blood pressure up. You'll also know if you’re experiencing a drop in blood pressure that necessitates going to the hospital.

Prescriptions

Several drugs are used to treat low blood pressure. The most commonly prescribed of them are fludrocortisone and midodrine.

Fludrocortisone works by increasing sodium (salt) levels and blood volume in the body.

Midodrine works by tightening blood vessels, which consequently increases blood pressure. Midodrine is usually only used in patients that have chronic orthostatic low blood pressure.

If you are experiencing severe hypotension that's linked to shock, drugs like epinephrine and norepinephrine, which work by narrowing blood vessels, may be administered intravenously (injected into your veins).

If your low blood pressure is caused by an underlying medical condition, your doctor will, in addition to raising your blood pressure, pursue treatments for such condition. If it’s caused by any medication you are currently taking, your doctor will change the dosage of the medication or replace it with another one.

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