Do You Suffer from Low Blood Pressure?
What Is Blood Pressure?
Oxygen-rich blood passes through your heart and out through your arteries to nourish all of the organs along the route. When it has depleted the blood of oxygen, it travels back up to the heart and then on to the lungs to pick up fresh oxygen to start the process over again.
It takes pressure to move that blood through those vessels from the top of your head to the soles of your feet. The heart is a powerful muscle that does most of that work. Blood pressure is a measure of two numbers: the heart when it is actively pumping blood out into the vessels (systolic - top number) and the heart when the heart muscle relaxes and the arterial walls respond to the pressure exerted upon them (diastolic - lower number).
This number is usually around 120/80 in normal circumstances. Anything lower than that but closer to it is considered okay and healthy. When the blood pressure rises over 130/90, then it is approaching a high level and might need to be monitored.
Blood pressure can rise due to a variety of reasons: atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), plaques in the arteries (due to high cholesterol levels), heart disease (problems with the coronary arteries), poor diet (too much salt intake) and other reasons. It puts more stress on the heart and the vessels to pump blood through the body.
Low Blood Pressure
Low blood pressure, hypotension, is on the other end of the scale. The blood pressure is usually not high enough to pump blood throughout the entire body. It can be due to a number of factors.
First, it is important to note that some people have low blood pressures normally. This can be due to their athleticism, maintaining a healthy body weight and being genetically low. The difference between them and those with dangerous hypotension is that they still have enough pressure to deliver blood to all of their vital organs.
People who do not have the proper blood volume will exhibit these types of symptoms: light-headedness, fainting, chest pain and even heart attack. It is not uncommon for organs to exhibit signs such as kidneys not making as much urine in an attempt to increase blood volume.
The cause of low blood pressure can be due to conditions such as dehydration, bleeding ulcers or inflammation of some kind. Treatment is devised to fit the cause and increase blood volume to an acceptable level again.
For instance, if the cause is dehydration, what is needed are fluids to increase blood volume. IV fluids and electrolytes are given to replenish what has been lost. As blood volume is restored, so is the blood pressure to normal levels.
In the event that there is a bleed of some kind, a blood transfusion may be needed to increase blood volume. Once pressure is restored, the source of the bleed can be investigated.