What causes low blood pressure?
One of the best ways to manage a diagnosis of low blood pressure is to be aware of the things that can cause it so you can try to avoid them. The good news is that it may not be necessary to take medications to relieve low blood pressure, because simple lifestyle changes can be highly effective.
However, if you suspect you have low blood pressure, it’s important to take the advice of your pharmacist to ensure that you’re doing what’s right for your circumstances. Making lifestyle changes might not be effective if you are mistaken about your symptoms in any way, so it’s best to get a blood pressure check to be certain before you try any treatments.
What can cause low pressure?
Low blood pressure, typically characterised as any readings lower than 90/60mmHg, is a condition where your heart is using a less than ideal amount of exertion to pump blood around your body. This means that your blood might not be getting around your body as quickly or as efficiently as it should, which can cause unpleasant symptoms such as dizziness or nausea.
There are many different factors that can cause low blood pressure, so it can sometimes be hard to identify what is behind your symptoms. Being fit and healthy results in a naturally lower blood pressure, which is why it is recommended for those with high blood pressure to live a healthier lifestyle.
Another possible cause is inheriting low blood pressure from your parents. While a naturally lower healthy range of blood pressures can be inherited, you might also inherit genetic conditions that cause low blood pressure as a symptom. Diabetes is an example of such a condition.
One notable situation which can result in low blood pressure, is pregnancy. Low blood pressure is common among pregnant women in the first two trimesters. Midwives and other members of your medical support network will monitor your blood pressure throughout your pregnancy so they can help to regulate it if necessary.
Can everyday tasks lower your blood pressure?
As well as the more long term potential causes mentioned above, your blood pressure can actually vary considerably during the day depending on the things you do.
Here are some everyday factors that can make your blood pressure appear lower than usual:
- Long periods of inactivity – for instance, your blood pressure is usually lowest in the morning after waking up.
- Eating a large meal – your blood is involved in the digestion process, so your blood pressure is lower for a short time after eating.
- Being particularly cold – when you’re cold, your heart beats slower and your blood pressure falls.
Can medication cause low blood pressure?
It’s also known that some medications can have an impact on blood pressure. If you’re on one of those medications, your doctor or pharmacist should explain to you what the potential side effects are, how severe they may be, and how likely they are. You’ll likely also be monitored regularly if you are at risk of low blood pressure.
Some common medications that may lower blood pressure include:
- Beta blockers – a medication intended to tackle high blood pressure
- Some antidepressants
Whether you’ve noticed you have certain risk factors for low blood pressure or you’re already feeling symptoms of dizziness or weakness, your first port of call should be to speak with your pharmacist about the possibility of low blood pressure. Blood pressure checks can help you to understand whether or not you have low blood pressure, and your pharmacist can advise on the best course of action to take.