Low Blood Pressure

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Low blood pressure or hypotension can lead to severe physiological disorders. However, before going into details about low blood pressure, it is essential for you to know what controls and regulates the level of blood pressure.

In every human body there is an autonomic nervous system, which employs a vast network of hormones, receptors, and nerves, so as to create a balance in the effects of sympathetic nervous system and parasympathetic nervous system. Sympathetic nervous system is responsible for increasing your level of blood pressure where as the parasympathetic nervous system lowers your level of blood pressure.

Mechanisms of low blood pressure

A low level of blood pressure is caused by three principal mechanisms:

Decreased cardiac output

Specific heart failure types are responsible for decreased cardiac output. However, this particular cause of hypotension can result in cardeogenic shock or a sock caused due to lack of blood circulation.

Insufficient constriction of the arterioles

This is also referred to as vasodilation, which can be caused due to several reasons. One of the most common reasons is the reduction in the output of sympathetic nervous system. An injury in the brain or abnormality in the autonomic nervous system can also exacerbate low blood pressure. Medical conditions such as sepsis (severe untreated infection) and acidosis (an augmentation in blood acidity) can also result in excessive vasodilation.

Reduced blood volume or hypovolemia

There are several factors responsible for causing reduced blood volume or hypovolemia, which includes:

Hemorrhage or excessive loss of blood
Improper intake of enough fluids like water or juice
Constant suffering from diarrhea and vomiting
An inordinate use of diuretics – the body produces an excess amount of urine which ultimately reduces body fluids

Types of low blood pressure

Orthostatic hypotension or postural hypotension – Occurs due to rapid change in the position of the body. Say if you suddenly stand from a seated position there is a decrement in the level of your blood pressure.

Neurocardiogenic syncope – This is a kind of low blood pressure condition, which usually results in fainting. This might suddenly occur when you are standing in one position for long time.

Postprandial hypotension –This is a rare case of low blood pressure. This particular type of hypotension attacks you 30 minutes to one hour after having food. This incident of hypotension particularly takes place after eating as it is associated with digestion and the need for increased flow of blood in intestine.

Symptoms of hypotension

It causes malfunctioning of the brain
You feel dizzy and light headed when you stand
In extreme cases you may even faint
There is shortness of breath and chest pain due to inadequate supply of blood to the muscles of the heart
Due to sudden decrease in the level of blood your skin, feet and hands may turn cold and blue

Treatment of hypotension

Treatment of the low blood pressure or hypotension depends on how well and appropriately the doctor identifies the cause of the ailment. Such condition caused by mild dehydration along with nausea and vomiting is usually treated with fluids and minerals. If there is loss of blood it can well be treated with intravenous fluids and blood transfusions.

Septicemia, a significant characteristic of hypotension is treated with intravenous fluids, antibiotics and other medicines. Bradycardia, a kind of sick sinus syndrome or heart blockage occurs due to a certain medication of hypotension. In such cases the doctor reduces, changes or stops the medicine to avoid further deterioration of the condition.

Like hypertension or high blood pressure, hypotension or low blood pressure too can have fatal consequences. There exist no alternative for precautionary measures in order to avert health threats resulting from low blood pressure.

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