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Low Blood Pressure Treatment: A Detailed Insight

In the realm of cardiovascular health, we frequently encounter the term low blood pressure. While its counterpart, high blood pressure, often garners more attention, understanding the intricacies of low blood pressure is equally paramount.

What Defines Low Blood Pressure?

Commonly referred to as hypotension, low blood pressure is characterized by a reading that falls below 90/60 mm Hg. But it’s essential to comprehend that this figure is a generalized guideline. For some, a reading slightly below this might be their norm, while for others, it could signify a health concern.

Symptoms and Indicators

Detecting low blood pressure isn’t solely about numbers. We highlight the core symptoms one should be vigilant about:

1. Dizziness and Lightheadedness

One of the most frequently reported symptoms, dizziness or lightheadedness, is a sensation where one feels unsteady or about to faint. This sensation can sometimes culminate in fainting, especially upon standing up from a sitting or lying position.

2. Fainting (Syncope)

Syncope is the medical term for fainting – a sudden, temporary loss of consciousness often due to inadequate blood flow to the brain. It can occur when the blood pressure drops significantly and suddenly.

3. Blurred Vision

Blurred vision can emerge when there’s inadequate blood supply to the eyes. Individuals with hypotension may experience a transient inability to focus, which is often rectified once the blood pressure stabilizes.

4. Fatigue and Weakness

Persistent feelings of tiredness, lethargy, and general weakness can be indicators of low blood pressure. It’s important to differentiate this fatigue from the usual tiredness stemming from a long day or lack of sleep.

5. Nausea

An uneasy sensation in the stomach, often bordering on the feeling of wanting to vomit, can be linked to hypotension. It’s believed that the reduced blood flow to the organs might contribute to this symptom.

6. Rapid, Shallow Breathing

Decreased blood pressure can lead to insufficient oxygen supply to the body, leading to rapid and shallow breathing patterns. This is the body’s mechanism to try and intake more oxygen during such times.

7. Cold, Clammy, and Pale Skin

In certain cases, individuals with low blood pressure might display a pale skin appearance. The skin may also feel cold or clammy to the touch, indicating reduced blood flow to the skin’s surface.

8. Concentration Difficulties

The brain, like all organs, requires a consistent blood supply to function optimally. Reduced blood pressure can lead to insufficient blood flow to the brain, causing difficulties in concentration or “brain fog.”

9. Depression

While not directly a symptom of low blood pressure, prolonged bouts of hypotension and the associated symptoms can lead to feelings of sadness, hopelessness, or depression.

10. Thirst and Rapid Heartbeat

An unusual thirst, coupled with a rapid heartbeat (tachycardia), can be indicative of certain forms of hypotension, especially postural or orthostatic hypotension.

Causes of Low Blood Pressure

Low blood pressure can be attributed to myriad causes, some benign and others more concerning.

1. Dehydration and Fluid Loss

A significant drop in body fluids can lead to a sudden decrease in blood pressure. Dehydration, whether due to inadequate fluid intake, excessive sweating, diarrhea, or vomiting, can result in reduced blood volume, leading to hypotension.

2. Medications

Various medications can cause low blood pressure as a side effect. These include:

  • Diuretics: Commonly used to treat hypertension, these can increase urine output, leading to decreased blood volume.
  • Alpha and Beta blockers: Designed for heart conditions, these medications can slow down the heart rate and reduce blood vessel constriction.
  • Antidepressants and Antipsychotics: Some of these drugs can induce hypotension.
  • Erectile dysfunction drugs: Specifically, drugs like sildenafil can lower blood pressure.

3. Heart Conditions

Heart problems can significantly impact blood pressure levels:

  • Heart Valve Problems: Issues with the heart valves can disrupt blood flow.
  • Bradycardia: A slower than usual heart rate can result in decreased blood pressure.
  • Heart Attack and Heart Failure: Both can lead to a decreased ability of the heart to circulate blood effectively.

4. Pregnancy

During pregnancy, the woman’s circulatory system expands rapidly. This expansion can sometimes result in a drop in blood pressure. Typically, this form of hypotension is temporary and returns to normal post-delivery.

5. Endocrine Disorders

Issues with the endocrine system can lead to low blood pressure:

  • Hypothyroidism and Hyperthyroidism: Both underactive and overactive thyroid can affect blood pressure levels.
  • Addison’s disease: This involves adrenal insufficiency where the adrenal glands fail to produce enough hormones.
  • Low Blood Sugar: Known as hypoglycemia, this can result in hypotension, especially in diabetic patients.

6. Septicemia

If a bacterial infection enters the bloodstream, it can lead to septic shock. This severe condition can cause a dramatic drop in blood pressure and is life-threatening.

7. Anaphylaxis

This is a severe allergic reaction that can be triggered by food allergies, insect venom, or certain medications. One of the hallmark symptoms of anaphylaxis is a sharp decrease in blood pressure, which requires immediate medical attention.

8. Nutritional Deficiencies

A deficiency in essential vitamins, especially B12 and folic acid, can result in anemia, which in turn can lead to low blood pressure.

Low blood pressure treatment

While treatment is based on the cause, we outline some general strategies to combat low blood pressure:

1. Dietary Modifications

Increased Salt Intake

Contrary to recommendations for high blood pressure, one of the frontline treatments for hypotension is the incorporation of a little extra salt in the diet. However, it’s essential to consult with a healthcare provider before making significant changes, as excessive salt might not be suitable for everyone.

Stay Hydrated

Drinking more water combats dehydration, a common cause of low blood pressure. Additionally, hydrating beverages like oral rehydration solutions can help maintain electrolyte balance.

Caffeine Boost

Beverages like tea or coffee can temporarily elevate blood pressure. However, they should be consumed in moderation and not be relied upon as a long-term solution.

2. Medications

In cases where lifestyle changes aren’t sufficient, certain medications may be prescribed:

Fludrocortisone

This drug boosts blood volume, which can elevate blood pressure. It’s often prescribed for patients with conditions like orthostatic hypotension.

Midodrine (Orvaten)

Midodrine works by narrowing the blood vessels, thereby increasing blood pressure. It’s especially useful for those with chronic orthostatic hypotension.

3. Lifestyle Adjustments

Gradual Position Changes

For individuals with orthostatic or postural hypotension, it’s beneficial to make slow transitions between sitting and standing. This gives the body adequate time to adjust and prevents sudden blood pressure drops.

Compression Stockings

Typically used to alleviate varicose veins or prevent deep vein thrombosis, compression stockings can also promote blood flow, thereby preventing blood from pooling in the legs and combating low blood pressure.

Avoid Alcohol

Alcohol can exacerbate hypotension in some people. Reducing or eliminating consumption might help in managing the condition better.

4. Regular Monitoring

Consistently monitoring blood pressure at home using a sphygmomanometer can help individuals understand their patterns, triggers, and the effectiveness of their treatment strategy.

5. Address Underlying Issues

In many cases, hypotension is secondary to another medical condition. For instance, hormonal imbalances like hypothyroidism or adrenal insufficiency can cause low blood pressure. Treating the primary condition often resolves the associated hypotension.

Ayurvedic Treatment for Low Blood Pressure

Hypotension is a common health problem increasing in the present days but is often a neglected condition. In Ayurveda, we do not get direct references to hypotension as an independent disease or condition. Hypotension is usually asymptomatic but it can affect quality of life becoming life-threatening. 

Although there is no description of hypotension in Ayurveda, the symptoms of raktha dhatu kshaya and vyana vata dushti can be the nearest possible conditions correlated with hypotension.Vyana vata is one among the five types of vata dosha which mainly resides in hridaya (heart) and circulates all over the body. Raktha dhatu is one of the seven dhatu which is the life support, helps in the circulation of nutrients in the body, and performs many other major functions of the body.

Etiopathogenesis

The causative factors for vyana vata prakopa (aggravation of vyana vata) are intake of excess ruksha aahara (dry food), sheeta aahara (cold food), laghu aahara (light food), alpa anna (very less food), etc., ati vyayama (heavy physical excercise), ati gamana (excess walking), vishamacheshta (improper postures of the body), kreeda (excess sports), dhyana (excess thinking), etc.

The etiology for rakta kshaya (depletion of blood and its components) is consumption of atilavana (excess salt), atiamla (excess sour), atikatu (excess pungent), atikshara (excess alkaline)food items, ajeerna (indigestion), atikrodha (excess anger), atapa (exposure to excess sunlight), anala (exposure to fire)and abhighata (trauma).

To explain the pathogenesis that occurs in the raktha dhatukshaya, there is an impairment of agni (digestion) due to the etiology discussed above. Improper digestion leads to poor absorption. So, the first dhatu formed is rasa dhatu which is both quantitatively and qualitatively poor and is circulated to the hridaya (heart) by vyana vata. From there, rasa dhatu circulates to the entire body, and when it comes in contact with ranjaka pitta (a type of pitta that imparts color to the blood), the raktha dhatu that is formed is also vitiated. Thus, both vitiated rasa and raktha dhatu are improperly formed and lead to dhatu kshaya in the body.

On the other hand, vyana vata prakopa occurs due to the etiology described earlier and this along with prana vata (type of vata) that also resides in hridaya (heart) obstructs the movement of vyana vata

Thus, the hypotension is raktha dhatu kshaya and vyana vata prakopa originated condition.

Signs and symptoms

The symptoms are bala kshaya (loss of strength), smriti kshaya (loss of memory), sarvendriya shunyatwa (loss of functioning of sensory organs), parusha-sphutita twak (skin becomes rough and cracked), mlana twak (lusterless skin), toda (pricking type of pain), angasupta (numbness of the body), utsaha bhramsha (loss of enthusiasm).

Management of low blood pressure in Ayurveda

The line of treatment for raktha dhatu kshaya and vyana vata prakopa are following: agni deepana, vata anulomana, raktha dhatu vardhana, pandu roga chikitsa, hridroga chikitsa, mada-murcha –sanyasa chikitsa, rasayana chikitsa, rasayana.

  • Agni deepana: As digestion is hampered in the pathogenesis of the disease, stimulating digestion with the agni deepana (appetizers)drugs are given. This will lead to proper absorption and hence proper irasa and raktha dhatu are formed.
  • Vata anulomana:  The normal movement of vyana vata has deviated in the condition, so drugs that cause vata anulomana (proper movement of vata dosha) are given and also remove the obstruction of prana vata. 
  • Rakta dhatu vardhana: Since there is raktha kshaya, aahara (food),and aushadha (medicine) to increase rasa and raktha are to be administered.
  • Pandu roga chikitsa: The treatment of Pandu roga (anemia) is advised since there is raktha kshaya and it is decided based on the dosha involved.
  • Hridroga chikitsa:  As vyana and pranavaha srotas reside in hridaya (heart) and the vitiated rasa dhatu circulate there and then form raktha dhatu, hridroga chikitsa (treatment for hridroga) are to be followed like sroto shodhana (purification of the channels), anulomana (drugs correcting the vata dosha to move in downward direction), pachana (drugs which help in proper absorption) therapies.
  • Mada-murcha –sanyasa chikitsa: Pradhamna nasya (installing medicine powders in the nostrils) is helpful to treat sarvendriya shunyatva (loss of functioning of sensory organs), smriti nasha (loss of memory).
  • Rasayana:  Rejuvenation of the patients who have undergone agni deepana and vata anulomana is done with medicines that have properties like rasayana (rejuvenating), balya (promoting strength), snehana (oleation).

Oral medications for hypotension are to be selected based on the pathogenesis and dosha involved in the disease.

Diet and lifestyle

Foods rich in iron, vitamin C, and vitamin B12 like green leafy vegetables, citrus fruits, eggs, animal meat, cereals, and lentils,  drinking plenty of water and other fluids, taking small meals at small intervals, salt-rich diet, avoiding alcohol is advised to raise the low blood pressure.

Changing body positions slowly like gently standing from lying flat or sitting position, avoiding excess exposure to sunlight, heavy exercise, etc. are some of the lifestyle changes in low blood pressure.    

Low Blood Pressure Home Remedies

Salted water or salted buttermilk: A glass full of salted buttermilk or salted water will immediately raise low blood pressure. But, it is advisable not to take for a long term. Depending on the value of blood pressure one can take it.

Holy basil: Regular intake of 5-6 holy basil leaves in the early morning on an empty stomach can be a potent remedy. They are rich in magnesium, potassium, and vitamin C, which help in optimizing blood pressure.

Carrot and beetroot: Juices of carrot and beetroot either alone or combined, along with honey taken once a day will increase low blood pressure.

Licorice root: Powder of licorice root is mixed with warm water and taken on an empty stomach in the morning till the blood pressure is stabilized

Increase Fluid Intake : Hydration is a simple yet potent remedy. Drinking adequate water throughout the day can prevent dehydration, a leading cause of hypotension. Consuming electrolyte-rich fluids like coconut water or homemade oral rehydration solutions can further aid in maintaining a healthy blood pressure level.

Salt Boost: Adding a pinch of salt to your beverages or meals can help in increasing blood pressure. While excess salt can be harmful, a moderate increase, especially for those with hypotension, can be beneficial. However, always consult with a healthcare professional before making significant dietary changes.

Herbal Teas: Certain herbal teas, like rosemary, ginger, and licorice root, have properties that can elevate blood pressure. Incorporating these teas into your daily routine can offer a natural boost.

Cross Legs While Sitting: For those who experience drops in blood pressure while sitting, simply crossing the legs can increase pressure. This technique elevates blood return to the heart and can be a quick fix during symptomatic moments.

Raise Head of the Bed: People with orthostatic hypotension might benefit from elevating the head of their bed. This slight angle can prevent rapid blood pressure drops upon waking and standing.

Almonds and Milk: A traditional remedy involves soaking almonds overnight, making a paste in the morning, and then mixing with warm milk. This nutrient-rich concoction can be consumed every morning to help regulate blood pressure.

Beets: Beetroot juice, rich in nitrates, can be effective in managing blood pressure levels. A glass of fresh beetroot juice can provide both a pressure boost and an array of essential nutrients.

Raisin Cure: Starting the day with a handful of soaked raisins has been an age-old remedy for heart health. Raisins, packed with potassium and antioxidants, can help in regulating blood pressure over time.

Deep Breathing and Meditation: Regular deep breathing exercises and meditation can improve blood circulation and stabilize blood pressure. Techniques such as pranayama have been linked to better cardiovascular health. 

Concluding Remarks

While low blood pressure might not dominate health discussions as high blood pressure does, its significance cannot be understated. By understanding its intricacies, causes, and management strategies, we arm ourselves with the knowledge to maintain optimum cardiovascular health.

Ayurveda does not explain the condition of hypotension but based on the symptoms raktha dhatu kshaya and vyana vata prakopa can be correlated. Treating the depletion of raktha dhatu and vata margavarodha (obstruction to vyana vata) is important and hence agni deepana, vata anulomana, pandu, and hridroga chikitsa, pradhamana nasya measures are followed. This holistic approach should be adopted in clinical practice to treat hypotension. 


FAQs on Low Blood Pressure

  1. What is low blood pressure (hypotension)?
    • Low blood pressure, or hypotension, refers to a condition where the blood pressure reading is lower than the typical 90/60 mm Hg.
  2. Is low blood pressure as dangerous as high blood pressure?
    • While high blood pressure often presents long-term risks to organs, persistent low blood pressure can be concerning if it causes symptoms such as dizziness or fainting, which could lead to potential injuries.
  3. What causes low blood pressure?
    • Causes can range from dehydration, certain medications, severe infections, and hormonal imbalances, to heart conditions and more.
  4. What are the symptoms of hypotension?
    • Common symptoms include dizziness, fainting, blurred vision, fatigue, and nausea, among others.
  5. How is low blood pressure diagnosed?
    • A simple blood pressure reading using a sphygmomanometer can diagnose hypotension, but additional tests might be needed to determine the underlying cause.
  6. Are there medical treatments for hypotension?
    • Yes. Depending on the cause, doctors might prescribe medications like fludrocortisone or midodrine to raise blood pressure.
  7. Can increasing salt intake help with hypotension?
    • Yes, increasing salt can raise blood pressure. However, it’s essential to do this under medical guidance as excessive salt might not be suitable for everyone.
  8. Is it true that drinking more water can combat low blood pressure?
    • Yes, staying hydrated can help prevent dehydration-related hypotension.
  9. What are some effective home remedies for low blood pressure?
    • Herbal teas, beetroot juice, almonds and milk, raisins, and holy basil are among the popular home remedies.
  10. Can lifestyle changes help manage low blood pressure?
    • Absolutely. Staying hydrated, avoiding alcohol, using compression stockings, and making slow transitions from sitting to standing can help.
  1. Does deep breathing and meditation aid in low blood pressure management?
    • Yes, deep breathing exercises and meditation can improve blood circulation and stabilize blood pressure levels.
  1. Are home remedies for hypotension safe for everyone?
    • While many home remedies are generally safe, individual reactions can vary. Always consult with a healthcare professional before making significant changes.
  1. Can low blood pressure occur during pregnancy?
    • Yes, many women experience a drop in blood pressure during the early stages of pregnancy.
  1. How frequently should I monitor my blood pressure at home if I have hypotension?
    • Regular monitoring is recommended. Depending on the severity and cause, your doctor might suggest daily checks or periodic checks throughout the week.
  1. If I feel faint or dizzy due to low blood pressure, what should I do?
    • Sit or lie down immediately and raise your feet above your heart level. If symptoms persist or are recurrent, consult with a healthcare professional.
NOTE:
“This article does not provide medical advice. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on this WebSite. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call or visit your doctor.”

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References

  1. https://ijrap.net/admin/php/uploads/2464_pdf.pdf
  2. https://www.netmeds.com/health-library/post/hypotension-5-best-home-remedies-to-maintain-blood-pressure
  3. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/low-blood-pressure/symptoms-causes/syc-20355465
  4. https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/high-blood-pressure/the-facts-about-high-blood-pressure/low-blood-pressure-when-blood-pressure-is-too-low
  5. https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/low-blood-pressure

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