Hypotension or Low Blood Pressure Treatment

November 12, 2012

Hypotension or Low Blood Pressure Treatment

Although the media constantly reports on the dangers of high blood pressure (hypertension), it is also dangerous to have low blood pressure (hypotension.) Milder forms of hypotension are not potentially life-threatening, but even someone with mildly low blood pressure should get low blood pressure treatment or risk developing severe hypotension or shock.

Normal blood pressure readings are 120/80. Low blood pressure is any reading 90/60 or lower. Blood pressure readings are always in two numbers – the systolic pressure number over the diastolic. The systolic number is always larger than the diastolic – or else you are in serious trouble. But if that happens, you wouldn’t be conscious to read about low blood pressure treatment.

Medications

Low blood pressure treatment consists of a combination of medications and lifestyle changes. Some patients can do well on just diet changes, but some will need medications like fludrocortisone, usually prescribed for people with Addison’s disease. It helps to keep body fluid levels stable.

Chronic low blood pressure treatment for people who always become very dizzy or faint when standing up is the vasosuppressor midodrine (sometimes marketed as midodrine hydrochloride.) It makes the blood vessels less flexible, which makes the heart work harder to push blood through the body. People on midorine need to always remind their doctors that they are taking it, because it can interact poorly with some other medications.

Lifestyle Changes

Low blood pressure treatment provides one dietary advantage for patients – they need to eat more salt. This does not mean that they should eat crisps with every meal, but can eat canned soups or other processed foods with salt in order to get their needed amount. Before adding salt to the diet, always check with your doctor or nutritionist about how much you can add. This is especially important for people at risk for heart disease such as the obese and the elderly.

Patients also need to drink more water to help blood flow easier throughout the body. People who are dehydrated get low blood pressure because the lack of fluid slows down the blood and makes it more difficult to move throughout the body. Avoid alcoholic beverages and caffeinated beverages as much as possible because they take more fluid out of the body than they can put in.

Tips for Patients

Patients diagnosed with low blood pressure should avoid medications that are known to lower blood pressure, such as certain calcium channel blockers. Patients also should also stand up slowly from a sitting, squatting or crouching position in order to reduce their chances of fainting. Let family members and friends know that you have low blood pressure so they can watch you as you stand up or straighten up from bending over.

Patients may need to get a home blood pressure monitor to help make sure they don’t swing from low blood pressure to high blood pressure. Patients also find that wearing compression socks or stockings can help keep blood in the legs flowing and can reduce pain from varicose veins.

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