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Why Low Blood Pressure Is Sometimes Undesirable?

Though blood pressure may vary from person to person, a blood pressure reading of 90 mmHg or less systolic blood pressure or 60 mmHg or less diastolic blood pressure is generally considered low. Low blood pressure, also known as hypotension, may be normal for people if it is without symptoms. For instance, athletes and people who exercise regularly tend to have lower blood pressure and a slower heart rate than do people who are not as fit.

For many people, low blood pressure can signal an underlying problem, especially when it drops suddenly or is accompanied by signs and symptoms such as dizziness, fainting, blurred vision, cold, rapid and shallow breathing, fatigue or thirst. A sudden fall in blood pressure by just 20 mmHg, say a drop from 110 systolic to 90 mm Hg systolic, can cause dizziness and fainting when the brain fails to receive an adequate supply of blood. In severe cases, low blood pressure can be life-threatening.

Causes of low blood pressure can range from dehydration to serious medical or surgical disorders. In general, causes of low blood pressure with clinical symptoms could fall in one of the 3 categories: the heart is not pumping with enough pressure, the artery walls are too dilated, or there is not enough intravascular fluid within the system.

Some heart conditions, such as extremely low heart rate, heart valve problems, heart attack and heart failure, can prevent the body from being able to circulate enough blood and this can lead to low blood pressure.

When a person becomes dehydrated, the body loses more water than it takes in. Even mild dehydration can cause weakness, dizziness and fatigue. Meanwhile, losing a lot of blood from a major injury or internal bleeding reduces the amount of blood in the body, leading to a severe drop in blood pressure.

Low blood pressure that does not show signs or symptoms, or causes only mild symptoms, like brief episodes of dizziness when standing, rarely requires attention. But for people who have high blood pressure and take medications, they should notify their doctors immediately so that the doctors can decide whether they should change the dosage or switch to other drugs.

High Blood Pressure, also known as hypertension, has been an important risk factor of numerous health problems including heart disease, heart attack, stroke, and kidney disease. According to the American Heart Association, about 33 percent of American adults have high blood pressure. Doctors will usually prescribe medications for their hypertensive patients to lower and keep their blood pressure to below 120/80 mmHg.

A recent study cautioned doctors not to lower blood pressure too much in people with coronary artery disease, because it may increase the risk of heart attacks. Researchers from Imperial College London and other scientists found that while high blood pressure could cause heart attacks, blood pressure that is too low could trigger them as well.

Being published online 30 August 2016 in the United Kingdom journal ‘The Lancet’, the study followed 22,672 people from 45 countries who had heart disease and who were also on medication for high blood pressure. While they found that increased risk of heart attack and stroke was linked to a blood pressure reading higher than 140/80 mmHg, they also discovered that a systolic blood pressure reading higher than 120 mmHg with a diastolic blood pressure below 70 mmHg, were associated with a higher chance of death, having a heart attack, and hospitalization for heart failure. In the meantime, their findings indicated that it is necessary to keep the blood pressure as low as possible to cut the risk of stroke.

In view of the findings, doctors are advised to be cautious in treating patients with heart disease with blood pressure-lowering medication. Meanwhile, researchers suggested that more studies should be carried out to establish the ideal blood pressure levels that can benefit hypertensive patients.




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