Diseases

Drop in blood pressure – causes, symptoms & treatment

Drop in blood pressure

A sudden drop in blood pressure is usually noticeable through the onset of dizziness , tremors , sweating and nausea . The causes and course of the disease can be manifold.

What is a drop in blood pressure?

The clinical picture is also called acute hypotension . Tonus is the blood pressure and hypo- means “below the measure”. An uncontrolled drop in blood pressure occurs when the brain is no longer supplied with sufficient oxygen for reasons that will be explained in more detail . Dizziness, tremors, ringing in the ears and flickering eyes are the first signs.

circulatory collapse , fainting or shock symptoms are the more severe cases. Blood pressure within a certain pressure range is considered to be normal as an arithmetic variable. The two blood pressure values ​​that are determined are the diastolic and systolic blood pressure.

The former is measured in the relaxed heart . The latter measures the pressure when blood is ejected from the heart. In acute hypotension, blood pressure drops from an acceptable blood pressure range to a much lower value.

causes

A large number of different forms are summarized under the term “drop in blood pressure”. The individual causes are therefore manifold. The most common form is exhaustion due to physical overwork with a simultaneous lack of rest and insufficient fluid balance.

This results in an insufficient blood volume with simultaneously disturbed overall function. The vascular resistance is reduced and the return flow of blood to the heart is insufficient. A drop in blood pressure can be the result or side effect of a medication you are taking. This is where the backflow of blood to the heart is reduced. Food can also be the cause. Certain incompatible foods can cause a drop in blood pressure.

More common, however, is food intolerance , leading to anaphylactic shock . Furthermore, hypotension can be caused by excessive dieting . The drop in blood pressure can also be the result of illness or an accident. Physical or mental illnesses should be considered as possible causes.

Physically, it could be acute blood loss, intestinal obstruction , varicose veins , heart failure , stenosis , embolism , and other conditions. In the case of cardiac insufficiency or valvular insufficiency , the result is a reduced pumping function of the heart. Psychologically, the sudden drop in blood pressure could result from anxiety symptoms .

It can also be a side effect of manic-depressive illness . Psychosomatically, it could be a side effect of burnout . In the early stage of burnout, the patient works beyond the limit despite exhaustion. As a result, a drop in blood pressure is possible. A hormonal problem can also be the cause of a sudden drop in blood pressure.

Symptoms, Ailments & Signs

A drop in blood pressure leads to an accelerated heart rate. The increased pulse causes symptoms such as restlessness, nervousness or shortness of breath. Dizziness can also be a sign of a drop in blood pressure, as the circulatory system is disrupted by the drop in blood pressure. In severe cases, sufferers may collapse, and in particularly severe cases, fainting may occur.

Due to the rapid drop in blood pressure, the body temperature drops, especially in the extremities. Patients often get cold. Accordingly, tremors can be another symptom. A clear pallor is also considered a possible sign. In addition, patients with a drop in blood pressure find it difficult to concentrate.

The dizziness and the increased heart rate lead to concentration disorders , which also affect the ability to drive. Signs of fatigue are also symptomatic. In addition, those affected often suffer from headaches . These occur regularly in a pulsating manner.

The drop in blood pressure can also be felt through the sensory organs. It can occasionally lead to visual disturbances , in particular blackness in front of the eyes, and a hissing or whistling in the ears. If the blood pressure does not regulate itself, there is a risk of hypotension , i.e. blood pressure that is constantly below the normal range.

Diagnosis & History

sphygmomanometer must be used to establish the diagnosis . A blood pressure below the physiological range of 110 mmHg in the systolic pressure is referred to as hypotension. This is the pressure from the emanating heart.

Below 90/60 mmHg the drop in blood pressure is dramatic. Diagnosis without a meter is based on the symptoms of sweating, tremors, flickering of the eyes, light-headedness in the head, and ringing in the ears. Without a measuring device, the pulse is palpated on the carotid artery.

The course of the disease depends on the underlying disease and the general condition of the patient. He is also dependent on the immediate help that is guaranteed. Under certain circumstances, a drop in blood pressure can be life-threatening.

complications

A drop in blood pressure has many different causes, which have many complications. For example, this occurs when the position of the body changes from lying to standing. Dizziness can occur as a complication, which can lead to a fainting spell, in which the risk of injury is particularly high.

craniocerebral trauma is the most feared injury, which can even be life-threatening. Typically, a severe drop in blood pressure occurs as part of a shock. This leads to an insufficient supply of blood to important organs, so that they can die and fail. In particular, the kidneys and lungs should be mentioned.

Depending on the type of shock, further complications arise. In the case of anaphylactic shock, there is usually also a strong swelling of the airways, so that the person concerned suffers from severe shortness of breath . Cardiogenic shock can result from a heart attack, which if left untreated can quickly lead to cardiac death.

Otherwise, this leads to chronic cardiac insufficiency ( cardiac insufficiency ), which carries the risk of suffering from cardiac arrhythmias. In general, arrhythmias can also lead to a drop in blood pressure. In the case of atrial fibrillation, for example, blood clots form in the area of ​​the atrium, which can break off and then lead to pulmonary embolism or strokes. Left untreated, ventricular fibrillation usually leads directly to sudden cardiac death.

When should you go to the doctor?

The complications to be expected from a drop in blood pressure depend on the cause. If the low blood pressure is due to overwork or malnutrition, changing body position often leads to severe dizziness or even fainting. In these cases, there is an increased risk of injury for the person concerned.

In the event of a fall, broken bones or head injuries cannot be ruled out. The patient almost always has to reckon with bruises and hematomas. Fainting spells due to low blood pressure often occur spontaneously and can surprise the patient even in particularly dangerous situations.

For example, if an affected person falls and holds a glass in their hand, there is a risk of serious cuts which, if they affect the face, can even lead to disfigurement. A fainting spell on stairs, escalators or at the wheel of a vehicle is life-threatening for those affected and those around them.

If the drop in blood pressure is the result of an anaphylactic shock, there is also a risk of death for the person concerned. This disorder often causes severe swelling of the airways and severe shortness of breath. A circulatory collapse with cardiac arrest is also possible.

In addition, the drop in blood pressure can be due to a serious heart condition which, if left untreated, usually also leads to death.

Treatment & Therapy

Depending on the severity of the acute drop in blood pressure, immediate treatment must be given. If the person concerned is responsive and otherwise in good general condition, the legs should be placed higher than the head. If the drop in blood pressure is dramatic, shock or a stable lateral position is recommended.

In the shock position, the blood is returned to the upper half of the body through the raised legs. If the person concerned faints, they should be placed in the stable side position. In the event of fainting or a sharp drop in blood pressure, a doctor should be called immediately. The blood pressure can be stabilized again with appropriate medication.

In any case, the long-term measure is to eliminate the underlying cause. If the cause can be avoided, this is indicated, i.e. advised. The most effective remedy for a sudden drop in blood pressure is successful treatment of the underlying condition. Good, gentle therapy can be regular cardiovascular exercise.

In consultation with the doctor, the necessary medication should be carried, which can be taken if necessary. Yoga and breathing exercises are therapeutically relevant for this disease. Regular relaxation exercises can stabilize the cardiovascular system. Regular walks and fitness training are also recommended.

Outlook & Forecast

An existing drop in blood pressure is not an independent clinical picture, but often just a symptom of a serious underlying disease. For this reason, an explicit prediction of how the disease will progress is very difficult to predict.

Affected people who suffer from a sudden drop in blood pressure will experience a significant feeling of dizziness, which can lead to a fall and injury. Furthermore, severe nausea or even vomiting can occur. With a particularly strong drop in blood pressure, up to 600 milliliters of blood can flow into the lower body region. The affected person’s brain is briefly deprived of blood supply, which can lead to a fainting spell.

If a drop in blood pressure occurs without any treatment at all, then the prospects of self-healing do not look very good. This is usually due to serious underlying diseases that make drug and medical treatment essential.

Heart failure or cardiac arrhythmias are often the causes of a sudden drop in blood pressure . If such an underlying disease is present, medical treatment should be given as soon as possible. Prompt treatment favors a speedy and complete recovery. Failure to do so could result in permanent damage or even death.

prevention

Regularity and moderation seem to be important factors. That means eating regularly and drinking enough fluids. A healthy balanced diet is important. Sufficient, regular sleep is also important.

Alcohol consumption, nicotine and intoxicants are to be avoided. If the sudden drop in blood pressure is the result of a stressful situation , moderation is also important here. Psychological support could help to find the right balance between tension and relaxation .

aftercare

A drop in blood pressure is usually caused by an underlying disease. Regular follow-up examinations are absolutely necessary, as otherwise dangerous and serious consequences or complications can occur. Follow-up care when treating hypotension is usually simple and uncomplicated.

It is important to always follow the doctor’s instructions. One should follow a strict diet plan and adopt specific diets that maintain blood pressure, specially designed meal plans that can be prepared by a qualified nutritionist can help. A balanced diet is particularly important there.

A glass of lemon juice with salt or sugar, for example, provides quick help in an acute case, which immediately gets the blood pressure going again. Another aftercare measure is regular walks, which stimulate the circulation and distribute the blood evenly in the veins. If an even circulation is not achieved by walking in the fresh air alone, compression stockings can help, which regulate the pressure equalization of the blood in the body and make it even.

Another important follow-up measure for affected people is avoiding alcohol as much as possible. Caffeine, on the other hand, is helpful because it stabilizes blood pressure. If these things are taken into account in the follow-up care of a drop in blood pressure, the chances of improvement or even complete absence of symptoms are very good.

You can do that yourself

A drop in blood pressure can be counteracted with various home remedies and self-measures. As a first measure, however, you should go to the family doctor with blood pressure fluctuations in order to clarify the causes and rule out serious illnesses.

If an undersupply is the cause, it is usually sufficient to drink enough and to replenish the body’s mineral stores with a healthy, balanced diet . A glass of lemon juice with a little salt and sugar promises a quick recovery. Even a long walk can naturally boost blood pressure. Long-term blood pressure fluctuations can be counteracted by endurance sports.

If your blood pressure suddenly drops, your legs should be raised above heart level. In the long term, compression stockings and suitable medicines help against fluctuations in blood pressure. Those affected should also temporarily refrain from alcohol and other stimulants. Only caffeine can temporarily stabilize blood pressure, but should be avoided in the case of serious cardiovascular diseases.

Natural remedies such as Kneipp affusions or applications of mistletoe and motherwort are more effective. Teas made from clove, zedoary , coriander , tansy or Icelandic moss also help with a drop in blood pressure.

If the problems persist despite everything, a doctor should be consulted. If the drop in blood pressure causes serious circulatory problems or fainting , the emergency services should be called.

Lisa Newlon
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Hello! I am Lisa Newlon, and I am a medical writer and researcher with over 10 years of experience in the healthcare industry. I have a Master’s degree in Medicine, and my deep understanding of medical terminology, practices, and procedures has made me a trusted source of information in the medical world.