People often think of hypertension (high blood pressure) when blood pressure problems or issues are mentioned – they seem to forget that low blood pressure problems also exist.
The American Heart Association defines high blood pressure parameters being 140/90 and higher and normal as 135/85 and lower. The higher numerical reading is the systolic reading – the pressure required to pump blood through your arteries and the higher the number the less elastic your arterial system is. The lower numerical reading is the diastolic reading – the pressure remaining in your system between heart beats and is the number that affects your cardiovascular system the most. If the pressure remains high in your system even when your heart is at rest then there is greater risk of heart failure, kidney failure and stroke.
Likewise the diastolic reading is important in determining warning signs or problems. There is some disagreement about what numbers constitute low blood pressure – it is agreed that symptoms can be identified and some experts regard a reading lower than 90/60 as low. Only one of these numbers has to be low, for example, 115/50 is considered low as the diastolic reading of 50 is below 60.
It can be dangerous when there is a sudden drop in blood pressure. For example, a change of only 20 mm HG (systolic reading change from 130 to 110) may cause fainting or dizziness because not enough oxygen is received by the brain.
While high blood pressure is dangerous, low blood pressure also has dangers that impact negatively on a person’s health. Some low blood pressure sufferers are in great physical shape and have strong cardiovascular systems and experience symptoms because their cardiovascular systems and hearts are strong with arterial systems elasticity being flexible.
Low blood pressure can mean cardiovascular problems or may result by changing anti-hypertensive medications. Symptoms include lightheadedness, dizziness, blurred vision, rapid shallow breathing, clammy and cold skin, lack of concentration, thirst, nausea, fainting and fatigue. Some people suffer from Shy-Drager syndrome (neurological damage) after consuming a large meal which means a lot of blood is directed to the gastrointestinal system for digestion and even causes faulty brain signals. Other common reasons are medication side effects, pregnancy, dehydration, blood loss,infections and anemia.