If you mention that you have issues with your blood pressure, most people will automatically assume that you have high blood pressure. After all, isn’t it what puts you at risk of having a heart attack or similar issues? While this is indeed the case, low blood pressure can be just as dangerous when it causes you health problems.
Doctors consider a blood pressure reading of 90/60 or below to be low blood pressure. The lower the reading, , the more potential there is for danger. It is possible for low blood pressure to be life threatening if it is severe enough and goes untreated for too long. Symptoms that indicate low blood pressure is a concern include feeling dizzy or lightheaded, fainting, or even vomiting.
Some of the main causes of low blood pressure include: health issues such as heart problems (weak heart muscles or blood vessels), blood loss, side effects from medications, deficiencies in diet, and dehydration.
So, now that you understand what doctors consider low blood pressure, what symptoms to look out for, as well as some of the potential causes, what can you do to get rid of low blood pressure? How do you ensure that you remain healthy?
Unlike with high blood pressure, there is not a specific medication designed to regulate your low blood pressure. There are some medications for other issues that doctors have used to treat low blood pressure, however they often carry additional side effects.
In general, a medication that promotes water retention is a good option as it can help in hydration as well as retaining salt. If such a medication is prescribed to you (and only take some if it is prescribed by a medical professional), keep a close eye on the amount of potassium in your diet. Due to the medication, you may need to increase your intake in order to account for the medication’s side effects.
2. Reduce hot water.
Too much exposure to hot water and steam results in a further drop in blood pressure. Although it is only temporary, a drop in blood pressure for someone who is already suffering from low blood can be quite dangerous. If the drop is severe and sudden, there is the potential for fainting in the shower, which could leave you with a nasty bump on your head.
Many doctors and other health advisors warn against having a warm shower and suggest a cool one is a better option for those suffering from low blood pressure. In instances where you cannot avoid a hot shower for whatever reason, take a few minutes at the end of the shower to turn the temperature down and stand under the cool water. This will cool your body down, and help to reverse the adverse effects of the hot water.
3. Compression stockings.
As low blood pressure means that your blood is not flowing properly (not enough is making its way around your body), wearing compression stockings helps to force the blood pooling in your legs up the body and towards your heart. This increases blood flow, and should help to raise your blood pressure to a healthier level.
4. Get salty.
As a child, you most likely heard from your parents that too much salt was not healthy for you. This remains true, however one of the first treatments recommended by doctors when they first diagnose a patient with low blood pressure, is to increase the amount of sodium (salt) in their diet.
Many people can get away with eating low sodium options of popular products. If you suffer from low blood pressure, one of the easiest ways to increase your salt intake is to choose the regular options with a higher amount of sodium. For example, Old El Paso provides two options for their taco spice mix: one with 25% less sodium than the other.
If you don’t like the idea of loading up the salt on your foods, try some alternatives like soy sauce on rice, or adding dry soup mix to vegetable or chip dips. One popular option is to add onion soup mix to sour cream.
5. Drink more fluids.
One of the common causes of low blood pressure is dehydration—not getting enough water. In combination with increasing your salt intake, many doctors will recommend that you drink more fluids.
Water is the safest option, followed by sports drinks containing electrolytes and sodium. Some caffeinated beverages such as tea or coffee are acceptable, but be careful not to exceed the recommended daily dosage.
One thing you want to avoid is drinking too much alcohol. Besides getting you drunk, alcohol also lowers you blood pressure. It can get pretty dangerous if you drink too much when suffering from low blood pressure.
6. Switch up your diet.
If your low blood pressure might be the result of deficiencies in diet, you should make a few changes. Beyond the suggestions for more salt and fluids, there are nutrient rich foods that help to maintain a healthy blood pressure. Some suggestions for dietary choices include lean red meats, poultry, dark green vegetables (spinach, romaine lettuce, and broccoli), nuts, as well as a selection of whole grains.
Additionally, doctors recommend eating smaller meals more often, rather than two or three larger meals every day. Eating more frequently and in smaller quantities helps to combat drops in blood pressure after meals. This regulates your blood pressure and prevents the severity of side effects such as dizziness, lightheadedness, and fainting.
When it boils down to it, your brain and heart just aren’t getting enough blood when you suffer from low blood pressure. While this is not an issue so long as you remain unaffected by low blood pressure, as soon as it interferes with your life, it poses a serious health problem a doctor should examine.
In addition to the main treatment options described previously in the article, you may also consider increasing the frequency of exercise (keep it at a low impact level), as well as changing positions slowly, such as sitting before standing up after you have awoken from a slumber.
Low blood pressure is not a permanent problem—you are fully capable of getting rid of it by following the ideas in this article. Best of luck!