Low blood pressure

Low blood pressure (hypotension) exists if the reading is less than 100/60 mmHg. Unlike high blood pressure, low blood pressure is not harmful for the blood vessels. Low blood pressure is deemed to be a disease of clinical significance only if symptoms such as dizziness, collapse or fainting spells occur.

Blood pressure is the pressure with which the blood is pumped through the arteries of the body. It is higher during a heart beat than between two heart beats. Therefore, the systolic pressure is always measured (during a heart beat) and the diastolic pressure (between two heart beats). Low blood pressure exists when a person's blood pressure is under 100/60 mmHg.

Unlike those with raised blood pressure, people with low blood pressure are not at risk of developing arteriosclerosis. In comparison, a rather low blood pressure is even good for the blood vessels and reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease.

However, low blood pressure can also cause symptoms such as headaches, dizziness, fatigue, a tendency to collapse or fainting spells. Othostatic hypotension is a special form of low blood pressure which causes your blood pressure to fall too strongly if you stand up. This manifests itself in dizziness or black spots in front of your eyes when you do stand up.

Low blood pressure is diagnosed on the basis of the characteristic symptoms by measuring the patient's blood pressure. Orthostatic hypotension is diagnosed by measuring the blood pressure in repose and directly after standing up.

Low blood pressure is generally only treated if it causes complaints. Sometimes regular physical activity alone is sufficient to boost low blood pressure. Beverages containing caffeine can also be effective. The best way to deal with orthostatic hypotension is to stand up slowly. If these measures are insufficient, anti-hypotensive medication is available.