Hypotension: Low Blood Pressure First Aid Advice And Treatment


Table of Contents

What Is Hypotension Explained

Hypotension simply explained in laymen’s terms, means low blood pressure.

Having hypotension means that the pressure of blood circulating around the body is lower than normal. Low blood pressure is only a problem if it has a negative impact on the body systems and produces symptoms that create a need for medical assessment and correction. 

What Are The Common Symptoms Of Hypotension

Substantial blood loss can cause a sudden drop in blood pressure when the body enters a state of shock. The most dramatic symptom of sudden hypotension is unconsciousness. Low blood pressure typically develops over time; the first warning sign is dizziness.

Symptoms include:

  • Light-headedness when standing from a sitting or lying position
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting
  • Weakness in limbs
  • Blurred vision 
  • Fatigues quickly doing simple things.

What Are The Common Causes Of Hypotension

Blood pressure is measured using a device known as a sphygmomanometer, pronounced “spig-mo-man-o-metre”. A ‘BP cuff’ is what the doctor or nurse will most likely call it, as few people in the industry opt for the long version.

 If the measurement drops 30mmHg below the person’s normal blood pressure, this is read as the person having hypotension. If it is 30mmHg higher than normal, it is called hypertension or high blood pressure.

Low blood pressure has many different causal factors, and those factors might only occur once or twice in life and pose no danger or cause for concern.

  • Donating Blood
  • Sudden intense pain
  • Emotional stress, fear, anxiety
  • Panic attacks
  • Pregnancy
  • Dehydration reduces blood volume and thickens the blood making it harder to pump around the body.
  • Internal bleeding
  • Heart disease
  • Overheating leading to dehydration
  • Blood loss from trauma, such as a road accident or deep cut

Other causes of hypotension include:

  • Medications for high blood pressure
  • Diuretics, which produce fluid loss
  • Medications for depression
  • Medications for certain heart conditions
  • Allergic reactions to certain drugs or chemicals
  • Toxic shock syndrome
  • Some nervous system disorders, such as Parkinson’s disease

What Is Orthostatic Hypotension

Generally, when you stand upright from a sitting or lying position, the blood vessels in your body respond to gravity by constricting. This increases blood pressure. Orthostatic hypotension means that the blood vessels don’t adjust to a standing position and, instead, allow the blood pressure to drop, resulting in a feeling of light-headedness, wooziness, or dizziness. In most cases, the sensation only lasts a few moments before the body corrects the situation.


What Is The Treatment For Hypotension

Treatment will depend on the cause of the hypotension. 

Existing medications may need to be adjusted or replaced with other brands.

Internal bleeding, such as a ruptured stomach ulcer, might need to be surgically repaired.

Medication that raises blood pressure might be prescribed if no apparent cause can be found.

In extreme cases, a lower body pressure suit may be required while ongoing medical investigations determine the cause of the continuous low blood pressure reading.

When Should I Have A Hypotension Assessment

  • A visit to your local GP or family doctor should be the first port of call. 
  • Most chemists have a free facility to check your blood pressure in-store if you are curious about your normal blood pressure level. They will also be perfectly placed to suggest a trip to your doctor if the readings are high or low and need investigation.

First Aid For Life

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