Normally we consider that lower the blood pressure, healthier will be heart. However this sentence is applicable only until you don’t suffer from any serious health hazards associated with low BP. In some individual’s condition of low blood pressure might lead to fatal condition as it hampers supply of oxygen and certain vital nutrients to various body organs like kidney, brain and may cause fainting, dizziness or mild head ache. Such abnormal decline in blood pressure in body in termed as hypotension, more commonly called as low blood pressure. Normal blood pressure range is 120/90, and decline in either both systolic and diastolic blood pressure (90/50) or in any one of them (120/50), indicates condition of Hypotension. The risk of both low and high blood pressure increases with age, over 10-15% of people over age 65suffers from postural hypotension.
Signs and symptoms of low blood pressure
Some people faint or suffer from headaches on standing for longer time in hot climate or change their posture like shifting from sitting to standing position. Such signs usually occur when arterial pressure drops down which decreases perfusion of blood to heart, brain or to skeletal muscles. However some of the symptoms of low blood pressure are listed below –
- Light headache
- Blurred vision
- Excessive transpiration and palpitation
- Tingling sensation
- Cold and excessive breathing during exercise.
Causes of low BP
Blood pressure varies in a day by 30-40 mmHg depending upon the environment, physical activity or your diet. Many factors contributes to either rise or decline in blood pressure. Therefore, BP test should always be carried out under similar condition. If low BP is depicted, first of all you need to consider environmental or every day cause that could affect blood pressure.
- Temperature – BP is higher during winter as compared to summer days
- Time of the day – The Blood pressure generally decreases at night. This is due to the effect of melatonin.
- Stress – blood pressure increases with increase in stress and declines when you get normal.
- After eating food – after eating food, BP declines because of digestion process in stomach which utilises blood for digestion.
- Age – with an increasing age, blood pressure also increases. But during such period, drop in BP can be observed on slight movement or after eating.
Once you are confirmed that decline in BP is not due to everyday cause. Start investigating on other probable causes of low BP like
Dehydration- dehydration is a condition where there is lack of water in body. The dehydration can be treated by drinking more water or a fluid with certain electrolytes. It can caused by following condition-
- Excessive sweating.
- Vomiting or diarrhoea condition,
- Ecessive urination in condition of diabetes mellitus
- Excessive exercise
- After athlete activity.
- Pregnancy – the decline in BP is observed during pregnancy as vessels becomes broad and dilates them to large extent in order to supply blood to both mother and foetus.
- Medicines – certain BP lowering drug or blood thinning agent like antidepressant drugs, high BP medicines, diuretics and pain killers may lead to low blood pressure.
- Deficiency of nutrients like vitamin B 12 or iron leads to development of anaemia which leads to decrease in BP. therefore one of the major parameter in low blood pressure diet would be vitamin B 12 and iron supplements.
- Low salt intake – salt helps to increase blood pressure and in case of salt deficiency blood pressure declines below normal level.
- Condition of shock – A decline in blood pressure may be observed after emotional or physical stress like after serious injury or accident. Anaphylactic shock may be observed in case allergic reaction. This condition promotes the release of histamine which widens your blood vessels and finally decline in BP is observed.
Types of low blood pressure
Before switching to low blood pressure diet let us discuss about the various types of hypotension. It can be divided into 3 types.
1. Orthostatic or postural hypotension – This is the most common type of hypotension which is observed when there is change in body position like when you sit or stand from lying position. Standing for a long time may also produce postural hypotension.
When you stand after sitting, large amount of blood flows through legs and blood vessels dilate. But sometimes blood vessel may not react immediately to instruction of brain and blood vessels stays dilated. Also supply of blood to brain decreases which give rise to dizziness or headache. Postural hypotension is usually observed in case of dehydration, diabetes, pregnancy or heart diseases.
2. Post Prandial hypotension – this type of hypotension is observed after 30-40 minutes of eating, as more blood is utilised for digestion process in small intestine which decreases blood supply to other parts of the body and thus low BP is observed.
3. Nuerally mediated hypotension – This type of hypotension is produced when there is abnormal reflex response between heart and brain. Brain sends defective signal t heart like instead of making it to beat fast, it signals heart to dilate the blood vessels and heart rate slows down.
Measures to decrease Low blood pressure
Low blood pressure is a condition where blood pressure drops below normal level. However, you don’t have to rush to doctors for a long time or stay dependant on medicine as certain home remedies are available for treating low blood pressure. You need to take necessary steps in order to increase blood pressure which are described below –
Drink more water – The most common cause for low BP is dehydration which is associated with decrease in level of water in body. The water level may get reduce in condition of excessive sweating, frequent urination or during viral infection that leads to vomiting and diarrhoea. The first step you need to take in a condition of low BP is to increase your water intake. Drink more water than you lose. Avoid alcohol as it also dehydrates body. Energy drink or fresh juices also helps in balancing fluid level in body and even supplies electrolytes to body.
Increase salt intake – Physician always says to cut short your salt intake but salt can be a valuable thing for patient with low BP. Salt increases blood pressure by its impact on renin angiotensin system that plays important role in raising blood pressure. But adequate amount of salt or slight excess amount in case of low BP helps in bringing blood pressure to normal level.
You can consume more salt by eating more salty foods but avoid processed foods as they are also adds saturated fats or by adding half teaspoon of salt into a glass of water for example by drinking lemon juice as it can solve both the problem of less salt and less water. Soup can also fulfil the demand of more salt. Patient’s especially elder people must consult doctor before heading to more salt intake.
Eat small meals at regular interval – Blood pressure to a large extent after eating meal. This problem can be avoided by eating small meals at regular interval. Fruits, vegetables or whole grain like oats, legumes and brown rice could be included in to your small meal plan. Avoid high carbohydrate rich food like potato, rice and pasta. Caffeine containing drink like coffee, tea can also be consumed along with meal as caffeine can raise blood pressure by 3-14mmHg. ,
Low BP can be treated by controlling and maintaining healthy diet. Low blood pressure diet generally includes intake of fresh juicy fruits, more milk and juice, nutrient and vitamins. Herbal preparation can also be used for treating hypertension. Some of the preparations which should be included in our daily diet regimes are listed below –
- Beet root juice– Hypotension can be cured by drinking juice of raw beetroot two times a day.
- Coffee – caffeine present in coffee, tea or cola can raise the blood pressure. Although caffeine raises blood pressure for short interval of time and returns back to normal blood pressure. Regular intake of coffee or tea may be useful in eradicating the symptoms of low blood pressure.
Morning preparation – some of the food items are suggested to be taken as a first thing in the morning. These substances are effective in variety of ailments and its regular consumption helps in maintaining proper body health.
- Raisins- make a habit of eating soaked raisins each morning.
- Almonds- drink warm milk consisting of almond paste each morning.
- Tulsi or basil leaves- the liquid extract obtained after straining leaves of tulsi along with honey should be eaten as a first thing in the morning.
Herbal preparation – Many herbal plants and medicine plays an effective role in the treatment of hypotension.
- Linden- linden sap wood promotes rise in blood pressure, therefore it can be included for treatment of hypotension. It could be taken in the form of decoction prepared by using 1 teaspoon of dry sapwood per cup of water. This preparation should be taken several times in a day.
- Indian spikenard- It is an Indian herbal preparation acting as important regime for hypotension. Infusion of spikenard can also be prepared at home by dissolving 15-20 grams of herb in 250ml of boiling water. It should be taken at least thrice in a day.
- Fumitory (fumaria officinalis) – It has an ability to reinforce heartbeat, therefore useful in treatment of hypotension and heart failure.
- Ginseng (panax ginseng) – Its effect on heart and blood pressure stabilising activity makes it important for the treatment of hypotension.
- Tulsi leaves- Intake of tulsi leave as such or in the form of liquid extract can help in regulating blood pressure.
- Nutrients – Nutrients like protein, vitamin C and all B complex vitamin increases blood pressure when taken in moderate amounts. Vitamins alone can cause significant rise in BP. These vitamins alleviate the action of adrenal glands, thus the blood pressure rises. Vitamin B 12 can be obtained from meat, cereals, eggs and diary product and vitamin C is present in high amount in citrus fruits.
Life style changes to avoind Low Blood Pressure
We have already discussed about low blood pressure diet but results will be more pronounced if you bring some modification in to your lifestyle. Some of the necessary changes required to in our life and precautions to be taken by an hypotensive patient is mentioned below –
- Epsom salt bath – Epsom salt baths is the simplest way of treating hypotension. In this method, hypotensive patient immerse themselves into Epsom salt bath for 20 minutes before sleeping. The patient feels relax and observes rise in blood pressure. The Epsom salt bath is prepared by dissolving one and half kg of salt in tub of hot water.
- Exercise – exercises like walking, yoga or stretching helps in condition of hypotension. Remember to perform some warming exercise and avid exercising in hot climates and hot condition causes more dilation of blood vessels.
- Wear compressed stockings – this are basically used to increase blood pressure in legs and is effective mainly for people with swollen varicose veins that occurs due to sitting or standing for long hours.
- Avoid standing for a long time – standing for a longer time may increase the blood circulation in legs which may lead to hypotension. This condition can be avoided by changing posture.
- Avoid hot climate – Hot environment may worsen condition of hypotension. Hypotensive patient should avoid visiting to hot places or taking shower or bath with hot water.
- Stand up slowly – standing up quickly can cause dizziness or headache due to more amount of blood in legs. You need to do some activities like pressing hands or doing some mental calculation so that more blood flows to the brain.
- Avoid coffee at night and deceases alcohol intake.
By the above mentioned precautions and low blood pressure diet, it is possible to bring blood pressure to normal level. In most of the cases, Low blood pressure can be simply treated by following some home remedies and therefore you don’t have to rush to doctors for the treatment of low BP.