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Low Blood Pressure

If your blood pressure is below 90/60 then you have low blood pressure. This does not necessarily indicate a problem. People with low blood pressure are generally regarded as fortunate because they tend to live longer than those with high blood pressure and even those with normal blood pressure.

There is increasing evidence linking low blood pressure with tiredness, depression and anxiety, all of which affect your quality of life. Low blood pressure is sometimes a side effect of tranquillisers, betablockers and other cardiac drugs. There is also a link between diabetes and low blood pressure that causes symptoms when you change position. More studies focusing on low blood pressure are needed so that the causes and possible treatments can be clearly defined.

Low blood pressure sometimes causes faintness or dizziness. If this applies to you, your doctor will look at your symptoms to see whether there is an underlying cause. You might feel faint or dizzy particularly when you change posture (for example when moving from sitting to standing) or after exercising or eating a meal. This is more common in elderly people where there is some deterioration in the control of blood pressure.

There are simple things you can do to help to control your symptoms. While people with high blood pressure need to restrict their salt intake, if you have low blood pressure, incorporating a little more salt into your diet may help. Other measures include sleeping with several pillows to raise your head as you sleep. Some people are advised to wear support stockings to stimulate their circulation. Sometimes low blood pressure can be the result of medication that you are taking. If you are on medication, your doctor may wish to alter your dose.

Only a very small number of people need to take medication for low blood pressure. Drugs that constrict the arteries can help elderly people who have symptoms when they change posture.

Low blood pressure by itself does not necessarily cause symptoms. If you have low blood pressure but no symptoms, you will not need treatment and you can ignore it.

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