What is hypotension, its causes, symptoms and treatment?
Hypotension is the technical name for low blood pressure. It occurs when the heartbeat, responsible for pumping blood to the rest of the body, has a slower rhythm than usual. For this reason, neither the brain, the heart, nor the rest of the body receives the necessary blood, which can lead to dizziness and fainting.
There are many factors causing hypotension. First, it can occur because the physiological mechanisms that maintain blood pressure do not work correctly and transmit signals incorrectly.
It is common for it to manifest itself when an individual is on their feet for an extended period and mainly affects young people and children. When a bleed occurs, the patient is likely to be hypotensive.
Other times it is caused by the intake of drugs, such as alcohol, painkillers, medications used for surgery, diuretics, etc. It can also occur because the affected person has different arrhythmias, dehydration, anaphylaxis or unbalanced diabetes.
The symptoms suffered by people with this condition are usually:
- Blurry vision.
- Drowsiness and momentary confusion.
- Confusion and even loss of consciousness.
- Fainting or lightheadedness.
- Nausea and vomiting.
There are simple methods that prevent the drop in blood pressure, one of which is to drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration.
However, you should try to do without alcoholic beverages. In addition, there are stockings, generally known as compression stockings, which put pressure on the legs and facilitate the increase in blood pressure. On the other hand, it is also important to avoid abrupt incorporation when sitting or lying down; or standing still for long periods.
Among the types from which this disease is classified are:
- Orthostatic hypotension: It is produced from a sudden change in body posture.
Among the most common changes that cause this condition is that the patient goes from lying down to standing up very quickly.
This drop in blood pressure usually only lasts a few seconds or minutes.
- Postprandial orthostatic hypotension: In this case, the cause is in the previous type, with the added feature occurring after eating.
This type most often affects older adults, those with high blood pressure, or those with Parkinson’s.
- Neurally mediated hypotension: This is the name given to the incoordination between the pumping of the heart and the brain. Sudden drops in blood pressure characterise it. Patients tend not to be able to stay upright for a long time.
- Severe hypotension: It can be caused by sudden blood loss, a severe infection, a heart attack, an intense allergic reaction, various arrhythmias, drug use, etc.
To determine if this condition is present, the specialist will perform tests to help diagnose the symptoms. You will first monitor your vital signs, such as temperature, pulse, breathing rate, and blood pressure.
It is possible that after performing these tests, the patient will have to stay in the hospital for a while.
In addition to this exam, other tests may be carried out:
- AnalysisBasic metabolism
- blood cultures to determine if there is any other type of infection.
- Complete blood count (CBC).
- X-ray of the abdomen.
- Chest x-ray.
Hypotension does not usually need treatment, although it occasionally requires medical attention, depending on the symptoms. For example, if hypotension is the cause of shock, urgent medical care is needed to supply fluids or blood intravenously. And prescribe medications to increase blood pressure.
If the supply of drugs causes orthostatic hypotension, the doctor will change them or modify the prescribed amount.
When the patient has symptoms of a drop in blood pressure, it is recommended that they sit or lie down immediately. He should also raise his feet above his heart.
People with neurally mediated hypotension should avoid prolonged standing.
If hypotension is caused by standing up suddenly, drinking plenty of fluids or wearing compression stockings to prevent blood from accumulating in the legs is recommended.
Complications derived from this disease can be more severe than the condition itself. For example, falls due to low blood pressure in older adults can cause a broken hip or spine fracture.
Sudden and severe drops in blood pressure deprive the body of oxygen, which can sometimes lead to heart or neurological damage.
Physical exercise helps control blood pressure.
Physical exercise is the best non-pharmacological method to control blood pressure. “Sport not only manages to lower the blood pressure of hypertensive patients but also helps to control overweight, hypercholesterolemia and type 2 diabetes, all of which are risk factors for hypertension.”
The practice of aerobic-type sports modalities, which mobilise various muscle groups, such as walking, swimming, or playing tennis or golf, is recommended. “However, lifting weights or bodybuilding is not recommended, since these actions cause the patient to raise blood pressure.”
80 per cent of diagnosed hypertensives do not adequately control their disease, and more than half are overweight. “The dietary and pharmacological indications indicated by the doctor are not followed. This patient should avoid a sedentary lifestyle, moderate salt intake and excessive alcohol use.
During the summer, pharmacological treatment is relaxed and, above all, non-pharmacological measures. This causes blood pressure to rise and, more damagingly, diastolic and systolic pressure indices to fluctuate, increasing the risk of cardiovascular and cerebrovascular complications.
“Hypertensive patients should periodically check their blood pressure, follow basic food and lifestyle rules and do moderate physical exercise every day. Specialists advise keeping blood pressure numbers below 140/90 and even lower levels if the patient is diabetic.