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Hypotension

Hypotension is a condition of abnormally low blood pressure. It is a physiologic state rather than a disease. Shock is always associated with hypotension. Hypertension is the opposite of hypotension. The autonomic nervous system is the regulator of blood pressure. The sympathetic nervous system raises, and the parasympathetic nervous system lowers blood pressure. There are many causes of hypotension. Hypovolemia is the most common mechanism. It can be due to decreased output of the sympathetic nervous system brought about by injury to the brain or spinal cord. Excessive vasodilation is another cause of hypotension. It can be due to sepsis, acidosis, some medications, and anesthetic agents.

Hypotension
Hypotension


Low blood pressure can also be a cause for celebration. This means that some people with low blood pressure have strong cardiovascular systems with reduced risk for stroke and heart attack. But if low blood pressure is accompanied by dizziness, fainting, lack of concentration, blurred vision, nausea, fatigue, depression, and thirst, it signifies an underlying problem.

Pregnancy can be a cause of hypotension because a woman’s system expands rapidly during pregnancy. Drugs can also cause low blood pressure. Diuretics, beta-blockers, drugs for Parkinson’s disease, some antidepressants, and Viagra are just some. Heart problems such as bradycardia, heart attack, and heart failure can also lead to hypotension because your heart may not able to circulate enough blood for the body. Endocrine problems are possible causes too. Diabetes, Addison’s disease, adrenal insufficiency, hypothyroidism, and hyperthyroidism are just some of these problems. Dehydration is another cause. Vomiting, severe diarrhea, overuse of diuretics, and strenuous exercise can lead to dehydration which is a serious condition when your body water that what is taken in. Hypovolemic shock is a dangerous complication of dehydration which is caused by a sudden drop in blood pressure. If untreated, it can lead to death. Significant loss of blood can also lead to a drop in blood pressure. Severe trauma and internal bleeding reduces circulating blood volume. Severe infection can also lead to hypotension. When bacteria leave the site of infection and invade the bloodstream, they produce toxins that affect the blood vessels. This can lead to a life-threatening condition of low blood pressure.

Postural hypotension or orhostatic hypotension is another common form of hypotension. It is usually transient and occurs after a change in body position. It is due to a delay in the compensatory ability of the autonomic nervous system. Postprandial hypotension is another form. It occurs after eating because of the presence of a great deal of blood in the intestines for digestion. The autonomic nervous system fails to compensate appropriately during digestion. Endocrine problems also play a role for hypotension.

Blood pressures of 90/50 mmHg to 135/90 mmHg mean a healthy blood pressure. A drop of 20 mmHg can result in hypotension. An inappropriate drop in blood pressure in an upright position is called neurocardiogenic syncope. It is related to an increased activity of the vagus nerve.

Symptoms of hypotension include loss of consciousness and seizures if the blood pressure is really low. Dizziness and lightheadedness are the cardinal symptoms. It can also occur with chest pain, shortness of breath, irregular heartbeat, fever, headache, stiff neck, severe upper back pain, cough with phlegm, diarrhea or vomiting, inability to eat and drink, burning with urination, foul-smelling urine, allergic reaction, and profound fatigue.

Asymptomatic hypotension rarely requires treatment. In symptomatic cases, therapy depends on the underlying cause addressed by the doctor. Changing the dose of medication or stopping the medication is often the treatment if the hypotension is drug induced. Increasing salt and water intake, wearing compression stockings, and taking medications can help in treatment.