Just because you are getting older doesn’t mean that you have become susceptible to ever}’ ailment that you avoided in your youth. Low blood pressure can be brought on by many little changes, and they are usually short-lived events with easy solutions. However, some medications can create a low blood pressure problem in a number of individuals, and in that case the medication needs to be changed. Some of the more general causes of hypotension are thyroid problems, heart disease, inflammation of infected organs and dehydration.
Thyroid Problems Can Cause Your Low BP
Thyroid disease has caused many people who have it to develop low blood pressure. The impaired metabolism of the thyroid, plus the medication (T4 meds) used to treat the dysfunction, causes the systolic pressure to decrease. Another result of having a hypothyroid condition is that the patient can develop an adrenal insufficiency. This insufficiency causes salt loss from the body, which stops the retention of fluids. Here again, the loss of fluids in the blood stream makes for low circulation volume, which uncorrected, leads to low blood pressure.
You may have heard that thyroid problems will cause high blood pressure, and this is also true. Some people have thyroid conditions that go undiagnosed, and some take T4-only medications like Extroxin and Synthroid, which don’t do enough. It is well-documented that the continuous efforts that your body makes to handle your ailing adrenal system and the medication that you are taking for your thyroid disease will eventually cause hypertension.
To avoid the negative effects of hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism, and their eventual disruption of your blood pressure, it’s a very good idea to have yourself tested yearly. Thyroid problems are often genetically inherited, so it’s not a
bad idea to notice of any and all symptoms you may have experienced or are concerned about. You’ll need to guard against apathy for medical tests, because prevention or early treatment can make all the difference.
Diabetes can cause hypotension but only in severe incidents. Some people with Type 2 diabetes may develop an insulin deficiency because of mismedication or illness. If a person has an event called diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) then their high blood sugar can set off a chain reaction, which can lead to dehydration and also hypotension. Ketoacidosis has been known to happen to people other than diabetics, due to starvation or alcohol overdose.
Huvoalucemia is related to diabetes also, but in this case the diabetic can develop very low blood sugar. Again, as the brain and body try to alter the levels of glucose in the blood, dehydration can be a result. There are different levels of severity when it comes to the symptoms suffered during a hypoglycemic episode, and hypotension would occur with the more dangerous level.
Postural or Orthostatic hnvotension is a condition that normally affects older people when they go from sitting to standing. It is also experienced by young people who have been standing up for too long. The blood will naturally pool in your legs, with the veins and capillaries swelling up to capacity because of the natural effects of gravity. If your heart is not
pumping hard because you’re not even exercising or bending your knees occasionally while you’re standing, then there is no decent amount of force to move the blood along quickly, and it settles.
The inactivity of a person who’s been sitting for a long while will bring the heart to a gentle beat, and not too much oxygen is needed because the person is typically relaxed. In older people the blood still tends to settle, even while just sitting, and their heart may not be strong enough to increase their blood pressure in a speedy reaction to standing up.
When you stand up the action uses up the oxygen in the blood. The oxygen isn’t replaced immediately because the heart is still waiting to recover a proper blood volume from the legs. Lack of oxygen to the heart and also to the brain will cause fainting or dizziness. So, by sitting back down or lying down will actually solve the problem quickly as the blood won’t have to fight against gravity so much.
You may have seen this happen time and time again at concerts or sporting events, where young people get caught standing in a crowd for hours with no place to sit and rest. Sometimes they faint because of dehydration, or inadequate ventilation for such a large crowded area, or just because their blood circulation was not strong enough to keep their respiratory and circulatory systems going. It doesn’t happen to a lot of young people, but those who are affected should be aware of their body’s limitations. If it happens more often than is considered “healthy” then they should see a doctor for underlying heart or neurological conditions.
Postprandial Hiivotension is the name of a condition suffered by some older persons, but is not just limited to the elderly. Some people who have Parkinson’s disease, Shy-Drager Syndrome, or diabetes, as well as those who live with hypertension often have postprandial hypotension. It
causes a sudden drop in blood pressure right after eating a meal.
The stomach and intestines require a large blood supply to manage digestion. Normally a person’s heartbeat will increase, as the body demands that blood vessels constrict in order to increase the blood flow. With postprandial hypotension the blood moves to aid digestion, but the heart and blood vessels don’t do their part.
One of the dangers of lightheadedness and fainting comes from the person taking a serious fall. There are several ways of reducing the effects of this postprandial condition, including small changes in diet habits, coffee (caffeine) before breakfast to increase BP, and lying down for a little while after a meal.
Neurallii Mediated Hiivotension
This happens to be a type of hypotension that affects younger people, rather than older folks. It is caused by a faulty signal between the heart and the brain, and usually happens when the
person has been standing for a very long period of time. It is considered a disorder and it causes dizziness and sometimes fainting. The usual result to standing for a long period of time is that the blood in the body settles in the lower limbs. Low blood pressure occurs at this time, and the body recognizes that it has to increase or raise the blood pressure to make it normal again.
Unfortunately, with neurally mediated hypotension, the brain gets the idea that the person is having a case of high blood pressure and tells the heart to slow down. So in this case, with people who have neurally mediated hypotension, their heart slows down and their blood pressure gets even lower. The oxygen can’t move up to the brain because most of the blood is in the legs. Less oxygen in the brain can only result in the usual symptoms of low BP.
Heart Troubles at the Core of Hiivotension
Heart disease or damage sustained through multiple small heart attacks or one large heart attack usually denotes a weakened heart muscle. Once the efficiency of the heart muscle is compromised it may be difficult for the heart to contract as fast or as strongly in order to pump blood throughout the body. Occasionally viral infections, also known as myocarditis, can weaken the heart muscles, as well as toxic chemicals or medicines that target the heart. Aortic stenosis is a disease that damages the aortic valves, which control blood flow, and essentially reduces the blood pressure as the disease progresses.
If you suffer from pericarditis, you’ll know that that’s a disease that affects the pericardium. The pericardium is a sac that surrounds the heart, and once that becomes inflamed or swollen it can then restrict the heart muscles’ actions. Pericarditis will cause problems such as swelling in the legs and painful breathing along with a slew of other problems including low blood pressure. Medications are the best treatment and surgery is a final resort.
Bradycardia is a problem that some people have which will cause their hypotension, fainting and dizzy spells. Bradycardia is simply a “slow heart rate” and it usually affects the elderly more often than others. Physically fit athletes can have very slow heartbeats without ill effects because they counteract the slow rate with very powerful heart contractions. Bradycardia doesn’t allow for strong pumping action.
There are a few causes for bradycardia, such as ‘heart block’ (also known as AV block or atrioventricular block), medications and sick sinus syndrome. All of these problems are caused by malfunctioning electrical connections in the heart. Without regular electric signals the heart muscles won’t contract strongly or regularly, resulting in bradycardia.
The opposite of bradycardia is tachycardia, a condition in which the heart beats too fast and irregularly. A common condition of tachycardia is called atrial fibrillation, and another is ventricular tachycardia. In these cases the electrical signals that tell the heart when to contract and how much force is needed are disturbed by disease. The result is that the heart ventricles cannot fill properly before the heart pumps the blood out again into the arteries. Even with the more rapid heartbeat not enough blood is pushed through to cause proper blood pressure levels. Temporary tachycardia will cause low blood pressure; the result of continued tachycardia can be shock and possibly death.
Prevent Loiv Blood Pressure by Avoiding Dehydration
There are many reasons why you may become dehydrated. Not only does dehydration cause low blood pressure, but it can cause very severe damage to your organs if it isn’t rectified quickly. Simple causes of dehydration are over-sweating from exercise or environmental conditions, fever, diarrhea, vomiting, and increased urination (by medications or illness). If the fluids you lose are not replaced then your body will react with symptoms of dizziness, confusion, fast heart beat, and lethargy, just to name a few.
When your body recognizes that you need more fluids, its initial reaction is to make you feel thirst. The next reaction would signal your kidneys to increase fluids into your bloodstream to help keep your blood pressure normal. The extra that the heart won’t be required to beat harder or faster.
Pyridostigmine: This drug has sometimes been prescribed to help people who have orthostatic hypotension events. If your doctor were to recommend this drug then it means that your health situation is more critical that the possible dangers of its effect on your kidneys, lungs or liver. It was not originally intended as a cure for low blood pressure and it does have other uses and serious side-effects, especially if you develop an allergic reaction to it. It is distributed under the names of Mestinon and Regonol.
Fludrocortisone: This drug can be prescribed to you if you suffer from chronic postural hypotension. The reason you may need this medicine is due to problems with your adrenal gland. Your adrenal gland manages your salt and water balance as well as your blood pressure. Fludrocortisone is a man-made substitute used to raise your body’s natural glucocorticoid levels, which is necessary if you suffer from disease such as Addison’s, a debilitating disease of your adrenal gland.
Milodrine: Milodrine hydrochloride is a medicine that would normally be dangerous if you had normal blood pressure. The use of this drug causes a drastic rise in low blood pressure even while you’re lying down, and therefore it is prescribed only to people who have their lives impaired by symptomatic orthostatic hypotension. A lomg dose of this drug will raise your systolic blood pressure (measured while standing) as much as 30 mm Hg in one hour, and the effect of the drug can last up to 3 hours.
Anti-inflammatory drugs (non-steroidal): These medicines (NSAIDs) are commonly used for pain and fever, which means they are basically anti-inflammatory tablets, analgesics and anti-pyretics (fever-reducers). Even in higher doses these medicines are not considered narcotics or addictive to the person taking them. Some of the over-the-counter versions include aspirin (Bayer aspirin and Johnson & Johnson Baby Aspirin), naproxen (Aleve and Midol), and ibuprofen (Motrin and Brufen).
NSAIDs are known to decrease kidney functions and can cause you to retain fluids. Both of these effects will create higher blood pressure. Be aware that other medicines like decongestants contain NSAIDs and the result will be the same, but in addition your heart rate will also rise. It is not recommended to use these drugs regularly just for the purpose of increasing your blood pressure, as they most likely will disturb other bodily functions in the long run.