Low Blood Pressure
Blood pressure is defined as the pressure of the flowing blood exerted on the walls of blood vessels. It is mainly due to work done by the heart in pumping the blood for circulation. Blood pressure along with body temperature, pulse rate, and respiration rate is called the vital signs of the body and are measurements of the most basic functions of the body.
This pressure that ushers the blood to flow throughout the circulatory system is vital or else no oxygen or nutrients would be carried to the tissues and organs of the body. Blood pressure is obtained through an instrument called a sphygmomanometer. The result of blood pressure measurement is shown as two numbers. Higher or the first of the two is called systolic pressure. It is the measurement of the pressure in the arteries when the heart beats and fills these arteries with blood. The lower or the second number is called the diastolic pressure. It measures the pressure in the arteries when the heart rests between beats.
The optimal blood pressure level is considered as 120/80mmHg (systolic/diastolic). Readings over 120/80 mmHg and up to 139/89mmHg are considered as normal to high range. Low blood pressure is medically known as hypotension. It occurs when the systolic/diastolic pressure is less than 90/60mmHg.
Causes of low blood pressure
At times the cause of low blood pressure is not clear. However, it may be due to the following reasons:
- Hormonal problems such as hypothyroidism where the thyroid gland is underactive, diabetes or hypoglycemia (low blood sugar).
- Certain over the counter medications and prescription medications such as those for high blood pressure, depression, Parkinson’s disease, etc.
- Heart failure
- Heart arrhythmias (abnormal heart rhythms)
- Widening or dilation of the blood vessels.
- Heat exhaustion or heat stroke
- Liver disease
Causes of a sudden drop in blood pressure which can be life-threatening includes:
- Loss of blood from bleeding
- Low body temperature
- High body temperature
- Heart muscle disease causing heart failure
- Sepsis or severe blood infection
- Severe dehydration from vomiting, diarrhea or fever
- Anaphylaxis or severe allergic reaction that causes an irregular heartbeat
- Postural hypotension or low blood pressure when standing up suddenly. It can, in turn, happen due to a variety of reasons such as dehydration, lack of food, or being overtired.
Symptoms of low blood pressure
- Dimming or blurring of vision
- Cold, clammy skin
- Pale skin
General management of low blood pressure
Prolonged low blood pressure without any symptoms is rarely serious. Depending on the cause, low blood pressure can be effectively treated with changes in diet and lifestyle. These include the following:
- Diet with higher salt content
- Plenty of nonalcoholic fluids
- Limit alcoholic drinks
- Plenty of fluids during hot weather and sickness with a viral infection such as cold or flu
- Regulating the intake of prescription and over the counter medications if they happen to tone the cause of low blood pressure
- Regular exercise to promote regular blood flow
- Sleeping with the head of the bed elevated
- Avoid heavy weight lifting
- Avoid straining while on the toilet
- Avoid standing still at one place for an extended period
- Avoid prolonged exposure to hot water as in hot showers and spas.
- To avoid low blood pressure after meals -eat frequent but small meals, cut on the intake of carbohydrates, rest after eating and avoid taking medications to lower blood pressure before meals.
- In some cases, compression stockings can be used that cover the calf and thighs. This helps to restrict the flow of blood to the legs, thus keeping more blood in the upper part of the body.
- Careful rising from sitting or lying down posture. Pump your feet and ankle a few times before standing up and then proceed slowly. While getting out of bed, sitting upright on the edge of the bed for a few minutes before standing is advised.
Homeopathic treatment of low blood pressure
A sudden drop in blood pressure can cause significant health problems as the heart and the brain will not get enough oxygen to carry out their normal function causing difficulty in breathing. It may also further lead to an increase in the frequency of symptoms such as falling or passing out. To avoid such complication, it is essential to take timely treatment for low blood pressure.
Homeopathy provides best solution for the treatment of low blood pressure without any side effects.
Commonly indicated homeopathic medicines for low blood pressure are:-
Gelsemium- It is indicated when low blood pressure is accompanied by extreme vertigo.
Vertigo spreads from the occiput with diplopia, loss of sight and the person may feel intoxicated when trying to move. Complete relaxation of the muscular system with motor paralysis is indicated.
Viscum Album- Indicated when low blood pressure is due to dilated blood vessels and valvular heart disease. The pulse is slow due to irritation of the vagus.
Glonoine – It is indicated when blood pressure unexpectedly falls due to prolonged exposure to the sun or heat of the stove. There is a severe throbbing headache which compels the patient to hold the head with both hands. The patient cannot lie down as the pillow would beat.
Natrum Muriaticum- It is indicated when low blood pressure is due to prolonged sun exposure. Low blood pressure patient requiring this medicine has the desire for salt, good thirst, excessive sweat and aversion to being consoled when in distress. There may be a history of grief and resentment as a cause that eventually led to blood pressure changes in the body.
Cinchona Officinalis – It is indicated when low blood pressure is due to loss of fluids due to diarrhea, dehydration and substantial blood loss. Such a patient has a craving for sour things.
Carbo Vegetabilis- It is indicated when low blood pressure is due to loss of fluids. Such a patient has oppressed and quickened respiration and must have fresh air, must be fanned hard, and must have all the windows open.