Yes, a diastolic blood pressure reading of 50 mm Hg is too low. Normal blood pressure is 120/80 mm Hg, and once your diastolic number goes below 60 mm Hg, it can make you dizzy or lightheaded. This is especially problematic in older people if their bones are brittle, as a fall could result in fractures.
During the diastole phase when your heart relaxes after a contraction, your heart fills with blood via your coronary arteries. Low diastolic pressure means your heart is lacking adequate blood supply and oxygen, a condition called ischemia. If you consistently have low diastolic pressure, you may develop chronic ischemia, which can weaken your heart over time and lead to heart attack, heart failure, or other heart conditions.
What causes low blood pressure?
- Pregnancy: Due to fluctuating hormone levels and changes in blood circulation, your blood pressure is more likely to drop during pregnancy. This is normal, and your blood pressure will likely return to its usual levels after delivery.
- Heart problems:
- Endocrine disorders:
- Addison’s disease or adrenal insufficiency (a disorder of the adrenal glands in which they produce less of their hormones)
- Multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1 (an inherited condition characterized by tumors on multiple glands, such as the parathyroid, pituitary, thyroid, and pancreas)
- Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)
- Diabetes (only in some cases)
- Dehydration: Dehydration can lower blood pressure levels may be caused by:
- Bleeding: Blood loss from external or internal injuries can cause a drop in blood pressure, which can lead to hypovolemic shock.
- Septicemia: When an infection becomes severe enough that it enters the bloodstream, it can cause a dangerous drop in blood pressure and result in organ damage.
- Anaphylaxis: Anaphylaxis, which is a severe, life-threatening allergic reaction that may occur upon exposure to certain foods, medications, poisonous plants, insect bites, and latex, can cause low blood pressure.
- Anemia: Anemia is characterized by low levels of hemoglobin, most commonly due to a low number of red blood cells (RBCs). The condition may develop due to a lack of vitamins and minerals (vitamin B-12, folate, and iron) and lead to low blood pressure.
- Alpha blockers, such as Minipress (prazosin)
- Beta-blockers, such as Tenormin (atenolol)
- Diuretics, such as Lasix (furosemide)
- Antidepressants, such as Silenor (doxepin)
- Drugs for Parkinson's disease, such as Mirapex (pramipexole)
- Drugs for erectile dysfunction, such as Viagra (sildenafil)
- Aside from medical conditions, other factors can lead to slight variations in blood pressure, which are quite normal:
- Body position: Your blood pressure is lower when you’re lying down than when you’re standing up.
- Time of day: Your blood pressure is usually lowest at night and rises significantly in the morning upon waking.
- Breathing pattern or rhythm: Taking slow, deep breaths lowers blood pressure.
- Stress level: Stress causes a temporary spike in blood pressure.
- Diet: Eating and drinking less can lead to a lack of fluids and salts, which can lower blood pressure.