- Who Is At Risk
- Diagnosis and Treatment
What is low blood pressure?
Blood pressure is the pressure of your blood as it flows through your arteries. It is measured in millimeters of mercury (mm Hg).
The lowest blood pressure considered normal is 90/60 mm Hg. The top number is called systolic pressure, which is measured when your heart beats. The second number is called diastolic pressure and is your blood pressure between heartbeats.
Many older adults live with some amount of hypotension without knowing it.
Medications and diets intended to treat high blood pressure can sometimes cause low blood pressure as a side effect.
Low blood pressure can also be caused by:
Who is at risk for low blood pressure?
Low blood pressure can happen to anyone at any age. There are several factors that can predispose some people to it more than others, including:
- Common medications for conditions like diabetes and Parkinson’s disease can cause low blood pressure as a side effect.
- Diuretics that reduce the body’s salt levels can cause low blood pressure as a side effect.
- Some older adults develop postprandial hypotension, a condition in which blood pressure suddenly drops about one or two hours after eating.
How is low blood pressure diagnosed and treated?
Foods as a treatment for low blood pressure
Lack of nutrition plays a large role in cases of low blood pressure.
Dehydration is one of the main causes of low blood pressure. Insufficient water levels actually reduce your blood volume. This reduction then lowers your blood pressure levels.
The caffeine in coffee is a stimulant. This means that it can raise your heart rate and blood pressure levels. Drinking coffee can be helpful in the short-term fix, but it isn’t a permanent solution. Most people develop a tolerance to caffeine over time.
Low levels of vitamin B12 can cause anemia and low blood pressure.
A single egg contains high amounts of folic acid and B12.
Like vitamin B12, folic acid is an important aid for raising low blood pressure levels.
Red meat is one of the most widely available sources of iron, which is needed for raising blood pressure levels.
Beef has one of the highest iron contents that you will find in food.
Although some doctors recommend avoiding red meat, someone with low blood pressure may actually benefit from adding more of it to their diet.
There are many other foods that will help increase your salt, vitamin B12, folic acid, and iron levels. These include:
- Cottage cheese
What are the risks of low blood pressure?
While many don’t notice low blood pressure, it can cause some potentially serious problems if left untreated. Blood pressure that drops too low can cause:
What’s the long-term outlook for low blood pressure?
Low blood pressure is manageable with treatment and close observation.
In addition to medication, your doctor will often recommend diet and lifestyle choices that can keep the condition under control.
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Manhattan Cardiology: “What to Eat to Help Raise Low Blood Pressure.”
Mayo Clinic: “Low blood pressure (hypotension).”
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute: “Low Blood Pressure.”
St. Clair Hospital: “Low Blood Pressure (Hypotension).”
USDA: “Beef, Ground, 85% Lean Meat / 15% Fat, Loaf, Cooked, Baked.”
USDA: “Beef, Variety Meats and By-products, Liver, Cooked, Braised.”
USDA: “Egg, Whole, Cooked, Hard-boiled.”