Low blood pressure is an abnormal condition
where a person's blood pressure (the pressure of the blood against
the walls of the blood vessels during and after each beat of the
heart) is much lower than usual, which can cause symptoms such as
dizziness or lightheadedness.
When the blood pressure is too low, there is inadequate blood
flow to the heart, brain, and other vital organs.
A blood pressure level that is borderline low for one person may
be normal for another. The most important factor is how the blood
pressure changes from the normal condition. Most normal blood pressures
fall in the range of 90/60 mm Hg to 130/80 mm Hg, but a significant
change, even as little as 20 mm Hg, can cause problems for some
Causes of Low Blood Pressure or Hypotension
Conditions that reduce the volume of blood, reduce cardiac output
(the amount of blood pumped by the heart), and medications are frequent
causes of low blood pressure.
Causes of low blood pressure due to low blood volume
• Dehydration is common among patients
with diarrhea who lose large amounts of water in their stool, particularly
when drowsiness limits their drinking of fluids or is associated
with nausea and vomiting. Dehydration also can occur with prolonged
vomiting of any cause because of the loss of water in the vomitus.
Other causes of dehydration include exercise, sweating, fever, and
heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Individuals with mild dehydration
may experience only thirst and dry mouth. Moderate to severe dehydration
may cause orthostatic hypotension (manifest by light-headedness,
dizziness or fainting upon standing). Protracted and severe dehydration
can lead to shock, kidney failure, confusion, acidosis (too much
acid in the blood), coma, and even death. For more, please read
the Dehydration article.
• Moderate or severe bleeding can quickly
deplete an individual’s body of blood, leading to low blood
pressure or orthostatic hypotension.
• Severe inflammation of organs inside
the body such as acute pancreatitis can cause low blood pressure.
In acute pancreatitis, fluid leaves the blood to enter the inflamed
tissues around the pancreas as well as the abdominal cavity, depleting
the volume of blood.
Causes of low blood pressure due to heart disease
• Weakened heart muscle can cause the heart
to fail and reduce the amount of blood it pumps. One common cause
of weakened heart muscle is the death of a large portion of the
heart’s muscle due to a single, large heart attack
or repeated smaller heart attacks. Other examples of conditions
that can weaken the heart include medications that are toxic to
the heart, infections of the muscle of the heart by viruses (myocarditis),
and diseases of the heart’s valves such as aortic stenosis.
• Pericarditis is an inflammation of the
pericardium (the sac surrounding the heart). Pericarditis can cause
fluid to accumulate within the pericardium and around the heart,
restricting the ability of the heart to pump blood.
• Pulmonary embolism is a condition in
which a blood clot in a vein (a condition called deep vein thrombosis)
breaks off and travels to the heart and eventually the lung. A large
blood clot can block the flow of blood into the left ventricle from
the lungs and severely diminish the ability of the heart to pump
• A slow heart rate (bradycardia) can decrease
the amount of blood pumped by the heart. The resting heart rate
for a healthy adult is between 60 and 100 beats/minute. Bradycardia
(resting heart rates slower than 60 beats/minute) does not always
cause low blood pressure. But in many patients bradycardia can lead
to low blood pressure, light-headedness, dizziness, and even fainting.
One example of bradycardia, sick sinus syndrome,
occurs common in the elderly. This syndrome is due to degeneration
of the sinus node (SA node), an area in the heart that generates
electrical signals that cause the heart to beat regularly. In the
sick sinus syndrome, the diseased SA node cannot generate signals
fast enough to maintain a normal heart rate. Another condition that
causes bradycardia is heart block. Electrical signals
from the SA node must travel to the rest of the heart’s muscle
to cause the heart to contract and pump blood. Normally these electrical
signals are transmitted along special tissues in the heart. Heart
block occurs when these specialized tissues are damaged by heart
attacks, degeneration that occurs with aging, and medications. Heart
block prevents some or all of the electrical signals generated by
the SA node from reaching the rest of the heart, and this prevents
the heart from contracting as rapidly as it otherwise would.
• An abnormally fast heart rate (tachycardia)
also can cause low blood pressure. The most common example of tachycardia
causing low blood pressure is atrial fibrillation.
Atrial fibrillation is a disorder of the heart characterized by
rapid and irregular electrical discharges from the muscle of the
heart (instead of the SA node), causing the ventricles to contract
irregularly and (usually) rapidly. The rapidly contracting ventricles
do not have enough time to fill maximally with blood before the
each contraction, and the amount of blood that is pumped decreases,
in spite of the faster heart rate.
Medications that cause low blood pressure
• Medications such as calcium channel blockers, beta blockers,
and digoxin (Lanoxin) can slow the rate at which the heart contracts.
• Medications used in treating high blood pressure (such
as ACE inhibitors, angiotensin receptor blockers, beta-blockers,
calcium channel blockers, and alpha-blockers) can excessively lower
blood pressure and result in symptomatic low blood pressure especially
among the elderly.
• Diuretics (water pills) such as furosemide (Lasix) can
decrease blood volume by causing excessive urination.
• Medications used for treating depression, such as amitriptyline
(Elavil), Parkinson’s disease, such as levodopa-carbidopa
(Sinemet), erectile dysfunction (impotence), such as sildenafil
(Viagra) when used in combination with nitroglycerine, can cause
low blood pressure
• Alcohol and narcotics also can cause low blood pressure.
Other condition s that cause low blood pressure
• Vasovagal reaction is a common condition
in which a healthy person temporarily develops low blood pressure,
slow heart rate, and sometimes fainting. A vasovagal reaction typically
is brought on by emotions of fear or pain such as having blood drawn
or starting an intravenous infusion.
• Postural (orthostatic) hypotension, as
discussed previously, is a sudden drop in blood pressure when an
individual stands up from a sitting, squatting, or supine (lying)
position. When a person stands up, gravity causes blood to settle
in the veins in the legs, hence less blood reaches the heart for
pumping, and, as a result, the blood pressure drops.
• Another form of postural hypotension occurs typically
in young healthy individuals. After prolonged standing, the individual’s
heart rate and blood pressure drops, causing dizziness, nausea and
often fainting. In these individuals, the autonomic nervous system
wrongly responds to prolonged standing by directing the heart to
slow down and the veins to dilate.
• Micturition syncope is a temporary drop
in blood pressure and loss of consciousness brought about by urinating.
This condition typically occurs in elderly patients and may be due
to the release by the autonomic nerves of hormones that lower blood
• Adrenal insufficiency, for example, due
to Addison’s disease, can cause low blood
• Septicemia is a severe infection in which
bacteria (or other infectious organisms such as fungi) enter the
blood. The infection typically originates in the lungs (as pneumonia),
bladder, or in the abdomen due to diverticulitis or gallstones.
The bacteria then enter the blood where they release toxins and
cause life-threatening and profound low blood pressure (septic shock),
often with damage to several organs.
• Anaphylaxis (anaphylactic shock) is a
potentially fatal allergic reaction to medications such as penicillin,
intravenous iodine used in some x-ray studies, foods such as peanuts,
or bee stings. In addition to a profound drop in blood pressure,
individuals may also experience hives, wheezing, and a swollen throat
with difficulty breathing.
Symptoms of Hypotension, Low Blood Pressure
When blood pressure is too low, the first organ to malfunction
is usually the brain because it is located at the top of the body
and blood has to fight gravity to reach the brain. Consequently,
most people with low blood pressure feel dizzy or light-headed
when they stand, and some may even faint. However, if blood
pressure is low enough, brain damage can still occur.
Low blood pressure occasionally causes shortness of breath
or chest pain due to an inadequate blood supply
to the heart muscle (angina). All organs begin to malfunction if
blood pressure becomes sufficiently low and remains low; this condition
is called shock (see Shock).
Some symptoms occur when the body's compensatory mechanisms try
to increase blood pressure that is low. For example, when arterioles
constrict, blood flow to the skin, feet, and hands decreases. These
areas may become cold and turn blue. When the heart
beats more quickly and more forcefully, a person may feel palpitations
(awareness of heartbeats).
Treatment of Low Blood Pressure, Hypotension
Low blood pressure in healthy subjects without symptoms or organ
damage needs no treatment. All patients with symptoms possibly due
to low blood pressure should be evaluated by a doctor. The doctor
needs to identify the cause of the low blood pressure since treatment
will depend on the cause.
• Dehydration is treated with fluids and
minerals (electrolytes). Mild dehydration without nausea and vomiting
can be treated with oral fluids and electrolytes. Moderate to severe
dehydration usually is treated with intravenous fluids and electrolytes.
• Blood loss can be treated with intravenous
fluids and blood transfusions. If bleeding is continuing, it needs
to be treated as well.
• Septicemia is treated with intravenous
fluids and antibiotics or other medicines.
• Blood pressure medications or diuretics are adjusted,
changed, or stopped by the doctor if they are causing low blood
• Bradycardia may be due to a medication.
The doctor may reduce, change or stop the medication. Bradycardia
due to sick sinus syndrome or heart block is treated with an implantable
• Tachycardia is treated depending on the
nature of the tachycardia. Atrial fibrillation can be treated with
oral medications, electrical cardioversion, or a catheterization
procedure called pulmonary vein isolation. Ventricular tachycardia
can be controlled with medications or with an implantable defibrillator.
• Pulmonary embolism and deep vein thrombosis is treated
with blood thinners, intravenous heparin initially and oral warfarin
• Pericardial fluid can be removed by a procedure called
• Postural hypotension can be treated by
increasing water and salt intake, using compression stockings to
compress the leg veins and reduce the pooling of blood in the veins.
Increasing salt intake can lead to heart failure in patients with
existing heart disease and should not be undertaken without consulting
Homeopathic Remedies & Homeopathy Treatment for Hypotension, Low Blood Pressure
Homeopathy can not just give symptomatic relief in cases of hypotension
but can also address many root causes of low blood pressure like
Bradychardia, Tachycardia, Pericarditis, Schock, Speticiemia, Vasovagal
attack, inflammation etc.
The most commonly indicated homeopathic medicines in low blood
Carbo-veg, Phos, Sepia, Thyroidinum, Baryta-mur, Aconite, Aranea,
Cactus, Curare, Gelsemium, Halo, Histamine, Lachesis, Lyco, Naja,
Rauwolfia, Reserprine, Visc., Radium, Theridion, Oleander, Laurocrasis,
Acid flour, Adrenalin, Ars alb, Aurum mur, Bartya carb, Bryonia,
Crataegus China, Conium, Ferrum met, lycopus, Nat mur, Pulsatilla.
Homeopathy treats the person
as a whole. It means that homeopathic treatment focuses on the patient
as a person, as well as his pathological condition. The homeopathic
medicines are selected after a full individualizing examination
and case-analysis, which includes the medical history of the patient,
physical and mental constitution etc.