Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Low Blood Pressure Overview

Another name for Low Blood Pressure is Hypotension.

What is hypotension?
A person with hypotension has abnormally low blood pressure. The first number of the blood pressure reading represents the pressure in the arteries when the heart pushes blood into the arteries: this is called the systolic pressure. The diagnosis of low blood pressure includes a systolic blood pressure that is less than 90. In a person with high blood pressure, hypotension may be present when the systolic blood pressure is much lower than usual. Common causes of hypotension include dehydration, a drug side effect, or postural hypotension. Hypotension may also occur in a person who has a life threatening condition, such as a heart attack.

What are the symptoms of hypotension?
Symptoms of hypotension may include dizziness, lightheadedness, fainting, fatigue, weakness, breathing difficulty, palpitations, and chest pain.

How does the doctor treat hypotension?
The treatment for hypotension depends upon the underlying cause. Treatment for hypotension may include oral fluids, intravenous fluids, support stockings, a change in medication, or a change in medication dosing.

Continue to Low Blood Pressure Symptoms

Last Updated: Aug 19, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Low Blood Pressure References
  1. Duschek S, Schandry R. Cognitive performance and cerebral blood flow in essential hypotension. Psychophysiology. 2004 Nov;41(6):905-13. [15563343]
  2. Jones AE, Aborn LS, Kline JA. Severity of emergency department hypotension predicts adverse hospital outcome. Shock. 2004 Nov;22(5):410-4. [15489632]
  3. Schrezenmaier C, Gehrking JA, Hines SM, Low PA, Benrud-Larson LM, Sandroni P. Evaluation of orthostatic hypotension: relationship of a new self-report instrument to laboratory-based measures. Mayo Clin Proc. 2005 Mar;80(3):330-4. [15757013]
  4. Sclater A, Alagiakrishnan K. Orthostatic hypotension. A primary care primer for assessment and treatment. Geriatrics. 2004 Aug;59(8):22-7. [15332413]
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