Low blood pressure

Hypotension

Low blood pressure is a common cause of lightheadedness and dizziness, particularly when standing up too quickly

About hypotension

Normal blood pressure is between 90/60mmHg and 120/80mmHg. If your blood pressure reading is lower, it might be because you're very fit. If that's the case, you'll have no unpleasant symptoms. However, if you have frequent fainting spells, feel weak or get dizzy when you stand up (postural hypotension), it might mean your blood pressure is too low. 

Need to know

  • What are the symptoms and causes of low blood pressure? icon plus

    If your blood pressure is lower than normal, you may not have any symptoms. However, hypotension can be a problem if it causes symptoms like:

    • fainting (syncope)
    • nausea dizziness or lightheadedness
    • blurred or tunnel vision feeling weak

    You may have symptoms if you stand for too long or stand up too quickly. Low blood pressure can also be related to pregnancy, dehydration, vitamin deficiency or diabetes. A sudden or severe drop in blood pressure can lead to shock, which can be a life-threatening condition.

    Seek emergency medical care if you or someone you know experience: fast, shallow breathing a weak pulse pale, cold and clammy skin

  • Diagnosing low blood pressure icon plus

    Your blood pressure is usually taken as part of a routine health check. Your consultant or GP may also recommend 24-hour blood pressure monitoring, also known as ambulatory blood pressure monitoring, to monitor if and how your blood pressure fluctuates throughout the day.

    Ambulatory blood pressure monitoring can also be a good alternative if being in a hospital environment affects your blood pressure. If your blood pressure reading is below 90/60mmHg, it's considered low. Your GP, consultant, or nurse will explain your reading to you. If you've been fainting or feeling dizzy when standing, you may also have a tilt-table test.

  • Potential treatment options icon plus

    Treatment for low blood pressure will depend on your symptoms, overall health or any underlying cause. Your GP or consultant will talk to you about your condition and explain the best approach for you.

    They may suggest changes to your existing medication if this is likely to be contributing to your low blood pressure. Eating small, healthy meals frequently throughout the day and staying well hydrated may also help. Compression stockings may also help to improve your circulation and blood pressure.

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This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.
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