High Blood Pressure

Low Blood Pressure Dangers – Media Coverage Ignores Health Risk

Date: 4 April, 2009

‘The lower your blood pressure, the better off you are.’

That is a quote by Dr. Ramachandran S. Vasan of the Boston University School of Medicine, in an Associated Press (AP) story that I came across while catching up on some research this weekend. It’s the type of ‘one-step-too-far’ statement we see all too often in health care. And not only is this statement untrue, but it’s also potentially lethal to those who are unfortunate enough to believe it.

The quote appeared as part of a story on the most recent findings of the Framingham Heart Study. This landmark study has followed generations of suburban Bostonians for more than 50 years, and has brought us many important discoveries about heart health. But the media coverage of this one, which assesses the relative risks of borderline-high blood pressure, is misleading the public in a dangerous way.

We all know that high blood pressure is a serious risk to our heart health, which is defined as anything above 140/90 mm Hg (or millimetres of mercury, the unit of measurement a blood pressure cuff uses to assess your pressure.) High-normal blood pressure is between 130/85 and 139/89. The main finding of this study is that people in the high-normal range are two to three times more likely to suffer a heart attack, stroke, or heart failure than those with blood pressure readings below 120/80.

A resting blood pressure reading of 120/80 millimetres of mercury (mm Hg) is within the normal range.

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Low Blood Pressure Can Have Deadly Consequences

Low blood pressure doesn’t make you feel healthy – it makes you feel weak, tired, and light-headed. You may experience fainting spells, heart palpitations, and excessive sweating. When blood pressure remains too low for extended periods, it can cause damage to the liver, heart, and other organs. It can even cause death.

As with most health issues, the key lies in determining the root cause. The most common cause of low blood pressure is overly aggressive use of hypertension medications (more on that in a moment). But it can also be caused by several other underlying conditions. Low blood pressure (medically known as hypotension) can be a sign of an adrenal insufficiency, high levels of acid in the blood, serious blood infections like sepsis, low levels of oxygen in the blood due to asthma or pneumonia, and nervous system conditions like diabetic neuropathy. Heart conditions like arrhythmias, congestive heart failure, and cardiac tamponade (the build-up of fluid around the heart) can also cause low blood pressure.

Most people have no idea that their low blood pressure could be a signal of one of these potentially life-threatening conditions. And most doctors don’t think to tell them. This study is indicative of the prevailing attitude – while it provides specific ranges to define high, high-normal, and normal blood pressure levels, the ‘optimal’ level is defined as anything under 120/80. Let’s think about that for one second: If 20 points over is dangerous, how could any amount under be safe?

Low Blood Pressure – So How Low Is Too Low?

Part of the problem is that acceptable blood pressure levels can vary from person to person. In general, 90/60 is considered the bottom threshold for healthy blood pressure. Anything lower than that is in dangerous territory. But safe levels can vary – and sudden drops in blood pressure, even within the ‘optimal’ range, can signal problems. Some authorities recommend investigating any fall of 30 points or more for probable causes.

Which brings me back to the drug issue. Remember that anti-hypertensive drugs cause most cases of low blood pressure. The AP story reports that the results of this study might lead doctors to LOWER the threshold for treating blood pressure with medications. Following this advice, pharmaceutical companies will broaden their markets – and even more people will be at risk for dangerously low blood pressure and its potentially damaging results.

Low Blood Pressure – Keep Your Blood Pressure Within A Safe Range Naturally

I don’t mean to minimise the useful finding in this study – namely, that people in the high-normal blood pressure range are still at an increased risk for heart attack and stroke. If you fall in that range, you should consider different approaches to bringing your blood pressure down within the optimal range. Remember that many people are able to lower their blood pressure by watching their eating habits and exercising.

But if you need a little extra help, there are many natural therapies you can try. One of the most effective we’ve found is the Ayurvedic herb, arjuna. In animal studies, arjuna has been proven to reverse artherosclerosis, the build-up of cholesterol plaques that can cause high blood pressure. In human trials, it’s shown effectiveness in relieving angina and reducing blood pressure.

But whatever approach you choose, remember that there IS such a thing as TOO LOW. Even if your level is currently normal, you should remember to keep an eye out for sudden drops or abnormally low levels.

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Comments

  1. P.Mc (East coast USA) Posted August 16, 2014

    Low heart rate 60/40. Drs said no treatment, basically sent me home to die. If you’re told this, Don’t believe them! If your body is low on pantotheonic acid, it will cause your kidneys to stop holding salt. The human body can not function with no salt. Caffeine will raise your heart rate, drink a strong cup of coffee with a shake or two of salt sprinkled in. Get a really good multivitamin/mineral supplement. Ck labels! Take 2 per day, like 7am and 7pm. Vitamins A,B6,B12,C,D,E,K,Magnesium, and Selenium need to be at 100%. Getting the levels up will not happen overnite, so get started. One enteric coated aspirin 325mg per day with food. Works as vasodialator, as well as preventing blood clots. A simple blood thinner will not do this. Drink a good old regular Coca-Cola. (Just give it a few minutes, you’ll see what it does.) Get your protein levels up! 40g is the very least amount daily you need to keep muscles from wasting. Your heart is a muscle. Stop ignoring it. Couple of extras: 1 tsp of cinnamon a day will level out blood sugar, I add it to a morning cup of coffee with Stevia and creamer. (Stevia levels blood sugar as well.) Onion powder, and garlic are great for your heart. Ck your spice rack. (And don’t be stingy using them.) 1000mg odorless garlic 3x daily works better than metformin for diabetes. Tested and proven in 10 year study. I am proof. Pay it forward, pass it on.

  2. Catherine Matthew Posted March 21, 2014

    This morning at 8am I felt real bad, so took my blood pressure, it was 106/34, so I have been resting most of the day. It is now 100/55, at 1pm. I am still not feeling very good. What should I do and what causes this. By the way I am 72 and otherwise reasonably fit and healthy.

    • Editor Posted April 8, 2014

      Hi Catherine,

      With such fluctuating levels it may be a good idea to check in with a doctor who are skilled in natural and alternative medicine.

  3. lulu Posted March 11, 2013

    What does it mean when your BP is low 94/60 but you’re heart rate is 110? Is this something I should worry about?

  4. Kelley Posted January 16, 2013

    Yesterday my blood pressure was 115/45, today it is 95/45. Feel awful and this is normal everyday. Doctors keep telling me I’m lucky. This is not lucky!!

  5. charlene Posted January 14, 2013

    My dad suffered from low blood pressure, my mom took care of him at home for he had other health problems as well. The nurses that came out with Hospice encouraged her to give him gator aid when his blood pressure (BP) got to low and sure enough it would bring it up to where it needed to be. My Aunt now uses this trick when her (BP) gets low. Hope this information helps someone out. Keep in mind either to high or to low of a (BP) can be dangerous and lead to many problems, if not sure and are having problems it never hurts to consult a physician of your concerns, there are no silly questions when it comes to your health.

  6. barbara Posted May 19, 2012

    I am not a nurse nor am I in the medical profession, but I have a very close friend who is. She told me they have lost patients to cardiac arrest with blood pressures at 60/40. I had an allergic reaction and my bp was 53/20. She said it was a miracle I was alive. My normal bp runs low. I don’t know for sure, but if salt raises bp (those with high bp are counseled to avoid salt), then perhaps adding more salt to the diet would help? Not sure though.

  7. kayla Posted April 19, 2012

    I’m only 15 and I am really active and today during tumbling I was super dizzy & passed out … My mom took me home & took my blood pressure , it was at 52 . I haven’t been diagnosed with anythig cause these episodes just started . But I’m scared . Does anyone think I should be worried ? Please give me your oppinion on what I should do..? Thanks !

  8. six_nine Posted March 22, 2012

    I wake up early every morning with a low bp. It ranges from 94/59-106/61. I am always tired, weak and fatigue. My bp has always been high I was on meds for it but not any longer. My rt eye hurts from pressure. Continuous headache. I am so stressed about this whole ordeal. Doctors are not helping. Is there anyone out there with suggestions?

  9. samigirl90 Posted February 5, 2012

    Im 21 and my blood pressure was 76/53. My doctor said it was low but how do I bring it back up? Im an asthma sufferer so I dont know if this is good or bad?? Any ideas?

  10. laurenne90 Posted December 29, 2011

    im 28 weeks pregnant and feeling very faint, dizzy, thirsty and breathless my bp is at 85/50 and my midwife said this is normal?? others are telling me its not???

  11. nicki Posted January 15, 2011

    I have had low blood pressure all my life and been told it is wonderful. I know that it means I have no stamina and sometime get dizzy when suddenly standing, but apparently this is still better than it being high. A couple of years ago somebody suggested more salt, I love salt and to be allowed to take more without the usual health scares is great and my life has improved.

  12. Cindy Lu Posted December 8, 2010

    Had been feeling dizzy & falling since July. Dr. put me on diuretic for symptoms now my bp is low 100/70 & causing my symptoms to worsen! I cut it down to half & still feeling bad! Will this craziness ever go away? Dizziness, nausea, blacking out? I had 7 brain surgeries in the past 10 years & I’m tired! I want it to END!

  13. unus Posted October 13, 2010

    My wife had high BP problem before. But recently she has low BP ,101-50, and some time feel headache and weakness.
    Is it in danger level. she is 29 years old and mother of 2 children

  14. Marili Posted October 5, 2010

    I feel dizzy a lot of the time. When I get up from sitting, the room turns black and I have to hold on to something not to fall over. Yesterday a nurse at the school took my bp and it was 70/50. She looked worried. Should I be worried too? I am 24 years old and my husband and I are trying to have a baby. Will this get worse? I have always had low bp, but this is affecting my life. What can I do?

  15. sally Posted September 15, 2010

    Very informative… Thank you!

  16. Beverly Posted August 21, 2010

    Felt really sick to the stomach, headache and near passing out… found that my blood pressure was 88/54. this just sounds dangerously low. My doc says it’s ok, I don’t think so. She has me on a hypertention med to help protect my kidneys, due to the fact that I am diabetic.

  17. melanie Posted May 23, 2010

    Since my baby was born 8 months ago i have had lots of palpitations, they hurt when they happen and make me feel sick and dizzy. about a month ago i started getting severe pain down my left arm it hurt so bad i couldnt move for that moment and then it would be followed with palpitations but then went away. i get the sweats for no reason it seems and dizzy spells that get so bad everything goes almost black and i almost fall down. this month 3 days before my period i got extreamly tired for 3 days, then i got some energy back but then i started palpitations again, i felt so sick that day and my chest was so uncomfortable that i decided to check my blood pressure at one of those machines in the shoppers drug mart, it said i was 112/66, thats dosent seen bad, so why do i feel so sick? can this be too low for me?, if hight and size make a different i’m deffinently not short or light, i’m 165 pounds and 5’8′ or 5’9′ ish.

  18. Zoe Posted May 14, 2010

    My head feel very light, because i have low blood pressure, what can i take for it

  19. NiL Posted April 29, 2010

    You can increase blood pressure by drinking more water and adding more salt to your diet

  20. Joan Dolan Posted April 2, 2010

    My daughter is a nutritionist and tells me that I can help my low blood pressure by eating liquorice – either as a sweet or as a tablet containing liquorice root. Haven’t tried it yet but might be worth a try!

  21. Anika Posted February 3, 2010

    Hi I am 34yrs. old amd I have been feeling extremly weak and lightheaded in the last few weeks. Yesterday morning my pressure read 100/70, then mid day it read 95/70.
    Is this normal or should I seek medical advise.

  22. Paul Posted October 12, 2009

    I have erratic BP, but more often than not, it’s on the high side. When I joined the gym I was not ‘allowed in’ as my BP was 157 over 149 even after BP meds. NOW I seem to veer between high/normal and low – I felt unwell and checked my BP which was 77 over 38, pulse 42. Any ideas what’s occurring ?

  23. Rick Posted September 29, 2009

    Hi, I am a diabetic and sometimes have to be admitted to hospital for various treatments. I have always found that if my BP is low they will not discharge me. To alter this I have always been told to drink copious amounts of water. Not saying it is any kind of cure but if you have a BP machine might be worth looking into.

  24. liam Posted September 18, 2009

    I’m confused by my blood pressure, the first number is in a health range at 104. But the other number gets as low as 24, is that bad because I’m only 16. Is this why I am tired a lot?

  25. J. T. Posted July 28, 2009

    I was taking my mom’s blood pressure when I decided to check mine… and it is always low like 9/49 10/58. My family thinks that it might be the reason why I am tired all the times and at night I am just exausted and can not do anything.
    Do I need to seek medical treatment or is it not that bad at my 23s?

  26. Phillip Posted July 24, 2009

    I have had to stop some of my medication and inform my doctor. My blood pressure was up in the 180/90 region but my medication made me feel ill when it dropped my reading down to 88/56 – and it was probably lower than this as this was after some walking. I ended up feeling faint, sick and thought I was going to collapse. Most unpleasant. I understand his reasons as I have massively swollen ankles but would advise anyone to get a blood pressure monitor and make sure they know their status.

  27. Beth Posted June 14, 2009

    I started having noticable low blood pressure about 2 years ago. I drive far distances and would doze off at the wheel when driving. After a bunch of blood tests we determined it was my blood pressure. It normally runs 80/60 which can’t be healthy. My doctor gave me a medicine to increase my blood pressure and it worked but due to it’s cost I quit taking it. I started drinking alot of coffee and eating salty foods. I still fall asleep almost everytime I sit down. Is this my blood pressure or something more serious?

  28. Barbara Posted June 4, 2009

    The systolic side of my blood pressure is always a little low (105-123) but the Diastolic is running between 45-61. Just a few minutes ago it was 123/45. I was in the E.R. this week having fainted and getting convulsions, back and forth The Dr. is trying to play this off on a sinus infection. Please….what is the potential danger here?

  29. Mahi Pantha Posted May 18, 2009

    Last night I was just sweating and my temperature was very high. After measuring with a digital pressure machine I’ve got 100/60. So, I thought it was low but according to this article it’s normal!

  30. Joyce Harris Posted May 17, 2009

    I have spells in which I get ‘waves’ of blurry vision and then I feel as if I may pass out. I take my blood persssure and it is, maybe 80 over 50. What can cause this. My doctor tells me to keep hard candy with me to eat when it happeans… Could it be my blood sugar dropping?

  31. Simon Posted April 25, 2009

    I think I have low blood pressure. I’m an athelete but whenever I stand up, my vision goes white. I’m only 16. What should I do ? .. My mm hg is usually 80-100+ / 50-60+. my pulse rate is usually at 50 – 60 ( I exercise quite alot so its normal .. I think… )

    Is there something wrong with me ?

  32. Betty Benner Posted April 21, 2009

    My blood pressure was 69/39 last night with heart rate of 39 and I was having labored breathing. How low is too low? I am 67 years old.

  33. David Stockdale Posted April 21, 2009

    I recently collapsed whilst on holiday in Australia. The Medic’s there said I had a heart block?? On return to U.K. my own G.P. checked everthing throughly & diagnosed a fainting attack due to very low blood pressure. After checking family records it appears to be heriditery. I very easily get migraines, especially if I watch too much T.V. or Computer work. I wake up most mornings groggy. I dislike being too warm in either the house or outside. Someone told me drinking lotts of water daily will help the situation. I am over 60 and retired. Is there a herbal remedy or
    something to releive some of these symptoms? How about raising the foot-end of my bed?

  34. susan Posted March 15, 2009

    i was diagnosed with m.e in 2001 ive got worse beter worse beter since ive always felt there wqas something else as i dont con form to normal m.e sufferers. i dont get better if i just rest, and it has a pattern, time of month etc. severe headache, numb hands, blurred vision, drunk feeling, acheing lower limbs left side only. worse when eat better when fresh air and walkking beter when lay flat. if goes on for days, then chest pain, confusion, dizzy, exhaustion, feeling of passing out, zombie like, not here. ive always had low bp even when pregnant, im now 49 had t.i.a 2001 no apparent cause (low bp?) went for well women check last week while on my period b.p seriosly low, explained all the symptoms i get ‘that week’ and following and that i no its not just m.e. we had a talk and it just clicked! been looking on internet and all my symptoms relate to low blood pressure, no one ever checks it even when i crawl into surgery after weeks of symptoms and at wit end feeling so ill, coz oh “its just your m.e”. but now i no its not and that i can get better, its awfull today i can hardly stand or see,!! help where do i go from here??

  35. liz Posted February 24, 2009

    I have been told by my Doctor that I have low Blood Pressure but not to worry about it. I have been having trouble with my eyes and a few times been unsteady when I get out of bed, and only two days ago fell when I got up. Please can anyone help with some advice?

    Liz

  36. Mrs Annabel Sims Posted February 18, 2009

    I have an average blood pressure of 106/61. I sometimes experience what seems like my heart skips a sudden beat. Is my blood pressure too low do you think?

  37. mark bonehill Posted December 23, 2008

    i had high blood pressure, and began taking fish oils, magnesium, vitamin.c potassium. my blood pressure dropped to 90/50. i smoke, and do no exercise. im 45, and ex alcoholic. beware of these suppliments if you want to “raise blood pressure”.

  38. lisa Posted October 28, 2008

    hi im 31 year 0ld, my blood pressure is always low i feel dizzy shakes headache. feel sick palpitations. it can get up to 110/80 only some times but the lowest it ever been is 65/56 i am scared there is somethng wrong with me and im goin to die i do get chest arms and shoulders pain alot of the time

  39. Lisa Posted October 6, 2008

    I have been told by GPs that there is no treatment available for low blood pressure. One told me there was nothing legal in this country and if there was it’d prolly give me a stroke. But I see mentions of treatment online. I’m scared. I’d rather risk a heart attack than go through the agony and humiliation I experience on an all too frequent basis.

  40. Ana Posted September 29, 2008

    I had several episodes of suden drop in blood pressure. Every time is getting lower (last time it was 40/30) and more difficult to come back fom it. What kind of doctor should I look for? What should people do to help me until I get to the hospital?

  41. louise Posted September 19, 2008

    my blood pressure at the moment is 35 over60 my temp also droped to 35 i have always had low pressure as long as i can rember even during my preg with my sons but the doc dont seem to be to worryed about it i have had a lot of op on my adomin

  42. Moraga Posted September 18, 2008

    Is there a quick fix for this drop in blood pressure until help arrives?

  43. BJay Posted September 9, 2008

    I started having high blood pressure in April like 158/99 when I awaken. It drops later in the day, sometimes before lunch, some afternoons to 100/59. I have a cardiologist, geriatrician, internist and get no help. I’m on norvasc at PM, cozaar 25 at AM. Not looking for underlying cause. Help! Also I do not sweat.

  44. Pamela Posted August 16, 2008

    My blood pressure is 85/50…I often experience light headedness and fatigue. My physician suggested more iron and has put me on the pill…I wonder if I should get a second opinion???

  45. danny Posted August 15, 2008

    the last time I checked my bloodpressure was 100/70 and Iam feeling dizzy.Could there be a serious problem?Please advise.

  46. Harlan Posted August 14, 2008

    I wound up in the hospital over the weekend because I passed out three times apparently due to low blood pressure. During my time in emergency it dropped to as low as 83/42. Consequently I am now off the blood pressure study medication I had been taking. I truly don’t want to experience this again.

  47. Jacquie Posted July 31, 2008

    I took my Grandson to ER last night because he broke out in hives. His blood pressure was dropping rapidly. It went as low as 108/32. When we got to ER the doctor said that was a normal blood pressure for a 20 year old when relaxing. He was light headed and sick. The ER doctor sent him home without even checking out his hives. Is this something that should be reported to the hospital?

  48. carol Posted July 26, 2008

    I have low blood pressure, and the only way they told me I can fix it is to go on a water pill that does not contain the ingredient for high blood pressure, but water pills make me lose potassium. I can’t take those, they make me very sick, they now have me on a water pill with the ingredient for high blood pressure, but I only take it every other day. so far it has not helped. I don’t know what to even ask the doctor. Any addvice is helpful. Thanks

  49. Sandy Posted July 18, 2008

    Hi,
    My pressure is always low, always under 90. Last week it was 62/40. My doctor says it’s low because I’m small.. I weigh in the low 90s, I’m 47 with a complicated medical history. Some of my meds affect the liver, should I get more aggressive with my doctor regarding this?
    Thanks

  50. patricia diggle Posted May 17, 2008

    husband has kidney disease. during the day blood pressure is too low and around 9 pm it starts going up too high (170/105) varies high until around 3 am. We are at a lost to find help for controlling his either too high and too low everyday for the last 4 years

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