Blood pressure is recorded with two numbers – the systolic pressure (the higher number) and the diastolic pressure (the lower number).
The systolic pressure is the force at which your heart pumps blood around your body, whereas the diastolic pressure is the resistance to the blood flow in the blood vessels.
Low blood pressure, known as hypotension, is a reading of 90/60mmHg or less.
But is low blood pressure something to be worried about and is it easy to fix it?
The NHS advises to get your blood pressure checked if you keep experiencing these symptoms:
- Lightheadedness or dizziness
- Feeling sick
- Blurred vision
- Generally feeling weak
What causes low blood pressure?
The cause of low blood pressure isn’t always clear, but Boots WebMD says it may be associated with the following:
- Hormonal problems – such as an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism), overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism), diabetes and low blood sugar (hypoglycaemia)
- Over-the-counter medication
- Overdose of high blood pressure medication
- Heart failure
- Heart arrhythmias (abnormal heart rhythms)
- Widening (dilation) of the blood vessels
- Heat exhaustion or heat stroke
- Liver disease
If you get symptoms when you stand up or suddenly change position you may have postural hypotension.
If you have low blood pressure and keep getting symptoms such as dizziness, see your GP.
How to fix it
Treatments for low blood pressure depend on the cause, but the NHS says your GP may recommend treatment to ease symptoms such as:
- Change medication or alter your dose, if medication is the cause
- Wearing support stockings – this can improve circulation and increase blood pressure
While medication can be used to treat low blood pressure, this is actually rarely needed because simple lifestyle measures or treating the underlying cause is usually effective.
The health body says there are ways to ease low blood pressure symptoms yourself:
- Get up slowly from sitting to standing
- Take care when getting out of bed – move slowly from lying to sitting to standing
- Raise the head of your bed by about 15cm with bricks or heavy books
- Eat small, frequent meals – lying down or sitting still for a while after eating may also help
- Increase the amount of water you drink
You can also check your blood pressure yourself with a blood pressure monitor at home. This chart can tell you what your reading says about your blood pressure.