Hypotension (Low Blood Pressure)
Blood pressure that is lower than normal for an individual is referred to as hypotension. Hypotension can be short-lasting, such as orthostatic hypotension or can be a chronic conditions. Hypotension may be brought on by specific dietary and exercise regimens, as a result of prescription medication, or it may be a symptom of another underlying condition. In some cases hypotension can indicate a life-threatening situation. Although hypotension is typically a concern when extremely low, chronic moderately low blood pressure is associated with decreased mortality. Hypotension is also associated with decreased cognitive function, especially in the elderly. 
|Causes||Dietary Factors, Breathing Disorders, Prescription Medications|
|See Also||Cardiovascular Conditions, Hypertension|
|Books||Books on Cardiovascular Conditions such as Blood Pressure: A Naturopathic Approach and others.|
|Articles||Articles on Cardiovascular Conditions|
- 1 Naturopathic Assessment
- 2 Characteristics
- 3 Naturopathic Treatment
- 4 References
|Read this book||Naturopathic Treatment of Blood Pressure|
|Read this book||Blood Pressure: A Naturopathic Approach|
Hypotension may be normal for an individual or it may be a symptom of an underlying condition. In order to stimulate the innate ability of the body to heal, the causes of disease must be identified and addressed. With hypotension, the causes are variable. It is important to identify and address any underlying that is causing the low blood pressure.
- Long standing bed rest may contribute to hypotension.
- Combining resistance and aerobic exercise can elicit hypotension, especially when the intensity of the aerobic exercise is higher than 65% VO2peak.
- Post-exercise hypotension may occur, especially in the elderly and those with hypertension, after aerobic exercise. Resistance exercise does not appear to elicit post-exercise hypotension to the same degree.
- Breathing disorders, especially upper airway resistance syndrome, is associated with lower blood pressure.
- In some older persons with sleep-related breathing disorders, sympathetic reflexes may be impaired, permitting hypotension and risk of circulatory failure. Epidemiologic evidence supports the hypothesis that this mechanism can explain the elevated incidence of cerebral infarction during sleep.
- Prescription Medications
- A number of prescription mediciations can cause or contribute to hypotension, as such it is important to review all medications., 
- Antihypertensive, vasodilatory drugs or diuretic agents like furosemide, bumetanide and ethacrynic acid can induce hypovolemia and subsequent hypotension. Medications indicated in hypotension include:
- Vasodilators such as verapamil, nifedipine or diltiazem.
- Angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors.
- Monoamine oxidase inhibitors.
- Tricyclic or tetracyclic antidepressants.
- Others; quinine, L-dopa, barbiturates and alcohol.
- In Office Testing
- Measurement of blood pressure with a properly fitting cuff done in the office is the primary method of evaluating hypotension. A diagnosis of hypotension is made after three consecutive readings when the systolic blood pressure is less than 90 and the diastolic is less than 60.
Related Symptoms and Conditions
- Osmotic diuresis in uncontrolled diabetes without adequate fluid or electrolyte replacement.
- Severe varicose veins or excess venous pooling.
- Addison's Disease in the absence of adequate salt intake.
- Cardiogenic shock associated with Myocardial infarction.
- Decreased cognitive decline
- Diabetic complications, especially peripheral neuropathy
- Parkinson’s disease.
- Anorexia nervosa
- Convulsive syncope or seizure activity
Hypotension is often a response or a symptom of another underlying condition. A moderately low blood pressure that is healthy for an individual can be the outcome of a healthy diet and/or regular exercise regimen. It is also common for the elderly to have lower blood pressure.
- Orthostatic hypotension is defined as a decrease in blood pressure within 3 minutes of assuming an upright position, and is diagnosed in the presence of a systolic decrease in blood pressure of more than 20mmHg or a diastolic change greater than 10mmHg.
- Dizziness on standing up
- Decreased exercise tolerance
- Visual disturbances, blurred vision or night blindness.
- Nasal stuffiness
- Sycope or shock could occur with severe hypotension depending on the underlying cause.
- Head and neck discomfort
- Decreased cognitive ability
- Severe vomiting and diarrhea.
- Excessive sweating.
The goal of naturopathic treatment is to support and work in tandem with the healing power of the body and to address the causal factors of disease with individual treatment strategies. Hypotension can be an acute condition or a chronic disease state. When deciding on the best treatment options it is important to have a clear understanding of the underlying causal factors and any associated conditions.
It is always advisable to work with a naturopathic doctor before engaging in any treatment plan.
Home Care strategies include:
- As hypotension increases the risk of falling it is important to take steps to decrease this risk.
- Move from a lying position to a seated position before standing.
Lifestyle recommendations include:
- Exercise, especially resistance exercise, can be beneficial in the treatment of hypotension.
- Addressing any breathing disorders is recommended.
The prescribing of naturopathic therapies requires the guidance of a naturopathic doctor as it depends on a number of factors including the causal factors, a person's age, prescription medications, other conditions and symptoms and overall health. It is always advisable to work with a naturopathic doctor prior to taking any natural therapies.
- Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra), Hawthorn (Crataegus oxyacantha), Lily of the Valley (Convallaria majalis), Gentiana (Gentiana lutea), Camphor (Cinnamomum camphora)
- 5 to 10 minute Russian baths done on a daily basis can be beneficial in the treatment of hypotension.
Reviewed by Iva Lloyd, BScH, RPE, ND 
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