Do not ignore a  Low BP Level

My recent visit to the dentist included having my blood pressure checked. I know, it is strange when the plan is to work on your teeth.

By Cindy Pivacic.


Of course I asked the question, ‘why’ and was told that due to my medical history, they do this to ascertain whether to proceed with treatment, as this generally includes some form of medication that may affect my health. I must admit that changed my attitude towards my dentist visits, and I felt a bit more trusting of the process.

It transpired that my blood pressure (BP) is low, prompting me to look into what potential complications a low BP could cause. Mine is currently at 80/40 mmHg. (Not good but a better option than a high BP!) Two things I added to my daily regimen until I can get expert advice on the way to manage my low BP at my next doctor visit, is to increase my water intake and add more sodium/salt to my diet as it assists when dealing with a low BP. 

I think, as a whole, we tend to mainly concern ourselves with a high BP, seldom considering what a low BP may indicate. Understanding your blood pressure levels is vital for overall health. 

High blood pressure increases the risk of heart disease, stroke, and other cardiovascular issues. Monitoring allows early detection, enabling timely interventions such as lifestyle changes or medications. 

Low blood pressure on the other hand, can lead to dizziness, fainting, and organ damage. Regular checks empower individuals to manage their health effectively, preventing complications and promoting a balanced cardiovascular system for a longer, healthier life.

Low blood pressure, or hypotension, can affects your health, inducing both short-term well-being and long-term health outcomes. Here are some key aspects to consider:

Dizziness and Fainting: One of the immediate effects of low blood pressure is dizziness upon standing up quickly. This problem is known as orthostatic hypotension. In severe cases, it can lead to fainting, which poses risks of injury. I have had the dizzy spells when getting up from a chair, bed or off a sitting position on the ground.

Fatigue and Weakness: Low blood pressure can reduce blood flow to organs and muscles, leading to fatigue and weakness. This can affect daily activities and overall quality of life. I found that I was not managing to get through an entire working day without taking a twenty-minute power nap.

Difficulty Concentrating: Insufficient blood supply to the brain due to low blood pressure may result in difficulty concentrating and impaired cognitive function. This can impact work or educational performance. This was one that initially baffled me as I lost my mojo and couldn’t fathom as to why, until I read up on the symptoms. I am now taking steps to alleviate the problem.

Blurred or Narrowed Vision: Inadequate blood flow to the eyes can cause blurred or narrowed vision. This is often temporary but can be disruptive.

Increased Risk of Falls: Individuals with low blood pressure, particularly the elderly are at a higher risk of falls and related injuries due to dizziness and instability.

Heart Problems: Chronic low blood pressure can strain the heart over time, potentially leading to heart conditions. It may also result in inadequate blood supply to the coronary arteries, increasing the risk of angina (chest pain) or heart attacks.

Kidney Damage: Insufficient blood flow to the kidneys can contribute to kidney damage over time. This is because the kidneys rely on an adequate blood supply to filter waste and maintain electrolyte balance. I recently had my annual blood tests done and my doctor was a little concerned about my kidney function. I will be redoing my tests shortly as I have gone off the anti-inflammatories that I was taking for my hip pain, and increased my water intake.

Shock: In extreme cases, very low blood pressure can lead to a medical emergency known as hypovolemic shock. This occurs when the body loses more than 20% of its blood or fluid supply, causing a severe drop in blood pressure and compromising organ function. (Link to Low BP symptoms)

It is important to note that the impact of low blood pressure varies from person to person, and some individuals may not experience any symptoms. However, persistent or severe symptoms should be evaluated by a healthcare professional to determine the underlying cause and appropriate interventions to maintain cardiovascular health. Regular check-ups and monitoring of blood pressure are crucial for overall well-being.

On a recent visit my doctor decided to reduce the intake of one of my medications as it may contribute to my low BP. I have not started my new script as yet, so time will tell. If that does not work, my doctor will re-evaluate. Sometimes it is a process, and we must follow up if the results are unsatisfactory.

PS: Knowing your BP status is crucial, especially if managing a chronic condition. It is vital you have annual or bi-annual check-ups to keep on top of your health status numbers. 

A chronic condition can affect anyone. How you manage it is what makes the difference.

You can get cover of up to 3 million rand for your chronic health condition and up to 10 million if you are living with HIV.

SMS CHRONIC to 33857 to find out more. 

I did!

Disclaimer: The information in this article is intended for educational purposes only.

It is not intended to diagnose, treat or cure, and is not a substitute for professional consultation with a health professional.


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