Depending on the reason for your low blood pressure, you may be able to take certain steps to help reduce or even prevent symptoms. Some suggestions include:
May 02, 2014
- Drink more water, less alcohol. Alcohol is dehydrating and can lower blood pressure, even if you drink in moderation. Water, on the other hand, combats dehydration and increases blood volume.
Follow a healthy diet. Get all the nutrients you need for good health by focusing on a variety of foods, including whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and lean chicken and fish.
If your doctor suggests using more salt but you don't like a lot of salt on your food, try using natural soy sauce or adding dry soup mixes to dips and dressings.
Go slowly when changing body positions. You may be able to reduce the dizziness and lightheadedness that occur with low blood pressure on standing by taking it easy when you move from a prone to a standing position.
Before getting out of bed in the morning, breathe deeply for a few minutes and then slowly sit up before standing. Sleeping with the head of your bed slightly elevated also can help fight the effects of gravity.
If you begin to get symptoms while standing, cross your thighs in a scissors fashion and squeeze, or put one foot on a ledge or chair and lean as far forward as possible. These maneuvers encourage blood to flow from your legs to your heart.
Eat small, low-carb meals. To help prevent blood pressure from dropping sharply after meals, eat small portions several times a day and limit high-carbohydrate foods such as potatoes, rice, pasta and bread.
Your doctor also may recommend drinking caffeinated coffee or tea with meals to temporarily raise blood pressure. But because caffeine can cause other problems, check with your doctor before drinking more caffeinated beverages.
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- Kaufman H, et al. Mechanisms, causes and evaluation of orthostatic hypotension. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Jan. 6, 2014.
- Kaufman H, et al. Treatment of orthostatic and postprandial hypotension. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Jan. 6, 2014.
- Bonow RO, et al. Braunwald's Heart Disease: A Textbook of Cardiovascular Medicine. 9th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2012. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Jan. 6, 2014.
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- Shep SG (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Jan. 11, 2014.