For some people, low blood pressure can signal an underlying problem, especially when it drops suddenly or is accompanied by signs and symptoms such as:
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
- Fainting (syncope)
- Lack of concentration
- Blurred vision
- Cold, clammy, pale skin
- Rapid, shallow breathing
When to see a doctor
In many instances, low blood pressure isn't serious. If you have consistently low readings but feel fine, your doctor is likely to monitor you during routine exams.
Even occasional dizziness or lightheadedness may be a relatively minor problem — the result of mild dehydration from too much time in the sun or a hot tub, for example. In these situations, it's not a matter so much of how far, but of how quickly, your blood pressure drops.
Still, it's important to see your doctor if you experience any signs or symptoms of hypotension because they sometimes can point to more-serious problems. It can be helpful to keep a record of your symptoms, when they occur and what you were doing at the time.
May. 02, 2014
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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.
- NINDS Multiple system atrophy with orthostatic hypotension information page. National Institute for Neurological Disorders and Stroke. http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/msa_orthostatic_hypotension/msa_orthostatic_hypotension.htm. Accessed Jan. 7, 2014.
- Shep SG (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Jan. 11, 2014.
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