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Causes of low blood pressure in the body

Blood pressure is one of the vital signs of life just like the heart beat, pulse rate or breathing. It is defined as the pressure exerted on the walls of the blood vessels as it is circulated in the body. An individuals blood pressure is measured as the systolic or diastolic measure. For example if your blood pressure is 120/80, the first number is the systolic pressure and the lower number is the diastolic pressure. when the heart squeezes to release the blood on the arteries, that pressure is the systolic blood pressure and is l aways a higher number. When the heart releases the blood pressure on the walls of the arteries reduces and is recorded as the diastolic number.
The normal blood pressure for a healthy adult is 120/80 and anything higher than 130/80 is considered as high blood pressure. But the systolic blood pressure can range between 90 to 120 as it varies with the body metabolism, exercise and activity ranges. A number as low as 90/50 can be considered as low blood pressure.
Low blood pressure is characterized by the low flow of blood in the arteries and veins that oxygen and nutrients do not reach the vital organs. The causes of low pressure are,
• Dehydration: Prolonged nausea, diarrhea and vomiting depletes the essential fluids in the body which may lead to hypotension. Dehydration may lead to reduced blood flow damaging vital organs.
• Loss of blood: Severe blood loss during an accident can lead to hypotension. Severe bleeding also occurs during surgical complications, menstrual problems, or internal organ damage and ulcers. If not supplemented by blood donation, this can lead to trauma and death.
• Weakened heart muscle: The heart is a combination of muscles and any weakness may reduce its ability to pump blood leading to hypotension.
• Pericarditis: The inflammation in the pericardium I.e the sac surrounding the heart will lead to the accumulation of fluids which prevents the pumping ability of the heart causing hypotension.
• Pulmonary embolism: This involves a blood clot in the vein which travels to the heart and blocks the arteries. It prevents the movement of the blood from the heart chambers to the arteries causing low blood flow causing hypotension.
• Bradycardia: A low heart beat which ultimately results in the decreased amount of blood pumped in to the system causes low blood pressure. It may be caused by a damaged electrical signal system which prevents a normal heart beat (sick sinus syndrome) or by a heart block preventing the electrical signals in reaching the heart muscles reducing its ability to contract rapidly. Medicines like digoxin can also cause bradycardia.
• Tachycardia: An abnormally fast heart rate or tachycardia can also cause hypotension. Rapidly contraction heart does not have the ability to fill up with blood to maximize the output causing reduced flow of blood in to the arteries. Medicines for Parkinson, erectile dysfunction and depression can be the cause of tachycardia.
• Vasovagal reactions: The Vagus nerve is the epicenter of releasing the hormone which slows down the heart rate. A sudden emotional upheaval, tensions and even digestive disorders may cause the Vagus nerve in to overdrive causing a low blood pressure.
• Postural hypotension: Prolonged standing causes the blood to get stuck in the veins and may cause asymptomatic hypotension. Suddenly getting up from a supine position also upsets the blood flow and may contribute to a fainting spell or dizziness due to hypotension.
• Addison disease: This causes the destruction of the adrenal glands which reduces the hormone Cortisol which is instrumental in maintaining the blood pressure and a healthy heart rate.
• Septicemia: A bacterial infection usually due to pneumonia in the blood stream also causes release of toxins causing hypotension.
• Anaphylaxis: A shock or allergic reactions to medicines. X-rays or even peanuts or bee stings causes the enlargement of blood vessels and the loss of water from the blood stream causing hypotension.

Hypotension is usually characterized by weakness, dizziness, fainting spells, dry throat or sore throat etc and is a life threatening condition. If not given urgent medical attention the patient may have to endure organ damage, coma or even worse death.

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