What are the symptoms of low blood pressure in elderly people? Let’s take a look.
Low blood pressure is something which can affect anyone, but it is a dangerous occurrence which can be life-threatening. Low blood pressure is typically considered to be anything which reads less than 90 millimetres of mercury (mm Hg) for the top (systolic) number, or 60 mm Hg for the bottom (diastolic) number.
Blood pressure is difficult to keep an eye on properly because what is normal for one person can be problematic for another. It is all down to the unique individual in question and for a lot of people, this means being able to recognise and deal with the symptoms of low blood pressure in elderly people.
The causes of low blood pressure range from dehydration to serious medical conditions. It’s important to find out what’s causing low blood pressure so that it can be treated, if necessary.
What are the Different Types of Low Blood Pressure?
There are a couple of different types of low blood pressure, and it’s important to understand each one.
The first type of low blood pressure is called orthostatic hypertension. This is a sudden and rapid drop in blood pressure which comes from staying in a sitting position for too long or lying down. This can be caused by a variety of things, for example dehydration, pregnancy, different medical conditions, and some types of medication. This is a very common type of low blood pressure when it comes to older adults.
The second type of low blood pressure is called postprandial hypotension. This type of blood pressure occurs a couple of hours after eating. Like the first type of low blood pressure we covered, this also affects older adults more than others, particularly those who have high blood pressure, or autonomic diseases like Parkinson’s. This type of low blood pressure can be easily prevented by drinking more water, eating smaller meals, and avoiding alcohol.
Another type of low blood pressure that should be kept in mind as naturally mediated hypertension. This is a drop in blood pressure that happens after you remain standing for a long period of time. As a type of low blood pressure, this mostly affects younger adults though.
Finally, there is what’s known as multiple system atrophy with orthostatic hypertension. This is also known as Shy-Drager syndrome, and is a very rare blood disorder. It affects the nervous system which controls the involuntary functions of the body like your breathing, blood pressure, indigestion and heart rate. It’s typically associated with having very high blood pressure while lying down.
The Symptoms of Low Blood Pressure in Elderly People
There are quite a few symptoms of low blood pressure that need to be kept an eye on to make sure that people are not at any adverse risk.
Some of the symptoms include fading or blurred vision, lightheadedness or dizziness, fatigue, nausea, trouble concentrating, and fainting. For many people, low blood pressure is a sign of an underlying health problem, especially when it happens very suddenly or occurs with other symptoms.
If your blood pressure drops suddenly, it can be very dangerous to the body. A change of just 20 MM Hg in the systolic blood pressure can cause things like fainting and dizziness. Furthermore, big drops in blood pressure, like the ones caused by allergic reactions, infections or uncontrollable bleeding can even be life-threatening. Therefore, if blood pressure does drop suddenly, it’s important to seek medical attention for your elderly loved one.
Extremely low blood pressure is dangerous because it can lead to shock. Shock is a condition which can come about as a result of many things, ranging from trauma to the aforementioned low blood pressure. There are many symptoms of shock, and it’s important to know what they are.
Cold, clammy skin, a weak and rapid pulse, a decrease in skin colouration, confusion, which is especially prevalent in older people, as well as rapid, shallow breathing.
When Should You See a Doctor?
If you have the symptoms of hypertension or shock, you should seek emergency medical attention.
The majority of healthcare providers will consider blood pressure to be too low if it begins to cause symptoms. Things like lightheadedness or occasional minor disease symptoms can be caused by a wide range of things, like for example dehydration or spending too much time outside. Elderly people need to make sure that they consult with a healthcare provider to get the proper diagnosis, and not to jump the gun on low blood pressure.
Lots of elderly people have their blood pressure monitored regularly by medical professionals, and for many of them, they’ve been on blood pressure medication since middle-age, because that’s when a lot of blood pressure symptoms begin to set in for most people.
The problem with low blood pressure conditions is that many elderly people don’t necessarily know that they are experiencing symptoms until such a time as it becomes a serious issue. After all, there are many funny turns on health-related issues that crop up during old age, and most of us just assumed them to be a natural by-product of getting older. We don’t stop the answer to the fact that they may be connected to a serious but treatable issue.
What Can Change Blood Pressure?
Blood pressure in the body is determined by the number of pumps that the heart needs to move blood around the body.
The ideal heart blood pressure is considered to be anything lower than 120/80. Your blood pressure can vary substantially across the day. Things like the food and drink you eat, your breathing habits, your physical condition, and your body position can all influence blood pressure. Blood pressure is typically lowest at night time, while you are asleep. When you wake up, this often triggers a sharp rise in your blood pressure.
Blood Pressure and Medications
There are certain types of medication that can result in low blood pressure.
Water pills, bass blockers, drugs for Parkinson’s disease, specific types of antidepressants, and drugs for erectile dysfunction can cause low blood pressure in certain conditions.
Your doctor will advise you on any important things that you need to be aware of when starting a new medication. If you do experience low blood pressure, you are advised to contact your doctor for more advice. In most cases, they will recommend you stop taking the medication where possible until they can identify what to do for the best.
So, when it comes to low blood pressure, it’s important to recognise the warning signs and to make appropriate lifestyle changes. Low blood pressure is something that can affect elderly people quite frequently, and it can be very debilitating.
Knowing how to spot low blood pressure is important. After all, you can’t possibly hope to make the correct changes if you don’t put the time in to recognise low blood pressure for what it is. When it comes to low blood pressure, your doctor will hopefully spot it long before it becomes a serious issue. However, considering that low blood pressure can come about as a result of exposure to different types of medication or lifestyle changes, it’s important to remember it could start at any point.
Low blood pressure is something that you may have to take medication for, so it’s important to speak to a doctor if you encounter any of the symptoms that are associated with the condition. Lots of elderly people simply ignore these kinds of problems, believing it to be nothing more than a symptom of getting old, but that’s not true. In many cases, low blood pressure is a serious condition that can affect people at any stage in life, so it’s important to make sure that you take the time to look after your blood pressure wherever you can.
Staying active, eating a healthy diet, and taking the proper medication for your different health conditions can help a lot when it comes to managing blood pressure.
Our fully trained and expert care staff can assist you or a loved one with administering medication, ensuring healthy, physical well-being or just helping around the home (in and around Windsor and Ascot). This can reduce stress and increase the quality of life and independence. Call us for a no-obligation chat on 01753 369088. We can help you understand your support options.
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