• Hypotension or low blood pressure means your blood pressure is below 90/60mmHg.
  • Low blood pressure may not necessarily pose an immediate threat to your health, it is the symptoms that may cause problems.
  • Low blood pressure can be caused by underlying health problems, also certain medications, such as Viagra.

What is Hypotension?

Our blood pressure naturally fluctuates throughout the day. Low blood pressure is usually temporary and easily reversible. When our blood pressure remains below 90/60mmHg, it is then classed as low blood pressure. However, blood pressure can be too low for you yet normal for some, it is only considered problematic when symptoms appear. In the absence of symptoms, most people can live a perfectly normal life with low blood pressure. To treat symptomatic hypotension effectively, we will have to determine the underlying cause first.

Problematic Symptoms and Causes

Some unexplained symptoms that occur not because of other apparent reason, like a head injury or water infection, could indicate low blood pressure.

  • Feeling faint or dizzy
  • Feeling sick
  • Blurred vision
  • General fatigue or weakness
  • Confusion
  • Fainting suddenly

If these symptoms appear with a sudden change of posture, e.g. standing up too quickly, you could have postural hypotension.

Hypotension could be caused by natural factors and underlying medical conditions.

Natural factors:

  • Mornings (blood pressure drops overnight, and after lying down for a while)
  • Getting older
  • Pregnancy, commonly in the first and second trimester
  • Postprandial hypotension (blood pressure sometimes drops right after a meal)
  • Cold temperature causes a heartbeat to slow and blood pressure to drop
  • Genetic, low blood pressure could be inherited through a familial link

Medical conditions:

  • Heart disease, e.g. heart failure, heart attack, bradycardia (slow heart rate)
  • Thyroid disorder, diabetes, kidney disease, adrenal gland problems
  • Septic shock and toxic shock syndrome
  • Severe allergy and/or anaphylactic shock
  • Severe dehydration
  • Lack of essential vitamins which could cause anaemia
  • Parkinson’s disease


  • Blood pressure lowering medication, e.g. alpha blockers, beta blockers, calcium channel blockers, ACE inhibitors, diuretics, ARBs
  • Medication for erectile dysfunction, e.g. Viagra
  • Some antidepressants, e.g. tricyclic antidepressants

It is important to investigate the cause of hypotension before appropriate treatment can commence because correcting the underlying cause would likely correct low blood pressure. Self-help measures are often encouraged, for example, change positions gradually from lying to sitting to standing and try to sit down or lie down as soon as you feel light headed. Other treatments include wearing compression stockings to improve circulation, and your doctor may prescribe ‘salt tablets’ if necessary.

The only way is: Test

The symptoms listed are not always indicative of low blood pressure. Some of the symptoms could also arise during a water infection or with glaucoma. So the only way to know for certain is to get your blood pressure tested. As part of NHS health check, everyone between the ages of 40 and 74 is advised to have a blood pressure check at least once every 5 years.

The tests can be done at your GP surgery, some pharmacies, NHS health check campaigns, and at home using a home blood pressure monitor. With or without a diagnosis, should you require any useful information and advice, you can always visit your local pharmacies, your GP surgery, your midwife if you’re pregnant, healthcare professionals at NHS health check campaigns or trusted website such as NHS Health.


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  3. Dr Routh, K. and Dr Cripps, T. (2018). Low blood pressure (hypotension) | Health information | Bupa UK. [online] Bupa.co.uk. Available at: https://www.bupa.co.uk/health-information/heart-blood-circulation/low-blood-pressure-hypotension [Accessed 26 Jan. 2019].
  4. nhs.uk. (2016). NHS Health Check. [online] Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/nhs-health-check/ [Accessed 26 Jan. 2019].