Low blood pressure (hypotension)
Low blood pressure is a reading of less than 90/60mmHg. It does not always cause symptoms, but you may need treatment if it does.
Get your blood pressure checked if you keep getting symptoms like:
- lightheadedness or dizziness
- feeling sick
- blurred vision
- generally feeling weak
This might mean your blood pressure is too low.
If you get symptoms when you stand up or suddenly change position, you may have postural hypotension.
How to check your blood pressure
You can check your blood pressure:
- by asking if a pharmacist can do it
- by asking a practice nurse or GP to do it
- at home yourself using a home blood pressure monitor
See a GP if:
- you keep getting symptoms such as dizziness and fainting
Treatment for low blood pressure depends on the cause
If a cause can be found, a GP will be able to recommend treatment to ease your symptoms.
For example, they may suggest:
- changing medicines or altering your dose, if this is the cause
- wearing support stockings – this can improve circulation and increase blood pressure
Medicine to increase blood pressure is rarely needed because simple lifestyle measures or treating the underlying cause is usually effective.
How to ease low blood pressure symptoms yourself
get up slowly from sitting to standing
take care when getting out of bed – move slowly from lying to sitting to standing
raise the head of your bed by about 15cm (6 inches) with bricks or heavy books
eat small, frequent meals – lying down or sitting still for a while after eating may also help
increase the amount of water you drink
do not sit or stand for long periods
do not bend down or change posture suddenly
do not drink caffeinated drinks at night
do not drink too much alcohol
Causes of low blood pressure
Your blood pressure can vary depending on the time of day. It gradually increases throughout the day.
What you're doing and how you're feeling can also affect it.
There are many possible causes of low blood pressure. It may be low because you're fit and healthy, or you may have inherited it from your parents.
Some people develop low blood pressure as they get older.
It can also be caused by:
- being pregnant
- some medical conditions, such as diabetes
- some medicines