Hypotension

Alternative Names

Low blood pressure; Blood pressure – low; Postprandial hypotension; Orthostatic hypotension; Neurally mediated hypotension; NMH

Definition of Hypotension

Low blood pressure, or hypotension, occurs when blood pressure during and after each heartbeat is much lower than usual. This means the heart, brain, and other parts of the body do not get enough blood.

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

Blood pressure that is borderline low for one person may be normal for another. The most important factor is how the blood pressure changes from the normal condition.

Symptoms

Symptoms may include:

Signs and tests

The health care provider will examine you and try to determine what is causing the low blood pressure. Your vital signs (temperature, pulse, rate of breathing, blood pressure) will be checked frequently. You may need to stay in the hospital for a while.

Treatment

Hypotension in a healthy person that does not cause any problems usually doesn’t require treatment.

Expectations (prognosis)

Low blood pressure can usually be treated with success.

Review

Linda Vorvick, MD, Family Physician, Seattle Site Coordinator, Lecturer, Pathophysiology, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc. – 2/22/2009

ADAM Medical Encyclopedia

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