Hypotension: Symptoms, Causes & Diet to manage it.

Hypotension – Blood pressure is the force exerted by the pumping blood on the walls of the arteries. Blood pressure is indicated by the top number (Maximum BP), systolic blood pressure & the bottom number (Minimum BP), diastolic blood pressure. (Eg: x/y)

A systolic BP of less than 90 mm Hg or diastolic BP of less than 60 mm Hg is an indication of hypotension also called low blood pressure.

Hypotension is a physiological condition, being a prominent symptom in many diseases.


  • Orthostatic – The drop in blood pressure that occurs when you transition from sitting or lying down to standing. It is common in people of all ages.
  • Vasovagal Syncope – an inappropriate drop in blood pressure, while standing in an upright position. Caused due to malfunction of the vagus nerve.
  • Postprandial – A drop in blood pressure after consumption of a meal due to which more blood is directed to the intestines, however not usual.


Age Systolic Pressure
Term Neonates <60 mmHg
Infants <70 mmHg
Children 1 – 10 years <70 + (age in years x 2) mmHg
Children >10 years <90 mmHg


  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Fever higher than 38.3 °C (101 °F)
  • Headache
  • Stiff neck
  • Severe upper back pain
  • Cough with sputum
  • Prolonged diarrhea or vomiting
  • Indigestion
  • Faint or unconsciousness
  • Profound fatigue
  • Temporary blurring or loss of vision
  • Black tarry stools


  • Low blood volume called hypovolemia due to;
  • Internal bleeding or hemorrhage
  • Starvation or low intake of fluid
  • Severe diarrhea & vomiting
  • Heat stroke
  • Due to medications like, diuretics (water pills), high blood pressure medications, drugs for Parkinson’s disease (Dopamine), drugs used for Erectile dysfunction.
  • Blood pressure is likely to drop in pregnancy
  • Heart conditions, like low heart rate & pumping volume
  • Endocrine disorders
  • Septic shock
  • Severe allergic reaction (Anaphylactic shock)
  • Use of illicit drugs.
  • Low blood sugar


  • Fainting & loss of consciousness
  • Therefore injury
  • Hypovolemic shock
  • Less oxygen will be supplied to essential organs like brain, liver, kidneys, lungs.
  • Arrhythmia
  • Seizures


  1. Blood tests must be done to determine low blood sugar or a low red blood cell count, which contributes to low blood pressure.
  2. Using a sphygmomanometer to measure the systolic & diastolic blood pressure.
  3. In addition an arterial catheter may be implied to measure the Mean Arterial Pressure (MAP). If MAP <65 mmHg, it is diagnosed as low blood pressure.
  4. Similarly, an ECG, is done to determine the electrical signals of the heart, therefore giving the inference whether something is wrong with the pumping of the heart.


  • Medications used to treat Hypotension;
  • Corticosteroids
  • Vasopressors
  • Norepinephrine injections or medications similar to it.
  • Volume resuscitation by blood products.
  • If low blood pressure is a secondary cause due to a disease, infection, allergy, inury or disorder, in other words, the primary condition should be addressed.
  • Fluid intake, ORS.


  • Staying hydrated
  • Taking foods that are high in Vit B12
  • In addition, foods that are high in folate
  • Addition of more salt in the diet
  • Licorice tea for instance has showed support by countering medications that may reduce blood pressure
  • Similarly coffee has provided some evidence in increasing blood pressure.
  • However consumption of too much coffee & alcohol should be kept in check.
  • Paying attention to body posture.
  • Avoiding medications that may lead to hypotension, after talking to your physician.