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Low Blood Pressure: Care Instructions

Your Care Instructions

Blood pressure is a measurement of the force of the blood against the walls of the blood vessels during and after each beat of the heart. Low blood pressure (hypotension) means that your blood pressure is much lower than normal. Some people, especially young, slim women, may have slightly low blood pressure without symptoms. However, in many people, low blood pressure can cause symptoms such as dizziness or light-headedness. When your blood pressure is too low, your heart, brain, and other organs do not get enough blood.

Low blood pressure can be caused by many things, including heart problems and some medicines. Uncontrolled diabetes can cause your blood pressure to drop, and so can a severe allergic reaction or infection. Another cause is dehydration, which is when your body loses too much fluid.

Treatment for low blood pressure depends on the cause.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

How can you care for yourself at home?

  • Be safe with medicines. Call your doctor if you think you are having a problem with your medicine. You will get more details on the specific medicines your doctor prescribes.
  • If you feel dizzy or light-headed, sit down or lie down for a few minutes. Or you can sit down and put your head between your knees. This will help your blood pressure go back to normal and help your symptoms go away.
  • Follow your doctor's suggestions for ways to prevent symptoms like dizziness. These suggestions may include:
    • Get up slowly from bed or after sitting for a long time. If you are in bed, roll to your side and swing your legs over the edge of the bed and onto the floor. Push your body up to a sitting position. Wait for a while before you slowly stand up.
    • Add more salt to your diet, if your doctor recommends it.
    • Drink plenty of fluids, enough so that your urine is light yellow or clear like water. Choose water and other caffeine-free clear liquids. If you have kidney, heart, or liver disease and have to limit fluids, talk with your doctor before you increase the amount of fluids you drink.
    • Limit alcohol to 3 drinks a day for men and 2 drinks a day for women. Alcohol may interfere with your medicine. In addition, alcohol can make your low blood pressure worse by causing your body to lose water.
    • Avoid or limit caffeine. Caffeine can cause your body to lose water.
    • Wear compression stockings to help improve blood flow.

When should you call for help?

Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:

  • You passed out (lost consciousness).

Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • You are dizzy or light-headed, or you feel like you may faint.

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if you have any problems.

Where can you learn more?

Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd

Enter C304 in the search box to learn more about "Low Blood Pressure: Care Instructions".

Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.