Low Blood Pressure -- Causes and Cures
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A Global Look at Hypertension-Where Is It Lowest?
Last updated August 29, 2018, originally published July 10, 2009

By Susan M. Callahan, Associate Editor and Featured Columnist

Feeling dizzy when you stand up? You could have low blood
pressure. What is low blood pressure?
Normal blood pressure
is 110/70. The old target was 120/80 but that has been
lowered by most major medical authorities.  Most media
attention is focused on the growing health dangers of high
blood pressure -- hypertension. But did you know that
millions of Americans, and as many as 40% of the elderly,
suffer from the opposite problem--
low blood pressure.  

Low blood pressure, technically called "hypotension" begins
when your blood pressure falls below 90/60, according to the
American Heart Association.

How many people have low blood pressure? It's hard to say.
More studies have been done to determine the number of
people with high blood pressure than low blood pressure
because high blood pressure normally causes more health

However, a 2000 study published in the Journal of
Hypertension by doctors at Beaumont Hospital in Dublin,
Ireland estimated that about 49% of people in Ireland may
have low blood pressure. These people commonly have a thin
body type. As the researchers concluded, "Hypotension is
common in the general population and is associated with a
distinct body habitus. It carries a generally benign
cardiovascular risk factor profile."

Low blood pressure affects the young and the old. Fainting
due to low blood pressure occurs fairly common among teens
and young adults going through a growth spurt. Commonly,
these young people get dizzy when they stand up. One study
in 2011 led by Dr. Julian Stewart of the New York Medical
College Valhalla estimates that about 50% of all teens and
young adults experience this type of low blood pressure event.

Low blood pressure is also fairly common among
highly-trained athletes. Many people also go through life with
lower than normal blood pressure and experience no
symptoms at all. However, low blood pressure which is not
normal for you can produce symptoms such as fainting or
dizziness. (Read more about
what a normal heart rate or pulse

What Causes Low Blood Pressure?

Low blood pressure can be caused by many factors. The most
common cause of low blood pressure is a sedentary lifestyle.

Low blood pressure can even be caused by something as
simple as standing up.  When you stand up, blood normally
pools in your legs and ankles, triggering your brain to send a
signal to your heart to pump more blood. If this signal is not
sent or is sent very weakly, then your heart does not pump
forcefully enough, and you feel faint.  This type of low blood
pressure is called "postural hypotension" or "orthostatic

[Update: An increasingly
common cause of low blood pressure
is following a vegan or plant-based diet
. The lifestyle the risk
for chronic disease, however.]

Food Emptying Too Fast from the Stomach Cause Low Blood

As many as 40% of the elderly in nursing homes suffer from a
form of low blood pressure called "postprandial hypotension".
Postprandial hypotension occurs after you eat a meal. It is a
common cause of death in nursing homes. In effect, blood
pressure plunges so rapidly after you eat, that not enough
blood reaches your organs, causing death.  

A 2006 study from the Royal Adelaide Hospital in Australia
discovered that postprandial hypotension occurs when
carbohydrates empty from the stomach too rapidly. The
problem is serious because the sudden plunge in blood
pressure can lead to syncope (passing out) and falls. (Read
more about
causes of feeling dizzy or passing out.)

Low blood pressure can also be caused by heart failure and
systemic disease. Both these possible causes should be ruled
out by a physical examination before you try to remedy low
blood pressure on your own.

Assuming you have no serious health condition, what are the
natural remedies for low blood pressure?

Here are 5  effective natural remedies for low blood pressure

Drink More Water. Dehydration is the most common cause
of low blood pressure in otherwise healthy adults, according
to the National Institutes of Health. In the US, UK and other
parts of Europe, India and Australia, dehydration is a common
problem. We just don't drink enough water. Most doctors
recommend that we
drink 8 glasses of water a day for our
basic needs.

Blood, after all, is made up mostly of water.  Without water,
your heart has nothing to pump out. Insufficient water in your
blood stream works similar to insufficient water in the pipes in
your home. No water pressure. Turn on the faucet and
nothing comes out.  Likewise, insufficient water in your body
leads to insufficient water in your heart (the pump) which
leads to insufficient blood pressure.

Water is a natural remedy for low blood pressure. Try to
increase the water you drink slowly. Add about an extra 2
glasses a day. That will give your heart time to adjust to the
increased demand of pumping out more blood.

Exercise.  Exercise is one of the best ways to elevate low
blood pressure.  
Exercise forces your heart to pump out more
blood, which increases blood pressure.  Easy does it. Try
increasing the cardiovascular exercise by a half an hour a day.
Walking briskly, taking the stairs instead of the elevator or lift,
standing instead of sitting -- all these small changes help to
raise low blood pressure.

Salt.  Adding salt is a controversial solution to low blood
pressure. As we've seen in other reference articles on blood
pressure, excess salt s the main cause of high blood pressure.
recommended level of salt consumption varies depending
upon the medial authority you check, but most authorities
recommend eating less than 2000 to 2300 mg of salt per day.
Most Americans, English and other Europeans, consume twice
than amount per day. However, a small-- very small
--percentage of people need to eat more salt a day to elevate
low blood pressure. Extra salt, sadly is easy to find in our diet
--table salt, processed meats, sausages bacon, cheese spreads
and crunchy snacks are loaded with salt. All of these foods can
help low blood pressure.

If you use salt to raise blood pressure, it's best to do so under
a doctor's care.

Avoid Foods High in Potassium. Reducing foods high in
potassium is a good way to raise blood pressure.
Potassium is
a natural way to lower blood pressure. Taking potassium out
of your diet has the opposite effect -- it raises blood pressure.
So avoid, bananas, beans and other rich sources of potassium
if you need to raise blood pressure.

Use Guar Gum to Slow Down Digestion. If you are diabetic
or have poorly controlled blood sugar, you are more likely to
suffer from low blood pressure after eating.  In this sense,
sugar problems can affect blood pressure.

The researchers in the 2006 Adelaide Australia study  
mentioned above discovered that postprandial hypotension
might be treated by eating foods such as guar gum to slow
down the rate at which your stomach empties into your
intestines. As the doctors noted: "In both healthy elderly
subjects and patients with type 2 diabetes, the fall in BP is
attenuated when gastric emptying and small intestinal
carbohydrate absorption are slowed by dietary (e.g. guar) or
pharmacological (e.g. acarbose) means."

Guar gum is made by husking and grinding guar beans. Guar
gum can be found in most health stores, often as a cream or
off-white colored powder.

Other studies also from Adelaide Hospital in Australia have
confirmed that guar gum reduces the occur
rence of low blood
pressure by slowing down the absorption of sugar into your
blood. (Read more about how
cinnamon also helps to slow
down gastric emptying.)

Be careful of your source of guar gum. A Swiss importer
called  Unipektin recalled supplies of guar gum originating
from India following the discovery of high dioxin levels.


Eating Small Meals Can Help Hypotension

A 2010 study from Led by Drs. Luciano and Brennan of the
Baystate Medical Center in Massachusetts suggests that eating
6 smaller meals instead of 3 large ones may help to prevent
hypotension in the elderly. In such cases low blood pressure
is caused by the too-rapid emptying of your stomach after a
meal. Drinking water before eating and eating smaller meals
slows down digestion and improves blood pressure.

One possible remedy for too-rapid emptying of your stomach
is yerba mate. A 2011 study from Kyoto Pharmaceutical
University in Japan found that taking 100g/kg of mate for 7
weeks slows gastric emptying. (Read more about the
benefits of yerba mate.)

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