Chronic Low Blood Pressure

Q. Is there such a thing as chronic low blood pressure?

A. The answer to this question is yes. Low blood pressure or hypotension occurs when blood pressure is lower than usual, but in most instances, low blood pressure is not a serious condition.

Low blood pressure in older adults can commonly be caused by drugs used to treat high blood pressure, surgical or heart medications, anti anxiety agents, diuretics, narcotics and heart failure. In younger adults, anemia, dehydration, shock from infection or major trauma, advanced diabetes and alcohol consumption can contribute to low blood pressure.

A blood pressure reading that is low for one person may be normal for another. The most important factor is to monitor blood pressure and take note of any sudden or significant change.

The effects of low blood pressure can be dangerous for seniors resulting in dizziness, blurred vision and serious falls. These conditions can be reduced in some patients with medications, diet and exercise.

An otherwise healthy adult who is experiencing continued or sudden low blood pressure should see their physician to rule out any serious conditions. Chronic low blood pressure with symptoms rarely requires treatment but in symptomatic cases it can be an indicator of heart failure.

Notwithstanding serious or life threatening situations the long term effects of low blood pressure are far less serious than that of high blood pressure.

John D. Cranwell, M.D., Internal Medicine

Signal Mtn. Health and Wellness Center/

Memorial Health Partners

2600 Taft Highway

Signal Mountain, TN 37377

(423) 886-2004