Blood pressure is a measurement of the pressure in arteries during the active and resting phases of each heartbeat. Blood pressure varies throughout the day, depending on body position, breathing rhythm, stress level, physical condition, medications, foods, drinks, and time of the day. Blood pressure is usually lowest at night and rises sharply on waking.
Systolic pressure is the top number in a blood pressure reading and is the amount of pressure that the heart generates when pumping blood through arteries to the rest of the body. Whereas diastolic pressure is the bottom number in a blood pressure reading and refers to the amount of pressure in the arteries when the heart is at rest between beats.
The normal blood pressure is 120/80 millimeters of mercury (mmhg). A blood pressure reading lower than 90 mm Hg for systolic or 60 mm Hg for diastolic is generally considered low blood pressure. There is also no specific number at which day-to-day blood pressure is considered too low, as long as none of the symptoms are present.
The causes of low blood pressure can range from dehydration to serious medical or surgical disorders. For some people, low blood pressure signals an underlying problem, especially when it drops suddenly or is accompanied by signs and symptoms such as dizziness, fainting, blurred vision, nausea, fatigue and lack of concentration.
There are several medical conditions that can cause low blood pressure including pregnancy, bradycardia (low heart rate), endocrine problems, severe infection (septicaemia), and severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis). Conditions such as dehydration, blood loss, and lack of nutrients also causes low blood pressure which can be treated by diet modification and lifestyle changes.
When body loses more water than it takes in, it can cause weakness, dizziness and fatigue which eventually lowers the blood pressure. Adequate fluids increase blood volume and help prevent dehydration, both of which are important in treating hypotension. Therefore, it is recommended to drink at least 2 liters of water per day to keep our body hydrated.
#2 Blood loss
Losing a lot of blood, such as from a major injury or internal bleeding, reduces the amount of blood in body, leading to a severe drop in blood pressure. Sufficient iron intake can increases the blood count. Sources of iron include red meat, poultry, fish, seafood, green leafy vegetables, legumes, beans, cereals, milk and nuts. Vitamin C helps in absorption of iron. Eating leafy greens with foods that contain vitamin C such as oranges, red peppers, and strawberries, may increase iron absorption. Some greens are good sources of both iron and vitamin C, such as collard greens and Swiss chard.
#3 Lack of nutrients
Lack of vitamins as B12 and folate can cause low blood count which will eventually causes drop in blood pressure. Incorporating diet rich in Vitamin B12 and folate can help to treat the condition. Vitamin B12 is found in meat, fish, eggs, dairy products, yeast extract (such as Marmite) and specially fortified foods. The best sources of folate include green vegetables, such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts and peas.
#4 Regular Exercise
Regular exercise for at least 30 minutes per day can promote blood flow in the body which eventually stables the blood pressure.
Seek for nutrition counselling with your dietitian if you are having low blood pressure for a long time. Eating a balanced diet may help you to gain sufficient vitamins and minerals to stabilize your blood pressure. Use promo code “HOMEYBLOG” to get 5% discount when buying medically customized meals from us!
1. Malaysian Dietary Guideline, 2010
3. Retrieved from : https://www.ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Iron-HealthProfessional/
4. Retrieved from : https://www.hematology.org/education/patients/anemia/iron-deficiency
M.Vinoothini, Dietitian, Bac. Science (Dietetics), UPM