Myths and truths about low blood pressure

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Have you ever become pale and started to feel dizzy for no apparent reason? These are symptoms that usually occur when a person has low blood pressure, also known as hypotension. As soon as your blood pressure drops below 90/60 mmHg (which is considered normal), dizziness, fatigue, blurred vision or fainting may occur.

When blood pressure is below normal, it is common to give chocolate or a sugary drink to the person who is showing symptoms of “low blood pressure”. But is this the right thing to do? There are several myths, but also truths, about low blood pressure.

Although this is often done, it is not advisable to take sugar when the blood pressure is below the parameters considered normal. The reason is that sugar has nothing to do with blood pressure. In fact, what should be done is to provide plenty of fluids, preferably water.

Hydration is essential when blood pressure is low. This is because, sometimes, the cause of low blood pressure is a lack of hydration, either because it is too hot outside or because the body is not drinking enough fluids. As a result, blood pressure drops and it is important to drink water to improve symptoms.

This myth should be clarified, since in situations where blood pressure is so extremely low that the heart does not receive enough blood, it can cause a heart attack, although these cases are abnormally rare.

In addition, “having low blood pressure (90-60 mmHg) is good for the heart and blood vessels because it reduces the load they have to bear”. In other words, low blood pressure is preferable to high blood pressure, but measures should still be taken.

Coffee is another drink that can help raise blood pressure when it is lower than it should be. In fact, it is a stimulant that people with high blood pressure can consume moderately. Its effect has to do with the fact that it constricts blood vessels by increasing blood pressure. However, its effect does not last that long.

In reality, hypotension is quite common, as its causes are usually related to lack of hydration, taking medication (anxiolytics, for example) or sweltering heat. It is true that some people are more prone to low blood pressure, but we can all experience some at some point.

If the episodes become frequent or a disease such as diabetes has been diagnosed, it is best to talk to your family doctor about what is happening. Occasionally, there may be a health problem, which need not necessarily be serious, that needs to be checked out.

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