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High Blood Pressure Vs Low Blood Pressure – Know The Difference!

By Dhwani Jerajani +2 more

According to the guidelines given by the American Heart Association, if the blood pressure falls in one of the below categories then the condition is called Hypertension:

  • Stage 1 Hypertension: Systolic: between 130-139 or Diastolic: between 80-89
  • Stage 2 Hypertension: Systolic: 140 or higher and Diastolic: 90 or higher
  • Hypertensive crisis : Systolic: Above 180 and/or Diastolic: Above 120

Thus, Hypertension is nothing but high blood pressure and is a serious condition because it makes the heart work harder to pump blood into the body and if not controlled, can result in an increased risk of heart attacks, strokes, and kidney failures.

Similarly, Hypotension is low blood pressure. In this condition, the blood pressure typically falls below a Systolic value of 90 and a Diastolic value of 60.

Within prescribed limits, a low blood pressure reading is generally good. However, sometimes this condition can result in dizziness and tiredness. But if there are no adverse symptoms as such then there is nothing to worry about.

Causes of High Blood Pressure

While the exact causes of high blood pressure are still unknown, medical practitioners attribute this condition to certain factors namely:

  1. Obesity
  2. Excessive alcohol consumption
  3. Increases salt intake
  4. Smoking
  5. Diabetes
  6. Genetics
  7. Stress
  8. Ageing
  9. Kidney disease

Causes of Low Blood Pressure

The dropping of blood pressure is a normal scenario. However, certain conditions cause low blood pressure for an extended period such as:

  • Infections in the bloodstreams
  • Diabetes
  • Thyroid
  • Blood loss due to injury
  • Weakness due to dehydration and
  • Pregnancy
  • Hormonal imbalances
  • Due to some medications
  • Problems related to heart or kidneys

Did you know?

  • In 2017-2018, the prevalence of hypertension among adults in the United States was 45.4%. source: CDC
  • Hypertension prevalence was higher among men (51.0%) than women (39.7%) in 2017-2018. source: CDC
  • The prevalence of hypertension increased with age, with 74.5% of adults aged 60 and over having hypertension in 2017-2018. source: CDC
  • Non-Hispanic black adults had a higher prevalence of hypertension (57.1%) compared to non-Hispanic white (43.6%) and Hispanic (43.7%) adults in 2017-2018. source: CDC
  • College graduates had a lower prevalence of hypertension (38.5%) compared to adults with a high school education or less (47.0%) or more than high school or some college (50.5%) in 2017-2018. source: CDC

Symptoms of High Blood Pressure

While high blood pressure doesn’t show any severe symptom (which is why it is also called a ‘silent killer’) as such, it is sometimes observed that some people suffering from high blood pressure do show signs of sweating, sleeping problems, and anxiety. However, if the Hypertensive crisis condition is reached, the patient may suffer from nose bleeding and headaches.

Symptoms of Low Blood Pressure

Some noticeable symptoms that should raise alarm bells include:

  • Unsteadiness
  • Blurry vision
  • Lack of concentration
  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Nausea
  • Pale skin
  • Rapid and low breathing

Patients usually ask which number is more important, the answer clinically is that systolic blood pressure (the first number) is considered a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease for people over 50 years of age.

Dr Ashish Bajaj – M.B.B.S, M.D. in Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology

Treatment for High Blood Pressure

While many doctors prescribe medication to deal with high blood pressure, generally, it is best to bring a change in lifestyle and improving dietary choices along with prescribed medications.

Some lifestyle adjustments include:

  • Engaging in 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercises such as walking, swimming, cycling or jogging
  • Giving up smoking
  • Reducing salt intake
  • Cutting down on alcohol consumption
  • Increasing the intake of fresh fruits and veggies, high-fibre and whole-grain foods, low-fat dairy products
  • Keeping a check on body weight

Doctors generally also recommend a ‘DASH – Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension diet for high blood pressure patients who adhere to the above lifestyle adjustments.

Also read: Home Remedies for High Blood Pressure

Hypotension is generally defined as a blood pressure reading below 90/60 mm Hg. However, it is essential to note that normal blood pressure can vary from individual to individual. And what is considered low for one person may not be low for another.

Dr. M.G. Kartheeka – MBBS, MD(Pediatrics)

Treatment for Low Blood Pressure

Simple, good to implement practices that may prevent low blood pressure which includes :

  1. Limit the intake of alcoholic beverages.
  2. Increase the intake of water during hot, torrid weather conditions and especially when down with a viral infection.
  3. Adhere to a high-salt intake diet.
  4. Participate in regular physical activities to augment blood flow.
  5. Avoid standing or sitting in one position for a long duration.
  6. Be prudent and cautious while arising from lying down and sitting position.
  7. To avoid periods of dizziness, try eating light and smaller meals at regular intervals and evade any strenuous activities immediately t eating.
  8. Cut down on your carbohydrate intake.
  9. Consult a doctor on the usage of elastic stockings that cover your calf and thigh area. This may help in restricting the blood flow to the lower part of the body thereby keeping more blood in the upper part.

Hypertensive crisis is a medical emergency and if you face any signs of possible organ damage like chest pain, shortness of breath, back pain, numbness/weakness, change in vision or difficulty speaking, do not wait to see if your pressure comes down on its own.

Dr Ashish Bajaj – M.B.B.S, M.D. in Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology


High blood pressure can rightfully be described as a ‘silent killer’. This is because there are rarely any high blood pressure symptoms but it poses a major threat of heart-related ailments like stroke. Some of the ways in which you can lower your high blood pressure without medications are as follows:

  • Exercise Daily: It goes without saying that keeping yourself fit and active with some form of daily exercise has its benefits. As you exercise daily, your heartbeat and breathing rate increase slowly, thus making your heart pump blood easily. This, in turn, puts less pressure on your arteries and helps to lower blood pressure.
  • Be mindful of your weight: Being overweight gives shelter to several diseases which can later turn into serious health issues. As compared to your height, make sure your weight is within what it should be. Losing a few extra pounds will not only help in lowering your blood pressure but will also reduce any other chance of potential medical problems.
  • Reduce sugar and carb intake: Sugar, especially fructose, is known to increases your blood pressure more than salt. Having a low carb, low sugar diet will make you consume more protein and healthy fat, which will, in turn, keep you fuller for longer.
  • Smoking: Quitting smoking is good for your overall health, let alone for lowering your blood pressure. Smoking is known to increase (temporarily) your blood pressure and heart rate, but in the longer run, the nicotine present in tobacco causes to increase your blood pressure by damaging blood vessels and narrowing arteries, thus stopping sufficient amounts of blood flow through your heart.
Disclaimer: The information provided here is for educational/awareness purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional and should not be relied upon to diagnose or treat any medical condition. The reader should consult a registered medical practitioner to determine the appropriateness of the information and before consuming any medication. PharmEasy does not provide any guarantee or warranty (express or implied) regarding the accuracy, adequacy, completeness, legality, reliability or usefulness of the information; and disclaims any liability arising thereof.

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