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Answer to your Health Question

Question (08/15/2011):

Title: My systolic pressure remains at 85-90 .

My systolic pressure remains at 85-90.

How dangerous is that and how to control that?



Dear Sandeep,

For most healthy people, the systolic pressure varies between 90 and 120 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg).

The pressure is produced by the pumping of blood through the heart and arteries that provide resistance to the passage of the blood.

Pressure is measured by two figures, a higher (systolic) represents the pressure in the arteries when the heart contracts and pumps blood into them, and a lower number (diastolic) represents the pressure in the arteries when the heart muscle relaxes after contracting.

Hypotension refers to a blood pressure that is too low and causes a series of signs and symptoms. When blood pressure is too low, there is not enough blood supply to organs and tissues, they are not getting enough oxygen and nutrients and can not function properly.

Hypotension is defined primarily by signs and symptoms of decreased blood flow, rather than measuring blood pressure.

In fact, a person may have a blood pressure of 90/50 and not show symptoms of hypotension (eg, athlete), and therefore not considered to have hypotension, whereas a person with normal blood pressure of 130 / 80 may develop a symptomatic hypotension if the pressure drops to 100/60.

The effects of hypotension

Low blood pressure does not necessarily pose a risk to health.

People with low blood pressure have a lower risk of kidney disease and heart disease. Athletes, people who exercise regularly, people with a healthy weight and non-smokers tend to have lower blood pressure than other people.

Therefore, low blood pressure is desirable as long as it is not low enough to cause symptoms and damage organs.

Symptoms of hypotension or low blood pressure

When blood pressure is not high enough so you can get blood to the body's organs, they do not receive an adequate supply of oxygen and nutrients, so they do not work properly and may be damaged.

For example, if the brain does not receive an adequate supply of oxygen and nutrients, the person may feel dazed, dizzy or even faint.

When there is not enough blood reaching the coronary arteries (which supply blood to the heart muscle), a person can develop chest pain (angina) or myocardial infarction.

When there is not enough blood reaching the kidneys, they do not properly dispose of body waste products such as urea and creatinine, so the blood levels of these substances increase.

Shock occurs when blood pressure remains low, resulting in rapid failure of organs such as kidneys, liver, lungs or brain. For example when there is severe bleeding, with great loss of blood.

When a person is sitting or lying down and up, symptomatic hypotension may occur. This happens because when standing, blood pools in the lower body and this can cause pressure to drop momentarily.

If the pressure is already low, the fact of standing up can make the blood pressure to come down even more to the point of producing symptoms. This is called orthostatic hypotension. Healthy people make up this quickly so that the pressure returns to normal soon.

Causes of low blood pressure

The main causes of hypotension are the diseases that reduce blood volume or the amount of blood pumped by the heart and drugs.

1. Hypotension due to reduced blood volume


Dehydration can occur in people with diarrhea who lose large amounts of water in your stool, especially when associated with vomiting. Dehydration can also occur due to repeated vomiting.

Other causes of dehydration include exercise, sweating, fever and heat stroke. People with mild dehydration may experience only thirst and dry mouth. A moderate to severe dehydration may cause orthostatic hypotension. Severe dehydration can cause shock, kidney failure, confusion, acidosis, coma and even death.

Moderate or severe bleeding

The loss of blood caused by bleeding can lead to hypotension.

If the bleeding is severe, it can produce a shock quickly.

Severe swelling of internal organs

Acute pancreatitis is an example. The liquid passes from the blood to the inflamed pancreas and abdominal cavity lowers the blood volume.

2. Hypotension due to heart disease.

Weakened heart muscle

This can cause failure of the heart, so reducing the amount of blood can be pumped.

This weakness of the myocardium may occur due to extensive myocardial infarction or multiple small strokes that make the infarcted zone inoperable. Other causes include: certain medications toxic to the heart, infections of the myocardium (heart muscle) and cardiac valve disease.


It is an inflammation of the pericardium (the membrane that surrounds the heart). Pericarditis can cause a buildup of fluid in the pericardium and around the heart, preventing the heart from pumping blood properly.

Pulmonary embolism

Occurs when a blood clot in a vein travels to the heart and lungs, blocking the flow of blood from the lungs into the left ventricle, so reducing the amount of blood the heart can pump.


It consists of a slowing heart rate. The resting heart beats at a rate of between 60 and 100 beats per minute. When the pressure drops below 60 there is a bradycardia which may produce hypotension, dizziness and fainting.

Rapid heartbeat

A very high heart rate can also lead to hypotension. For example, when an atrial fibrillation ocurrs, which is characterized by rapid and irregular electrical discharge that starts from the heart muscle, rather than from the SA node (sinoatrial node) and causes the ventricles to contract very quickly and, generally, irregularly. By shrinking so rapidly, they do not have time to fill, so the amount of blood pumped is limited.

3. Drugs that may cause hypotension

- Medications such as beta blockers, calcium channel or lanoxin.
- Drugs used to treat hypertension.
- Diuretics, because they can decrease blood volume.
- Alcohol and narcotics.

4. Other disorders that may cause hypotension

Vasovagal reaction

It is a common response by which a healthy person may develop temporary hypotension, with slowing heart rate, and sometimes fainting.
It occurs due to intense emotions of fear or panic. The autonomic nervous system induces the release of hormones that slow the heart rate and dilate blood vessels.

Adrenal insufficiency

It may be due, for example, to Addison's disease.

This disease leads to destruction of the adrenal glands, which can not produce enough adrenal hormones (especially cortisol). Cortisol has many functions; one among them is the maintenance of blood pressure and heart function.

Addison's disease is characterized by weight loss, muscle weakness, fatigue, hypotension, and sometimes darkening of the skin.


It consists of a severe infection in which bacteria or other infectious organisms enter the blood. The infection usually originates in the lungs (eg pneumonia), bladder or abdomen due to diverticulitis or gallstones. The bacteria enter the blood and release toxins produced there severe hypotension (septic shock), often with damage to several organs.

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