For people suffering from long-term hypotension, their condition can effectively be addressed with lifestyle changes and diet.
Your doctor may advise you on doing or avoiding certain things to improve your blood pressure depending on how you happened to develop your symptoms. Some of these advices may include:
Taking in copious amounts of fluids bereft of alcohol content
Eating foods with a little more salt
More fluid intake while sick caused by a virus (the flu or a cold) or during hot weather.
Abstaining or limiting alcohol intake
Doing exercise on a regular basis to improve circulation
An assessment of over-the-counter or prescription drugs you are taking that may be causing your low blood pressure symptoms
Raising the head of your bed before sleeping at night by putting blocks or bricks under the legs on the head of your bed
Being careful when you rise up from a sitting or a lying position – To prevent you from getting orthostatic hypotension symptoms, pump your ankles and feet a number of times before you try to stand up. Stand up slowly, not suddenly. If you are rising from your bed, sit for some minutes on the edge of the bed before you stand up
Try not to strain yourself too much while you are on the toilet
Do not lift heavy objects
You can opt for more frequent but smaller meals to avoid postprandial hypotension symptoms like after-meal dizziness. Lessen your carbohydrate intake. Make it a point not to take high blood pressure drugs before eating. After you eat, rest for awhile.
Try not to take hot spas and hot showers and avoid being exposed to hot water for a long time. Sit down if you begin to feel dizzy. To be on the safe side, you can place a stool or chair inside the bathroom in case you may need to sit down. If possible select a stool or chair that will not tip over and especially made for use in the bathroom.
If you think you need to wear compression (elastic support) stockings that cover the thigh and calf then wear them. The stockings can slow down circulation down to the legs enabling more blood to stay in your upper body.
Drugs for Hypotension
The doctor may prescribe some medicines if he deems it can help you increase your blood pressure. Some of these drugs to treat low blood pressure include:
Midodrine – This drug stimulates nerves receptors on the veins and smallest arteries called arterioles to raise blood pressure. Milodrine addresses postural hypotension symptoms caused by problem of the nervous system helping improve the blood pressure of individuals.
Fludrocortisone – This drug is a type of steroid (mineralocorticosteroid) that has proven to be effective increasing the blood pressure of people with low blood pressure. Fludrocortisone enhances the body’s ability to retain sodium causing in the process some swelling and fluid retention – both are essential to help enhance blood pressure. However, better sodium retention can result in potassium loss. Hence, when taking fludrocortisones you also need to provide your body with sufficient amounts of potassium. One advantage of fludrocortisone as compared to prednisone or cortisone is that fludrocortisone does not have any anti-inflammatory attributes and is not a drug used for muscle building.
Acupuncture can be very beneficial for treating mild to moderate low blood pressure. It can also be used to address serious low blood pressure. This type of alternative medicine works by stimulating the production and release of certain neurotransmitters and body hormones. Acupuncture may be ineffective when the patient suffers from structural problems like Addison’s disease (or damaged adrenal gland) or when a person is malnourished or dehydrated. Usually, however, it is regularly utilized to address low blood pressure. According to traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) acupuncture is known to be a great force in regulating the blood pressure of a person regardless if his BP is low or high. TCM explains that the reason for this is acupuncture helps regulate the flow of blood and chi around the body. The view of western medicine towards acupuncture’s effect in stabilizing blood pressure is that acupuncture helps regulate the baroreceptors and hormone levels in the body to normalize low blood pressure.
Jamie Catlett is a licensed and board certified acupuncturist in Jacksonville, FL and the founder of Jacksonville Acupuncture Clinic.