Low blood pressure (hypotension) - Symptoms 

Symptoms of low blood pressure 

If your blood pressure is naturally low, it's unlikely it will cause you any symptoms or require treatment.

However, low blood pressure can sometimes mean there's not enough blood flowing to your brain and other vital organs, which can lead to symptoms such as:

  • dizziness
  • lightheadedness
  • unsteadiness, or feeling of loss of balance
  • fainting 
  • blurred vision
  • a rapid, or irregular heartbeat (palpitations) 
  • confusion
  • feeling sick (nausea)
  • general weakness

If you experience symptoms of low pressure after changing positions, such as standing up, it is known as postural, or orthostatic, hypotension.

Symptoms shouldn't last longer than a few seconds as your blood pressure will adjust to your new position. This type of low blood pressure tends to affect people more as they get older, when it can lead to more frequent falls. Similar symptoms may also occur after exercise.

If you experience symptoms after eating, it's known as postprandial hypotension and occurs more often in older people, particularly in those who have high blood pressure or conditions such as Parkinson's disease and diabetes

After a meal, your intestines need a large amount of blood for digestion. If your heart rate does not increase enough to maintain blood pressure, your blood pressure will fall, causing symptoms.

Some people experience symptoms after standing up for long periods of time. This is sometimes known as neurally mediated hypotension and most often affects children and young adults.

Read more about causes of low blood pressure.

What to do if you have symptoms

If you think you may be experiencing an episode of low blood pressure you should:

  • stop what you're doing
  • sit or lie down
  • drink some water

The symptoms will usually pass after a few seconds or minutes.

When to see your GP

You should see your GP if you have frequent symptoms of low blood pressure. Your GP can measure your blood pressure and help identify any underlying causes of the problem.

Read more about diagnosing low blood pressure.

Page last reviewed: 18/07/2013

Next review due: 18/07/2015

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The 4 comments posted are personal views. Any information they give has not been checked and may not be accurate.

User809143 said on 05 October 2013

Hi there...i had headachs since last 4 months its on and off sometimes i feel nausea then all of sudden my mouth taste change its become bitter yesterday i was having bath i laye down in bath about 45 min and then i got up all of sudden i felt nausea and its like my head start diziness then i came out from bath i wanted to come out and i fell down my wife heard somthing banged on the door she was asking me whats goin on i could just hear her but couldnt understand what is she saying then i came out opened the door by myself i asked my wife who opened she goes i opened then called the ambulance they came done ecg checked blood pressure and they came to know my blood pressure is low and pulse rate is
down all i wana know is this related to my head or it happend coz of my low blood pressure ????

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Cybermintz said on 02 June 2013

@KatyJ - I've had the same symptoms and it was diagnosed as a migraine headache. As you are taking the contraceptive pill, your doctor needs to know that you are experiencing the symptoms of a migraine headache. My suggestion is that you make an appointment with your doctor, within the next few days as another type of contraceptive pill could be more suitable for you.

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KatyJ1984 said on 28 March 2013

Is it normal for low bloody pressure to persist, i have had headache for last 7 days on and off but i keep loosing vision but its more a feeling of lightheadedness and feeling of been sick, when my vision gets distorted i get a hurrendous headache which lasts about 20-30 minutes, then i am ok again or could these effects be my contreceptive pill of which i been on for 9 months.

Any suggestions would be appreciated.

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perryman said on 08 March 2012

I have indicated that Ihave found this artical very helpful but would like to know if there is a connection between prostate cancer and low blood pressure.

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