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

Ratings

How helpful is this page?

Average rating

Based on 398 ratings

All ratings

Add your rating

Comments

The 5 comments posted are personal views. Any information they give has not been checked and may not be accurate.

Asii said on 21 November 2014

I have problems with low blood pressure. One of my biggest issues is food. I don't feel hunger, and if I don't eat every 3-4 hours, I can become very ill. My bloodpressure falls really bad and I can become confused, weak in my body, I can become unfocused, irritated, and suddenly burst into tears. It feels like a pressure in my chest and my head becomes lighter, I need to lay down and raise my feet to get the blood flow back to my head.

Longer standing and working all day with effort craving things can also make me react. During the work I'm very effective and I give it my best, but after a while when I sit down or try to relax, I feel so knocked out, low bloodpressure knocked out. Weak in my body and confusion. If I have been stressing and active a whole day, I can have difficulties sleeping at night. Sometimes I'm awake for quite a while. Then I have to compensate for all lost sleep during the day.

My mornings are also very difficult. It takes me almost an hour to get up from bed if I wake up early to school or work. It's very painful because the weakness in the body come as a pain.

Lately I have started to notice blurred vision. I started wearing glasses a year, for my difficultie seeing from afar. But even with glasses I noticed my vision remains blurry, and this occurs along with other bloodpressure symptoms after a craving day.

I'm taking a medicin called Midodrine. Sometimes it helps me gain more energy during the day, but as soon as the medication is out of the body, I start feeling a fast drop in bloodpressure again. I have to take it every 4 hours. And while medication in body, I am not allowed to sleep or lay down in order to prevent the development of hypertension, and sleepless nights. I have been quite good at following this rule, but sometimes when I'm having a day off and need to rest an entire day, I don't take my pills in order to be able to rest thoroughly in bed.

Report this content as offensive or unsuitable

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 ????

Report this content as offensive or unsuitable

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.

Report this content as offensive or unsuitable

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.

Report this content as offensive or unsuitable

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.

Report this content as offensive or unsuitable

Useful links

Healthy eating

A healthy diet contains food from the five major food groups to give us the energy and nutrients we need