This Morning: Dr Chris discusses blood pressure and dementia
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Blood pressure often rises as we grow old, causing a myriad of unpleasant symptoms. If left unattended, sustained high pressure can lead to life-changing conditions such as heart disease or heart attacks. Low blood pressure also comes with attached risks, and people should understand how they can give it a much-needed boost.
What should you do if your blood pressure is too low?
Blood pressure will go through the motions on most days, starting low and rising into the evening.
Scientists and health professionals have arrived at an ideal “normal” blood pressure range by measuring the heart when it beats and rests.
They arrive at numerical values of mercury (mmHg), with an ideal range of 120/80mmHg.
Experts often disagree on what constitutes “low” pressure, but this lies somewhere below 90 mmHg systolic or 60 mmHg diastolic.
People who find their average pressure consistently dips below this range may experience regular bouts of dizziness or fainting.
They may also find they feel faint, dizzy, experience blurred vision, nausea, fatigue or a lack of concentration.
These can all degrade people’s quality of life, and there are several potential causes.
They may include:
- Heart problems
- Blood loss
- Severe infections
- Nutrient deficiencies
- Endocrine issues
Some medications may also cause blood pressure to drop over time.
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Correcting low blood pressure is relatively straightforward and may require a few lifestyle changes.
If dehydration is making them feel faint, they should drink more water.
And if they have nutrient deficiencies, such as a lack of sodium, they can introduce more of them to their diet.
Health professionals often recommend adding more salt to their diets, as reducing sodium reduces blood pressure in kind.
People may also benefit from eating more, as pressure lowers without proper and regular eating.
Anyone experiencing low blood pressure symptoms after starting a new medication should discuss changing it with their doctor.
The NHS states blood pressure may change when people move from resting to activity too quickly.
Taking care when standing up from sitting or lying down may help alleviate blood pressure symptoms.
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