Low blood pressure (hypotension)

Low blood pressure is a reading of 90/60mmHg or less. It doesn't always cause symptoms, but you may need treatment if it does.

Get your blood pressure checked if you keep getting symptoms like:

  • light-headedness or dizziness
  • feeling sick
  • blurred vision
  • generally feeling weak
  • confusion
  • fainting

This might mean your blood pressure is too low.

If you get symptoms when you stand up or suddenly change position, you may have postural hypotension.

How to check your blood pressure

You can check your blood pressure:

  • by asking if your pharmacist can do it
  • by asking your practice nurse or GP to do it
  • at home yourself, using a home blood pressure monitor – Blood Pressure UK has information about choosing a blood pressure monitor

Low blood pressure is a measurement of 90/60mmHg or lower.

Find out more about what your blood pressure reading means.

If you're 40 to 74 years old, you should have your blood pressure checked at least once every 5 years as part of the NHS Health Check.

See a GP if:

  • you have low blood pressure and keep getting symptoms such as dizziness

Treatment for low blood pressure depends on the cause

If a cause can be found, your GP will be able to recommend treatment to ease your symptoms.

For example, they may suggest:

  • changing medication or altering your dose, if medication is the cause
  • wearing support stockings – this can improve circulation and increase blood pressure

Medication to increase blood pressure is rarely needed because simple lifestyle measures or treating the underlying cause is usually effective.

How to ease low blood pressure symptoms yourself

Do

  • get up slowly from sitting to standing
  • take care when getting out of bed – move slowly from lying to sitting to standing
  • raise the head of your bed by about 15cm (6 inches) with bricks or heavy books
  • eat small, frequent meals – lying down or sitting still for a while after eating may also help
  • increase the amount of water you drink

Don't

  • sit or stand for long periods
  • bend down or change posture suddenly
  • drink caffeinated drinks at night
  • drink too much alcohol

Causes of low blood pressure

Your blood pressure can vary depending on the time of day – it gradually increases throughout the day. What you're doing and how you're feeling can also affect it.

There are many possible causes of low blood pressure. It may be low because you're fit and healthy, or you may have inherited it from your parents.

Some people develop low blood pressure as they get older.

It can also be caused by:

  • being pregnant
  • some medical conditions, such as diabetes
  • some types of medication

Call 111

If you can’t speak to your GP or don’t know what to do next.

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