This post follows on from my last one ‘I feel ill, is it because my blood pressure is high?’. I started that post by imagining I was suffering from a set of symptoms and wondering if they were being caused by my high blood pressure. In most cases, it turns out that high blood pressure is not causing the symptoms. If anything, it’s usually the other way around – the symptoms are causing the high blood pressure.
So, how might I feel if my blood pressure is low? Well, there’s quite a lot of overlap with symptoms which can be caused by high blood pressure. I might feel tired, dizzy, faint or have headaches. And just as I mentioned in my last post, there is a long list of other common ailments that will create the same symptoms. So is your blood pressure to blame?
So, let’s say you’re feeling tired, dizzy and have headaches. And you take your blood pressure whilst you are feeling like this and get a low reading. Is this any more useful than getting a high reading in this situation? The good news is that this is useful information. As I mentioned in my last post, feeling ill like this will tend to raise your blood pressure, so a high reading is not usually useful information. But a low reading may indicate why you are feeling ill.
What should you do next?
This depends. If you are feeling really unwell then do see a doctor as soon as you can as occasionally a low blood pressure can be a sign of serious illness. But this won’t be the case for most of us.
If you are taking medication to lower your blood pressure then you may be over-treated. This is a common problem. It often happens when medication is started or increased on the basis of one or two readings, often taken in a stressful situation (like a doctor’s surgery!). The app we are releasing soon will help you get an accurate home blood pressure reading so you will be able to see if you may be taking more medication than you need. If this is the case, a trip to your doctor with some home readings or the report from our app will hopefully start to get your medications readjusted.
Some people feel ill from low blood pressure and aren’t taking any medication to cause it. This is common in young women who tend to have relatively low blood pressure naturally. It’s difficult to treat but can be made even worse if you are dehydrated or skip meals. Our advice therefore often centres around getting those basics right first. Beyond that, there are some specialist medications which can help so it may be worth a chat with your doctor. The good news is that it often improves with time.
So, to answer the opening question, yes, if you have low blood pressure it may be why you are feeling ill.