How Do I Know if I Have Low Blood Pressure?
Low blood pressure is not always a sign of a problem. But if you have symptoms of low blood pressure, your doctor can diagnose the condition and uncover the cause. Symptoms of dizziness and lightheadedness when you stand up from sitting or lying down -- with a decrease in your blood pressure -- may indicate a condition called postural hypotension. A wide range of underlying conditions may also cause your symptoms. It's important to identify the cause of low blood pressure so appropriate treatment can be given. The doctor will look at your medical history, age, specific symptoms, and the conditions under which the symptoms occurred. He or she will do a physical exam and may perform repeated evaluations of your blood pressure and pulse rate -- after you've been lying down for a few minutes, right after you stand up, and within a few minutes after you stand quietly. Other tests may be performed, such as an ECG (electrocardiogram) to measureheart rate and rhythm and an echocardiogram (an ultrasound test to visualize the heart). You may also have blood tests to look for anemia or problems with yourblood sugar levels. More sophisticated home ECG monitoring (a Holter monitor or "event" monitor) may be necessary to check for heart problems that occur intermittently. An exercise stress test or -- less commonly -- an electrophysiology test (EP test) may also be helpful. Some forms of postural hypotension may require a test called a "tilt table" test. This test evaluates the body's reaction to position and changes in position. The person lies on a table, is safely strapped in, and the table is raised to an upright position for up to an hour. Blood pressure, heart rate, and symptoms are recorded. Often,medications are given to help guide treatment. What Are the Treatments for Low Blood Pressure?
For many people, chronic low blood pressure can be effectively treated with diet and lifestyle changes. Depending on the cause of your...
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