What are the causes of low blood pressure among the elderly?

16 August 2014
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16 August 2014, Comments: 0

It is a known fact that the elderly are prone to issues in maintaining a stable blood pressure. While high blood pressure is considered common, some elderly can experience intermittent low blood pressure. This condition can become problematic when the symptoms start to manifest. The common symptoms include tiredness, dizziness, nausea and fainting. There are various causes for low blood pressure among the elderly that you should be familiar with so that you are prepared to provide the appropriate first aid care and treatment.

Dehydration

Dehydration can lead to low blood pressure in the elderly. This can occur due to poor eating habits which can be caused by various factors – dental issues, lack of hunger, depression, lack of access to food, poverty and diminished sense of taste or smell. Take note that the thirst mechanism might not function properly, thus the individual becomes dehydrated without even realizing it. There are also certain conditions that involves diarrhea or vomiting that can eventually lead to dehydration if they are not treated right away.

Bed rest

If the individual spends an extended time in bed due to certain illnesses, incapacitated state or injury, it can lead to severe orthostatic hypotension. It is important to note that this type of low blood pressure typically occurs when the individual tries to stand up after lying or sitting for a prolonged period of time. The individual must steadily stand up so that the body can adjust.

Low blood pressure

If the individual spends an extended time in bed due to certain illnesses, incapacitated state or injury, it can lead to severe orthostatic hypotension.

Eating

Post-prandial hypotension is quite common among the elderly. Take note that this type of low blood pressure can occur after a meal and believed to be caused by the blood that travels to the organs of digestion. Among healthy individuals, the body compensates for the change but the elderly can suffer from low blood pressure for an hour or so after a meal. Additionally, post-prandial hypotension is more likely to occur after breakfast or lunch.

Medications

There are some prescription medications that can cause low blood pressure among the elderly. The medications that are taken for the heart or high blood pressure including alpha blockers, calcium channel blockers, beta blockers, nitroglycerin, angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, diuretics and angiotensin II receptor blockers are known to lower down the blood pressure. Even narcotic medications, anti-anxiety drugs and medications for Parkinson’s disease can also result to low blood pressure.

Heart failure

If the heart is not pumping properly, it might not have the capacity to maintain the pressure in the arteries at an adequate level, thus resulting to low blood pressure. Even though this can occur at any age, heart failure is quite common among the elderly and often starts after a heart attack. This would surely require immediate emergency care by calling emergency assistance in order to save the life of the individual.

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