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Living With...Low Blood Pressure

Understanding Low Blood Pressure

Hypotension is when your blood pressure is lower than normal. Low blood pressure can make you feel dizzy or faint. This condition is sometimes a side effect of taking certain medicines, including medicines for high blood pressure (hypertension). It can also happen from medical problems such as dehydration.

Home care

These steps can help manage your condition:

  • Follow your health care provider’s instructions.

  • Rest in bed and ask for help with daily activities until you feel better. You may need to slowly increase the amount of time you spend sitting or doing light activity.

  • Don’t drive while your blood pressure is not controlled.

  • Be careful when you get up from sitting or lying down.

    • Take your time. Sudden movements can cause dizziness or fainting.

    • When you first sit up after lying down, be sure to sit in bed for 30 seconds or so before getting up to walk.

  • Tell your health care provider about the medicines you are taking. Many kinds of medicines trigger low blood pressure.

  • Limit your alcohol intake to no more than 2 drinks a day for men and 1 drink a day for women. Alcohol can dehydrate you even further. It can also interfere with the effectiveness of medicines.

  • Prevent dehydration by drinking plenty of fluids, unless otherwise instructed by your health care provider.

  • Learn to take your own blood pressure. Keep a record of your results. Ask your health care provider which readings mean that you need medical attention.

  • Tell your family members to call an ambulance if you become unconscious. Ask that they learn CPR.

Follow-up care

Make a follow-up appointment as directed.

Call 911

Call 911 right away if you have:

  • Chest pain

  • Shortness of breath

When to call your healthcare provider

Call your healthcare provider right away if you have any of the following:

  • Dizziness or fainting spells

  • Black, maroon, or tarry stools

  • Irregular heartbeat

  • Stiff neck

  • Severe upper back pain

  • Diarrhea or vomiting that doesn’t go away

  • Inability to eat or drink

  • Burning sensation when you urinate

  • Urine with a strong, unpleasant odor

  • Fainting with exercise

Veterans with a My HealtheVet account, can monitor their blood pressure levels online. If you don’t have an account already, register today.

Author: StayWell Custom Communications
Last Annual Review Date: 5/1/2018
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