How Do I Know if I Have Low Blood Pressure?
Depending on the cause of your symptoms, your doctor may tell you to increase your blood pressure by making these simple changes:
- Eat a diet higher in salt.
- Drink lots of nonalcoholic fluids.
- Limit alcoholic beverages.
- Drink more fluids during hot weather and while sick with a viral illness, such as a cold or the flu.
- Have your doctor evaluate your prescription and over-the-counter medications to see if any of them are causing your symptoms.
- Get regular exercise to promote blood flow.
- Be careful when rising from lying down or sitting. To help improve circulation, pump your feet and ankles a few times before standing up. Then proceed slowly. When getting out of bed, sit upright on the edge of the bed for a few minutes before standing.
- Elevate the head of your bed at night by placing bricks or blocks under the head of bed.
- Avoid heavy lifting.
- Avoid straining while on the toilet.
- Avoid standing still in place for long periods of time.
- Avoid prolonged exposure to hot water, such as hot showers and spas. If you get dizzy, sit down. It may be helpful to keep a chair or stool in the shower in case you need to sit; to help prevent injury, use a nonslip chair or stool designed for use in showers and bath tubs.
- To avoid problems with low blood pressure and lessen episodes of dizziness after meals, try eating smaller, more frequent meals. Cut back on carbohydrates. Rest after eating. Avoid taking drugs to lower blood pressure before meals.
- If needed, use elastic support (compression) stockings that cover the calf and thigh. These may help restrict blood flow to the legs, thus keeping more blood in the upper body.
- Fludrocortisone . Fludrocortisone is a medication that seems to help most types of low blood pressure. It works by promoting sodium retention by the kidney, thereby causing fluid retention and some swelling, which is necessary to improve blood pressure. But this sodium retention also causes a loss of potassium. So when taking fludrocortisone, it's important to get enough potassium each day. Fludrocortisone has none of the anti-inflammatory properties of cortisone or prednisone and does not build muscle like anabolic steroids.
- Midodrine . Midodrine activates receptors on the smallest arteries and veins to produce an increase in blood pressure. It is used to help increase standing blood pressure in people with postural hypotension related to nervous system dysfunction.
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