Low blood pressure equally dangerous – expert

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A public health physician with the National Blood Transfusion Service (NBTS),  Dr Baba Ahmed, has said  that severe low blood pressure left untreated could lead to long term brain damage.

Ahmed said in Abuja that such a condition could also restrict blood flow to the brain and other vital organs.

He said further that low blood pressure in pregnancy could cause complication and lead to stillbirth, adding that hypotension or low blood pressure could be as dangerous as hypertension.

He, however, advised the public especially those with such a condition to be conscious of their health and condition by going for regular check-up with a qualified doctor for proper management.

“Just like any other disease, if low blood pressure is not treated timely, it can cause complications such as long term damage to the brain, heart and other organs.

“Hypotension is the medical term for low blood pressure; while blood pressure is the force of pushing blood against the walls of the blood vessels as the heart pumps.

“As such the heart is going to contract and then relax; this contraction and relaxation is what we hear as heart beat. So for optimal blood to be pumped out, it must be between certain range of the blood pressure,” Ahmed explained.

He said if the blood pressure was higher than normal; “it becomes hypertension but if it is lower it is called hypotension.”

Ahmed said that normal range for blood pressure was between 90/60 for the lower point to the higher point of 140/90, adding that the number in the front is diastolic.

He also said that the higher number was the contraction point saying “at that point the pressure goes up while it comes down when the contraction relaxes.”

According to him, for a diagnosis of a low blood pressure to be made, the blood pressure must be lower than 90/60.

He said that “for low blood pressure to be considered as abnormal, there could be signs like dizziness, fainting, coldness of the skin, loss of sight and lack of coordination.

“This is because the people that have normal low blood pressure do not feel any problem; it does not affect their normal activity.

Ahmed said that physical activities could also contribute to the fluctuation of normal blood pressure as such could lead to much stress.

“Other factors are age; conditions like disease process and gender as well as substance abuse among others; so all these factors affect normal blood pressure.

“Heart problems such as low heart rate, heart valve problems, heart attack and heart failure prevent sufficient circulation of blood in the body and trigger low blood pressure.

“Others are diabetes; dehydration due to fever, diarrhoea, vomiting and strenuous exercise among others, which can lead to sudden drop in blood pressure,” he said.

Ahmed also said severe infections that spread through the bloodstream could cause low blood pressure leading to poor circulation and lack of perfusion of vital tissues and organs.

He described perfusion as the process of a body delivering blood to a capillary bed in its biological tissue

He also said anaemia caused by lack of vitamin B12 and foliate leading to insufficient production of red blood cells could cause low blood pressure.

Ahmed said pregnancy could sometimes cause low blood pressure because the hormone progesterone dilates the walls of the blood vessels; a common feature during the first 24 weeks of pregnancy.

He advised that people should go for check up whenever they experienced signs like dizziness, fainting, coldness of the skin, loss of sight and lack of coordination among others.

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