Low blood pressure and fainting may or may not go together. Whether they do or not, mostly depends on the timing, much less on a diagnosis.
You may not have hypotension diagnosis, but…
… you may have all the symptoms of low blood pressure. You may have
- increased risk of falls
- higher risk for dementia
- chronic fatigue
- hair loss
- brittle nails and even
- weak immune system
Wait a second! How is it possible to have low blood pressure symptoms without hypotension diagnosis? Simple. Your doctor may not have not tested you correctly.
In fact, you may even think you have high blood pressure as evidenced by the multiple heart pills you are taking, yet you may experience low blood pressure symptoms on top of hypertension!
Why low blood pressure symptoms are stronger at night
Blood pressure has a diurnal rhythm that adjusts to our activity level. It keeps higher during the day, and settles down at night. This is a normal and a healthy cardiovascular pattern.
People who experience lowering blood pressure phenomenon at night are called dippers. There are two types of dippers (normal and extra-dippers). Normal dippers have low heart disease risk, but extra dippers don’t.
There are also non-dippers, people who don’t experience diurnal BP cycle. These, contrary to simple logic, also have elevated heart risks.
Since in most people blood pressure goes down at night, it is obvious that any low blood pressure symptoms will be more pronounced at that time. Fortunately, most people sleep at night and don’t notice any side effects of BP dips.
When low blood pressure makes you faint at night
Imagine sleeping comfortably, when suddenly your bladder wakes you up. You try to suppress it, but the call is urgent. You have to get up. So you do, but then… you black out.
Blacking out on getting up, especially at night is very common. This not-so-unusual phenomenon is frequently rooted in postural hypotension.
Postural hypotension (PH) is a fancy name for a sudden drop in blood pressure that exceeds 10-20 points. PH may have different presentations. While PH during the day may give you only a sudden flash of stars, at night it may cause you to faint.
Who is most prone to postural hypotension?
This statistics is especially relevant to young adults as well as the elderly. It is also very relevant to people on multiple heart medications as those experience the greatest threat of blood pressure fluctuations. People with degenerative diseases such as diabetes and Parkinson’s are also on top of the list for the risk of postural hypotension.
What causes low blood pressure?
Postural hypotension is not only very common, but it is also health-predictive. In fact, the pattern of blood pressure fluctuations can tell whether you are in good, or bad health.
Low blood pressure is seldom a sign of good health. It carries too many long-term side effects to be considered a friend.
To research your causes, follow the posts listed below. For a comprehensive approach to restoring blood pressure to normal, follow the steps outlined in Revived!
- Why does my blood pressure fluctuate?
- Common causes of fluctuating blood pressure
- Common causes for a weak heart
- What hides behind erratic numbers
- Foods that combat fluctuations
- Diet for adrenal fatigue that works
- Hypoglycemia symptoms for non-diabetics
Why postural hypotension, fainting, and bathroom trips go together
While living with a mildly low blood pressure is not immediately perilous, waking up in the middle of the night with low numbers may prove to be disastrous. That’s because the bladder and blood pressure are related.
Did you know that the act of peeing makes postural hypotension worse? That’s why you may get up and get to the bathroom without any problems, but the minute you pee, you may see starts, or worse, keel over from sudden drop of blood pressure caused by voiding of the bladder.
About one in ten people faint at least once in their lifetime during urination. This happens more to older individuals, because blood pressure, bladder control, and nervous system stability gets worse with age.
12% of such falls end up with injuries. The most unfortunates end up with broken bones, while the lucky ones escape with minor cuts and bruises.
How to avoid fainting from low blood pressure at night
Here are little tips that can help you avoid fainting at night (and even during the day). You don’t have to use all of them at ones. Pick only the ones that are the best suited for your situation.
- Drink enough water during the day to prevent dehydration; dehydration contributes to low blood pressure symptoms
- Avoid drinking alcohol at night; alcohol is dehydrating
- Do not go to bed hungry; eat something before retiring; low blood sugar can contribute to blood pressure drops; here is a perfect snack
- Do not avoid salt; it can keep your pressure higher; different salt types
- Ask your doctor to switch timing of your heart medication to prevent overly pronounced drop of blood pressure at night
- Keep your bedroom cooler; heat causes sweating, which can contribute to dehydration
- Urinate before going to bed; this may prevent you from having to rush to the bathroom in the middle of the night when the blood pressure is the lowest
- Wear compression socks to bed especially if you have varicose veins; compression socks will prevent blood from pooling in the legs;
- Add cayenne powder to your socks at night; this trick improves circulation
- For long term improvement of circulation in the legs consider wet socks, a grandma therapy for poor circulation;
- If you have to go at night sit down in bed first and then lean forward; stay like that for a minute and then get up slowly; this maneuver prevents rapid blood pressure drops
- Do not strain while on a toilet; straining activates vagus nerve that slows down the heart; vagus activation means even more low blood pressure symptoms
- Sit down when coughing; coughing slows down heart rate in the same way straining does, by activating vagus nerve
- Slow down your morning get ups; start with rotating your ankles and moving your feet up and down; this will push blood that has pooled up the legs
- If you start blacking out after standing hold on to something and bend forward; this rushes the blood to the head giving you some extra time to sit down safely
For more tips and solutions, get the primer on low blood pressure: Revived!
Health troubles are seldom random
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