What is Hypotension?

Blood pressure is the force of blood pushing against the walls of the arteries as the heart pumps out blood. If it is lower than normal then it is called as low blood pressure or hypotension.

In physiology and medicine, hypotension is abnormally low blood pressure. This is best understood as a physiologic state, rather than a disease. It is often associated with shock, though not necessarily indicative of it. Hypotension is the opposite of hypertension, which is high blood pressure.

Blood pressure is continuously regulated by the autonomic nervous system, using an elaborate network of receptors, nerves, and hormones to balance the effects of the sympathetic nervous system, which tends to raise blood pressure, and the parasympathetic nervous system, which lowers it. The vast and rapid compensation abilities of the autonomic nervous system allow normal individuals to maintain an acceptable blood pressure over a wide range of activities and in many disease states.

For most adults, the healthiest blood pressure is at or below 115/75 mmHg. A small drop in blood pressure, even as little as 20 mmHg, can result in transient hypotension.

Evaluation of neurocardiogenic syncope is done with a tilt table test.

Further Reading


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Last Updated: Feb 1, 2011

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