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March 5th, 2009
12:20 PM ET

Can low blood pressure be dangerous?

As a new feature of CNNhealth.com, our team of expert doctors will answer readers’ questions. Here’s a question for Dr. Gupta.

Asked by Bella, Buffalo, New York

"Dr. Gupta,
Everyone always talks about high blood pressure, but I have a question about low blood pressure. I am 21, female, eat very healthy, not intensely athletic, but I do cardio every morning and my blood pressure is 90/60. I am dizzy every morning when I wake up, and if I sit for too long, I am dizzy when I stand up. Is this a problem, and is there something I should be doing differently?"

Answer:

Thanks Bella for writing in. I am a little concerned about what you are writing. Blood pressure can be a tricky thing to understand because levels categorized as “too high” or “too low” in one person, may be normal for someone else.

Once a person establishes his or her baseline number, it’s important to consult with a health-care provider to evaluate its specific impact.

A normal blood pressure is essential to your heart because it promotes and allows healthy blood flow. And you are right–typically you hear people talking about the dangers of HIGH blood pressure because it can lead to heart disease. But low blood pressure, known as hypotension, can be dangerous as well.

What’s too low? Anything below 90/60mm. Experts say that if you have a low BP level and are experiencing dizziness, fatigue, nausea it could be a sign of serious underlying conditions such as a heart condition, blood infection or damage to your nervous system. It is best to be evaluated to determine what could be the trigger.

For those not experiencing symptoms, a low BP level is rarely of concern. You can boost your blood pressure levels naturally by staying hydrated throughout the day and increasing the amount of sodium in your diet.


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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.