Low blood pressure, dementia,

Ask the Doc: Low Blood Pressure

Ask the Doc: Low Blood Pressure

© 2006 Wellness Clubs of America.com

At a recent doctor visit I was told that I have low blood pressure. I feel fine, but I’m concerned. What does low blood pressure cause and what can I do to correct it? L. S.

Dear L. S.: Acceptable levels of blood pressure vary widely. Blood pressures in children are commonly less than 90/60 and can be normal at even lower levels. Many healthy women routinely run blood pressures of 80/50. Since you state that you are feeling fine your blood pressure is almost certainly normal for you.

Because low blood pressures cause less “wear and tear” on the arteries, you are at a lower than average risk for hardening of the arteries leading to stroke, heart attack, or kidney failure. The only challenge you may face is experiencing light-headedness when rising quickly from a lying or sitting position. This can be minimized by drinking optimum amounts of water and pumping your feet a few times to get blood that may have pooled in your feet flowing again before standing.

If you are taking a blood pressure lowering medication it would be wise to decrease the dosage. People who have blood pressures lowered to 120/70 or less by medication risk severe dizziness or fainting when changing positions. This can result in an injury due to falling.  In additiona, as the lower number (the diastolic) falls the risks of stroke and dementia increase.  The risk of developing Alzheimer's Disease is 4 times greater if the diastolic blood pressure is lowered to 60 with medication than if if it is lowered to 85.  -Dr. Peterson

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