10 Ways You Can Treat Low Blood Pressure at Home
Recover from an episode of low blood pressure with these tried-and-true home treatments.
What causes low blood pressure?
While not discussed as often as high blood pressure, hypotension (or low blood pressure) is a medical condition that can cause uncomfortable symptoms and in extreme cases, have life-threatening consequences. Hypotension is often caused by prolonged bed rest, dehydration, infections, stress and anxiety, pregnancy, or as a side effect of certain medications. So, how do you know when you have low blood pressure? First, blood pressure levels below 90/60 mmHG are considered hypotensive, according to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. In addition, keep an eye out for common symptoms of hypotension, including lightheadedness and dizziness, fainting, lack of concentration, nausea, fatigue, laziness, palpitations, and difficulty or slow breathing. (Here are signs you could have low blood pressure.)
While some cases of hypotension require medical intervention, there are many quick home remedies for low blood pressure you can try on your own. However, make sure to talk to your doctor first. "There are medications that can help treat low blood pressure,"says Joy Gelbman, MD, a cardiologist at Weill Cornell Medicine and NewYork-Presbyterian in New York City.
Here are 10 home remedies for low blood pressure you may not be aware of.
Ingest adequate amounts of salt
Our body needs to receive an adequate amount of salt daily in order to function properly, balance fluids and prevent hypotension. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the average person probably already eats too much salt; you should try to consume no more than about 2,300 milligrams of sodium daily. (These are signs you’re getting too much sodium.) If you exercise regularly or experience symptoms of hypotension, adjusting or increasing your salt intake might help (under physician supervision, of course). Sports drinks or medical-grade hydration powders such as DripDrop, which contain salt and potassium, are additional treatments for low blood pressure. “Low blood pressure is generally a good thing as long as it's not too dramatic,” Dr. Gelbman says. "If you have low blood pressure, liberalize your salt intake a bit and always carry a salty snack."
Eat smaller, more regular meals
Some people who eat large, carb-heavy meals might experience a sudden BP drop immediately after eating, known as postprandial hypotension (a type of orthostatic hypotension), according to researchers from the Mayo Clinic. One treatment for low BP of this kind is eating smaller, low-carb meals throughout the day and adding health snack sessions between meals. Here are more smart ways to eat in moderation.
Change positions slowly
How do you know when you have low blood pressure? For starters, if you experience dizziness, blurred vision, and lightheadedness upon sitting or standing, orthostatic hypotension could be the culprit. One way to combat these symptoms is by changing positions slowly, says Dr. Gelbman. Upon waking, refrain from moving into an upright position immediately. Instead, slowly move yourself into a sitting position with your legs still completely on the bed. Stay in this position for at least 60 seconds to allow your body to adjust. Next, remain seated but slowly dangle your legs off of the bed. Stay in this position for one to two minutes before standing upright. Dizziness can also be a symptom of anemia.
Consider adding extra pillows
Did you know adding an extra pillow at bedtime is another great trick to combat hypotension? Sleeping with your head elevated above the level of your heart can help combat the effects of gravity, Dr. Gelbman explains. Here are the 10 best pillows for every type of sleeper.
Consider compression stockings
A quick home remedy for low BP is adding compression stockings or socks to your wardrobe. While not necessarily a fashion statement, these stockings and socks can greatly improve hypotension symptoms by adding pressure to your legs. This pressure in turn helps increase the movement of blood throughout your entire body."These stockings press blood flow back up toward the heart, improving circulation and increasing blood pressure," Dr. Gelbman says. Compression stockings are also a known treatment for preventing DVT.
Add coffee to your regimen
Believe it or not, drinking a cup or coffee, cola, or caffeinated tea is a fast-acting low blood pressure treatment option. It can help get your circulation moving and drinking caffeine along with meals might assist in combatting orthostatic hypotension, according to researchers at the Mayo Clinic. Here’s exactly how much coffee you can drink daily before it gets dangerous.
Drink more fluids
With dehydration the culprit behind many hypotension episodes, drinking more fluids is crucial in preventing low blood pressure. Increasing water intake, or adding electrolyte-packed drinks such as coconut water, might help prevent symptoms and is a quick low blood pressure treatment you can try at home. “Your blood pressure may be low if you are dehydrated,” she says. “Drink lots of water especially on 100 degree days.” Here are more creative ways to stay hydrated and drink more water.
Try the scissor and squeeze
If you find yourself standing in line and experiencing symptoms of hypotension, try the scissor and squeeze technique. Cross your thighs in a scissor-like fashion and then squeeze as tight as you can, Dr. Gelbman says. If applicable, you can also try lying flat and propping your ankles on any object that would raise them higher than the level of your heart. Both of these low BP treatment options are easy to do and work quickly.
Avoid certain situations
Did you know scary, upsetting, or unpleasant situations can also cause a temporary drop in blood pressure called neurally mediated hypotension? Removing yourself from the situation or implementing lifestyle changes can help, according to researchers at the Mayo Clinic. Try these 15 5-second strategies for shutting down stress ASAP.