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Low Blood Pressure


Gena
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Just curious if there have been any studies of possible detrimental long term effects to the brain or any other parts of the body in people with chronic hypotension?

My BP when I'm lying down or sitting is usually in the low 80's /over low 50s. When I'm standing I run around 90/60. (These numbers were higher when I was on licorice root, but I'm giving my body a break from that)

I seem to function okay at this level, but at night while I'm sleeping my BP drops into the 70s/40s. I don't take any meds for BP, just salt, fluids, electrolytes.

At this point in time, the only really annoying and painful effect from the low BP is extreme headaches. In addition, I have some mild tachycardia and chest pain after eating or in the middle of the night. (I've had some very bad episodes, but just not recently, knock on wood)

I guess I'm just trying to determine if I should give in and try a med to elevate my BP, or since I'm able to work full-time and exercise daily, just not worry about any medication at this point. I wasn't sure if I was slowly killing all of brain cells, due to my low BP or not! :lol:

Thanks in advance for your feedback! :)

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Gena,

I read in a Dr. Gott column (he's a nationally syndicated MD) once that the lower your BP, the better, so long as you don't have symptoms. Since you're having headaches, maybe that's a sign that your BP is TOO low. He basically said your risk of nearly every disease goes down the lower your BP is.

I don't know if that makes you feel any better or not. I can see your concern, though, with lack of blood flow to the brain. Good question for your doctor.

Amy

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Specifically, does anyone know if the lack of adequate bloodflow and oxygen to the brain (due to hypotension) causes any damage over time or has any other serious consequences? Karyn, do you have any insight into this? :lol:

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I'd like to add that if you bp is low and you are functional, that's great and does lower many health risks. However, very low, like we have, or wide swings of high and low, isn't necessarily any better for you--and certainly leaves us non-functional. Also, extremely low bp increases stroke risk.

As for long term, no one has studied a group of us folks for a long enough period of time, in a systematic fashion, to be able to adequately respond to your orignal question about long term effects.

Nina

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Here's a Reuters Health Information Article. It mostly mentions high blood pressure but I copied the paragraphs below that mention low BP. The article is short and basically leaves the question unresolved and needing further study. Too many variables come into play.

http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/501235_print

Study Links Blood Pressure With Cognitive Decline

Both high and low diastolic pressures were linked with poorer performance on tests of executive function and confrontation naming by less-educated subjects; poorer performance on tests of perceptuo-motor speed and confrontation naming in subjects not receiving treatment with antihypertensive drugs; and poorer performance on measures of executive function in older subjects.

"Cross-sectional and longitudinal relations of blood pressure to cognitive function are predominantly nonlinear and moderated by age, education, and antihypertensive medications," the authors conclude. Monitoring and treatment of elevated or lower-than-normal blood pressure, they add, "may be critical to the preservation of cognitive function."

Hypertension 2005;45:374-379.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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Guest tearose

gosh Gena, this is soo my problem. I am having such low pressure. I can't add sodium so I am seeing a nutritionist that my medical team knows to see if we can add tiny amounts of licorice root.

The major question I also wonder about is similar to your question too.

"What are the long term effects of long term low blood pressure to the brain cells?" and

"Can the cells be re-awakened?... cause mine are ASLEEP!

I could not access the article mentioned yet, I'll go to the library and request it.

hope we find answers, tearose

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There isn't really any more to the Reuters article - it is a study abstract, less than one page in length and what I copied is all that is mentioned about low blood pressure.

Here is another relevant article http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/480720?src=search This article is about 1 page in length.

Diastolic Blood Pressure Control: How Low Is Too Low?

Posted 06/21/2004

Ari Mosenkis, MD; Raymond R. Townsend, MD

Here are a couple of comments from the article:

It is well established that controlling hypertension through the use of antihypertensive agents reduces morbidity and mortality. It has been further demonstrated that lowering systolic blood pressure (SBP) as well diastolic blood pressure (DBP) confers benefit.[1] In the late 1970s, reexamination of Framingham data revealed that whereas there is no level of SBP lowering that does not incrementally improve outcomes, such may not be the case for DBP

They found a higher incidence of cardiovascular disease events in those patients with isolated systolic hypertension whose DBPs were lowered to <70 mm Hg. In those patients whose DBPs were reduced to below 55 mm Hg, the relative risk of cardiovascular events nearly doubled. There are some problems with these data because, again, the numbers of patients who achieved DBP <55 mm Hg were small and a careful reading of this study suggests that levels of 45 mm Hg were not deleterious

Caution should reign when DBP hovers around 56-60 mm Hg because (as far as we can currently tell) that is the point at which risk may approach benefit. As always, it remains prudent to offer such patients aggressive control of their other cardiovascular risk factors.

These articles are found on using Medscape Search (www.medscape.com) hopefully you can access them. I always use the Advanced Search feature because you can sort by publish date and avoid sifting through old information.

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One last study summary that is again inconclusive. I hope I'm not scaring anyone but I too am concerned about permanent damage to my husband and brother-in-law. My husband has been struggling with Brain Fog a.k.a. Cognitive Impairment and has been taking Cerefolin with some noticeable improvement and no side effects. This summary article is only 3 paragraphs in length.

Journal Watch (General)

January 23, 2004

An Association Between Low BP and Alzheimer Disease?

People with low diastolic BP (</=70 mm Hg) had a significant doubling of risk for subsequent Alzheimer disease (relative risk, 1.91) compared with those who had normal diastolic BP (71-89 mm Hg).

Results of this study, along with those from a recently published study from Sweden (Arch Neurol 2003; 60:223), suggest that low diastolic BP is associated with increased risk for Alzheimer disease in elders. If this relation indeed can be verified, several questions remain: Does hypotension contribute to dementia via decreased cerebral perfusion? Alternatively, does hypotension result from BP dysregulation that might accompany dementia? Or, is the association not causal but, instead, mediated by unknown confounding factors? Until these questions are answered, it seems prudent to avoid excessive diastolic BP lowering in older patients.

http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/468549?src=search

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Another relevant article. http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/484814_1

Conference Report

Unraveling the Origin of Alzheimer's Disease

9th International Conference on Alzheimer's Disease and Related Disorders; July 17-22, 2004; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Posted 09/08/2004

Sara M. Mariani, MD, PhD

ONE OF THE PARADOXES LISTED IN THE ARTICLE

For example, increased blood pressure was expected to be associated with poor cognitive function in older individuals. Some studies have, however, reported an inverse association: Very high blood pressure was found to play an apparently protective role from AD, and a very low blood pressure to predispose to AD. In prospective association studies, the increased risk for very low blood pressure appeared to be approximately 4.7.

What to do? The Alzheimer's Association is calling for a campaign called "Maintain your brain" aimed at introducing changes in lifestyle that can help to reduce, whenever possible, the prevalence of these risk factors and thus delay or prevent the onset of AD.[12] Among them:

Weight loss and healthy food diet;

Reduction of cholesterol levels and high blood pressure; and

Complex leisure activities with physical, mental, and social interactivity components.

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BuddyLees Wife,

Thank you so much for posting the articles. My diastolic is normally in the 50s somtimes even 40s...so I guess I can look forward to getting old and losing my mind! :) Just kidding....I realize the study is inconclusive, but still something to be aware of.

Thanks to everyone for your comments.

Tearose, how low does your BP normally run? Also, you may want to ask your nutritionist about trying ashwaghanda (it's an adaptogenic herb that reportedly helps with increasing blood pressure). I take it now, but I don't think I take a high enough dose to be therapeutic. I have to do more research on it again, as it's been a while since I've read up on it.)

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Since I suffer from hypotension here is my personal take.

I think that if they could solve whatever factors are causing my low pressure then I wouldn't have the cognitive losses due to Oxygen and blood not getting to my brain. When my blood pressure is normal or above 100 lets say then I'm feeling and thinking pretty well.

I think Alzheimers is more related to age and other degeneration in the body. But I could be wrong.

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lack of cognitive function is one of my biggest symptoms...and lying down doesn't help it a whole heck of a lot...

this is the biggest reason i can't spend much time here right now...i can't focus.

i can't read at all mostly, and rely on books on tape and music. no tv, etc.

so, briar, i agree...i need more oxygen to my darn brain!

tea, i feel just like you...like my brain cells are dying off...and i want them back! i want that college degree to work for me again! :)

okay, well, i gotta hit the hay...

emily

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Guest tearose

Gena, my lows lately have been in the 70's/40's range. I am more like 90/60 in the am and then 70/50 by evening. This is in compression. (thanks for the supplement tip, how does this compare to licorice root?)

I'm trying to blame my recent surgical procedure for the lower lows, but that was a week ago now. I only recently began monitoring my bp on a more regular basis in preparation to take a supplement.

I notice that I have learned very well what my heart rate is after using the heart rate monitor for a couple of years for about 10 hours a day. I am managing fine without the monitor now. I hope to teach myself to know my bp as well after a several weeks.

So, during surgery my diastolic was down in the 30's I guess I'll have to work real hard to get those brain cells to wake up again!

briar, we should have an O2 bar at the dinet spa.

emily, you keep taking those small steps, you'll get to college! :)

take care all, tearose

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tea,

an o2 bar sounds good to me too! since most of us can't drink anyway!

another testament to my brain fog...my message didn't make sense! i WENT to college (thank goodness!!! i got sick one month after graduation...i'm so glad i at least got that finished before pots!). i got a fabulous education...it's just that some days i am soooo dippy i wonder where my brain is! it doen't help that i am blonde too! he-he.

okay, this is a bit off topic. oh well...

but...as for your lower bp...it took me a long, long time, as you know after surgery to regulate again. but, part of it was due to medication. after the anastesia the one med stopped working to help me...and instead caused the horrible nighttime drops in bp. have you changed any meds at all that could contribute? i think the anastesia changes our bodies so much...it's so weird.

my pots dr. says it's like you have to wait for the 'switch' to flip back on sometimes...and there isn't rhyme or reason as to why or when it happens!

so hopefully as you get farther away from your surgery date your bp will come back up...

em

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