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Diet for a Patient With Low Blood Pressure

by
author image Hannah Rice Myers
Based in Jamestown, Pa., Hannah Rice Myers has more than 10 years of experience as a freelance writer, specializing in the health industry. Many of her articles have appeared in newspapers, as well as "Curing Epilepsy: Hope Through Research." Rice Myers received her master's degree in nursing from Upstate Medical University in 2001.
Diet for a Patient With Low Blood Pressure
Dehydration can result in low blood pressure. Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images

Low blood pressure, medically known as hypotension, is a rare condition, according to Cleveland Clinic. The more common health problem is hypertension, high blood pressure, for which millions of Americans take medication to manage. More than one type of low blood pressure exists, some of which can be managed by eating according to the cause of your condition.

Normal Blood Pressure Readings

When measuring blood pressure, your doctor looks at both your systolic and diastolic pressure, the top and bottom numbers respectively. Your systolic measures the amount of pressure when your heart beats, while your diastolic measures the amount of pressure in your arteries between heart beats. A normal pressure is 120/80, although 115/75 is optimal. Hypotension is a systolic of 90, or diastolic of 60, but only one pressure has to be low for your doctor to consider your blood pressure in the low range. For example, 115/50 might be considered hypotension, according to MayoClinic.com.

Types of Low Blood Pressure

Postural hypotension occurs suddenly when you sit or stand sudden from a lying position. Causes include dehydration, diabetes, pregnancy, heart problems and excessive heat. Postprandial hypotension is a sudden drop in pressure after eating. The last two types -- neurally mediated and multiple system atrophy with orthostatic hypotension -- are not related to diet. Chronic hypotension not related to a specific disease, such as Parkinson's, can often be treated with dietary changes, explains MDGuidelines.

Dehydration

Treating dehydration can boost your blood pressure, raising it to a healthy level. Typical causes include viral infections such as diarrhea, loss of fluids from excessive heat or vigorous exercise and participation in sporting events. Diabetes Mellitus may cause increased urination, another cause of dehydration. Increasing your water intake is the best treatment for diarrhea, while drinks containing electrolytes are better for excessive heat or exercise-related dehydration, explains MayoClinic.com. Prior to exercise drink one to three glasses of fluid and another 16 to 20 oz. while exercising. Continue drinking at regular intervals through the day when finished.

Small Meals

Eating small meals frequently may help reduce the amount of incidents of low blood pressure following your meals. Limit the amount of of carbohydrates you consume, such as potatoes, rice and pasta. These cause a sharp rise and fall in your blood sugar levels, which affect your blood pressure as well. Choose more fruits, vegetables and whole grains such as whole grain bread, brown rice, oats and legumes. This diet may work well if you experience frequent urination due to diabetes mellitus. Keeping your blood sugar levels steady may prevent your blood pressure from dropping.

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