Causes of Low Blood Pressure and Bad Circulation

Blood pressure refers to the force exerted by blood circulating into the blood vessels. Low blood pressure, also called hypotension, is when the flow of blood is lower than normal and may prevent the proper amount of oxygen and nutrients from pumped to the vital organs. Bad circulation is often a related condition that refers to the hardening of the artery walls, which may prevent blood flow through the body. Low blood pressure does not necessarily cause poor circulation, however, the Mayo Clinic indicates that the two conditions may exist in certain conditions such as peripheral artery disease.

Someone is checking their blood pressure. (Image: Dejan_Dundjerski/iStock/Getty Images)


According to the Mayo Clinic, dehydration is a possible cause of low blood pressure. Dehydration occurs when the body loses more water than it takes in. The result is weakness, fatigue and an eventual drop in blood pressure. Blood pressure is lowered during dehydration due to the lack of oxygen reaching the body tissues. If untreated, a more serious and life-threatening condition called hypovolemic shock may occur.

Nutrient Deficiency

Nutritional deficiencies may lead to low blood pressure. The American Heart Association indicates that a lack of essential vitamins such as B-12 and folic acid may cause anemia and lead to low blood pressure. This is a result of the body not producing enough red blood cells to replenish the system. Nutritional deficiencies may be easily corrected with improved diet or supplements.

Artery Disease

The Mayo Clinic indicates that peripheral artery disease is a common circulatory problem causing poor circulation in the extremities of the body. Circulation is blocked due to the arteries narrowing, resulting in a reduction of blood flow to the outer limbs. Peripheral artery disease is treatable with physician consultation and lifestyle change.

Peripheral Vascular Disease

There are two types of circulation disorders referred to as peripheral vascular diseases. The American Heart Association recognizes the circulation disorders as either functional or organic. Functional peripheral vascular diseases are those that may be short-term and caused by cold temperatures, stress and smoking. The organic vascular diseases are more serious and caused by changes in the blood vessels. They include Inflammation and build up of fat in the arteries, causing a block of blood flow. Both forms of vascular disease contribute to possible circulation problems, though each may be treated with medications or lifestyle changes.

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