Harvard Heart Letter

Ask the doctor: Is low blood pressure a problem?

Ask the doctor

Is low blood pressure a problem?

Q. You are always talking about high blood pressure. Mine is always on the low side, about 80/60. Is that a problem?

A. Healthy blood pressure is defined as anything under 120/80 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg). Yours certainly falls in that category. Whether it is too low depends on how you feel.

Low blood pressure is a serious problem when the pressure suddenly drops from normal to low, as happens with dehydration, blood loss, or shock. Chronically low blood pressure is worrisome when it is accompanied by symptoms such as dizziness or fainting. This can be a sign of an underactive or overactive thyroid gland, poorly functioning adrenal glands, anemia, mild dehydration, a low heart rate, and other conditions. It can also be caused by medications, especially those used to lower blood pressure.

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