How Do You Fix Low Blood Pressure?

Ask a Doctor

I have low blood pressure as a result of a thyroid condition. How do you raise your blood pressure if it's too low? How do you fix low blood pressure?

Doctor's Response

Usually, low blood pressure with no symptoms requires little intervention.

If low blood pressure is associated with chest pain, shortness of breath, or occurs because of active bleeding, treatment will occur at the same time as the diagnostic evaluation. These combinations may be truly life-threatening, and the healthcare provider may need to transfer the patient to an emergency department for further care. A patient with low blood pressure who is symptomatic may be considered to be in shock (a situation where organs can't function properly because of lack of blood supply).

Intravenous fluids and oxygen may be given, and heart monitoring may be necessary. Based upon the underlying complaints and potential diagnosis, specific therapy may be started even without a firm diagnosis. Examples include antibiotics for a patient with an infection, adrenaline and an antihistamine for a patient with an allergic reaction, or blood transfusion for a patient who is bleeding.

More often, a patient presents with a history of symptoms but is feeling normal upon presentation for care. In this circumstance, the healthcare provider has time to make a more specific diagnosis and match the treatment to the underlying cause of the low blood pressure.

If the blood pressure readings are abnormally low, observation in a hospital setting may be appropriate. This again will be dependent on the specific situation and patient presentation.

Diuretic medications [for example, hydrochlorothiazide (Hydrodiuril), furosemide (Lasix)] are used to control blood pressure by causing the kidneys to make more urine and decreasing the intravascular volume. If the patient loses too much water and becomes dehydrated, low blood pressure may result.

Beta blockers and calcium channel blockers are two commonly prescribed medications used for the treatment of high blood pressure. They may cause the heart to beat too slowly and thus cause hypotension. Any heart medication needs to be monitored by a healthcare provider to evaluate the body's response and to select the appropriate dose.

Medications like sildenafil (Viagra) in combination with nitroglycerin may cause blood vessel dilation and low blood pressure.

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Kaufmann, Horatio, et al. "Mechanisms, causes, and evaluation of orthostatic hypotension." UptoDate. Updated Feb. 2, 2015.