Dr Mark Porter discusses underlying issues for low blood pressure, and how it can be remedied.
Q: I am forever coming across advice on managing high blood pressure, but have yet to read anything on what to do if you have low blood pressure. Mine is low and makes me feel faint if I get up too quickly or stand for long periods. Doctors have been unable to find a cause. Is there medication I can take to help?
A: It is important to look for underlying causes of low blood pressure, which can range from anaemia and heart problems to side effects of medication (such as some drugs for prostate trouble in men, and overzealous treatment of high blood pressure in both sexes). Assuming your doctor has done this, the simplest trick is to add salt to your diet, both during cooking and at the table.
A few extra pinches a day is all it takes and it shouldn’t do you any harm if you are otherwise well (it can lead to fluid retention and worsen some underlying health conditions, so check with your GP first). Salt’s ability to raise blood pressure so effectively is the reason doctors normally advocate restricting it – but then you have the opposite problem to most of our patients.
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The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.
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Our health columnist, Dr Mark Porter, is one of the country’s best-known GPs.