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Low blood pressure (hypotension)

Key points

  • Having low blood pressure means that the pressure within your arteries is lower than normal. If you’re not having symptoms, there’s no need for concern.
  • If your blood pressure becomes lower than usual for you, it can cause symptoms such as dizziness or fainting.
  • Sudden low blood pressure can happen when you stand up or after eating a meal. Certain medical conditions can result in low blood pressure too. 
  • There are lots of ways you can help yourself and medicines are rarely needed.

Animation: Having your blood pressure taken

Further information


  • What is low blood pressure? Blood Pressure Association., published 2008
  • Assessment of hypotension. BMJ Best Practice., published June 2013
  • Hypotension. PatientPlus., published 2013
  • What is hypotension? National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute., published 2010
  • Low blood pressure. American Heart Association., published March 2014
  • Orthostatic hypotension. The Merck Manuals., published May 2007
  • Pocock G, Richards C. Human physiology: The basis of medicine. Oxford: Oxford University Press; 1999
  • Kumar P, Clark M. Clinical medicine. 8th ed. Edinburgh: Saunders; 2012.
  • Blood pressure chart. Blood pressure UK., accessed 13 May 2014
  • Blood pressure measurement devices. Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA)., published December 2013
  • Diagnosis and management of hypertension. National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE). 17 June 2014.
  • Syncope. Medscape., published April 2014
  • The Task Force for the Diagnosis and Management of Syncope of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC). Guidelines for the diagnosis and management of syncope (version 2009). European Heart Journal (2009) 30, 2631–71. doi:10.1093/eurheartj/ehp298
  • Postural and postprandial hypotension. Medscape., published 2007
  • Tilt table testing. The Merck Manuals., published 2012
  • Orthostatic intolerance. Medscape., published 2011
  • Tilt table test. Syncope Trust And Reflex anoxic Seizures., published May 2014
  • Orthostatic hypotension. BMJ Best Practice., published June 2013
  • Diabetic neuropathy. Medscape., published July 2012
  • Blood pressure. British Heart Foundation., accessed 8 August 2012
  • What is high blood pressure? Blood pressure UK., accessed 13 May 2014
  • High Blood Pressure. The Merck Manuals., published 2013
  • The Pregnancy Book. Department of Health., updated 30 June 2010

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  • This information was published by Bupa's Health Information Team and is based on reputable sources of medical evidence. It has been reviewed by appropriate medical or clinical professionals. Photos are only for illustrative purposes and do not reflect every presentation of a condition. The content is intended only for general information and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional. For more details on how we produce our content and its sources, visit the about our health information page.

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