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What is a Drop in Blood Pressure?

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Updated June 04, 2011

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

Definition:

Low blood pressure, or hypotension, is a condition where your blood pressure is lower than what is considered normal for your age. Some people naturally have lower than average blood pressure, while others may have a medical condition or be taking a medication that causes hypotension.

A sudden drop in blood pressure (more than 30%) can be a medical emergency. When blood pressure drops too far, too quickly, blood stops circulating the way it should. This can lead to a life-threatening condition called shock.

Symptoms of a drop in blood pressure include:

  • Dizziness
  • Fainting
  • Looking pale or blue
  • Confusion
  • Breathing quickly

A sudden drop in blood pressure is one of the most serious symptoms of anaphylaxis.

Source:

NIAID-Sponsored Expert Panel. Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Management of Food Allergy in the United States: Report of the NIAID-Sponsored Expert Panel. The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. Volume 126, Issue 6, Supplement , Pages S1-S58, December 2010

Also Known As: Hypotension
Examples:

Anaphylactic shock often involves a sudden drop in blood pressure, leading to dizziness or loss of consciousness.

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