shutterstock_151176293It’s been a long, stressful day and you’re still in the middle of a report when everything around you suddenly starts spinning. You wonder if it’s real or whether it’s just your imagination working overtime. By the time you work out what’s really happening, that brief spell of dizziness is gone. Dismissing it as a minor blip, you continue with your work. Most of us don’t take these incidents seriously. But we should. While dizziness can be caused by vertigo or an ear condition, it could also be symptomatic of blood pressure problems. That, in turn, is indicative of a range of other worrying illnesses ranging from heart disease and stroke to hypoglycaemia. So it’s best to take it seriously and speak to a good doctor. Whether it’s hypertension (high blood pressure) or hypotension (low blood pressure), blood pressure-related problems are common both globally and in India. According to The World Health Statistics 2012, 23.10% men and 22.60% women above 25 years suffer from hypertension in India. How blood pressure works The heart is like a pump that sends blood to different parts of the body. This blood nourishes your body’s organs by carrying oxygen and nutrients. Blood is transported to the organs via blood vessels. The strength with which blood pushes against the walls of your blood vessels during its journey to different parts of the body is called ‘blood pressure’. Normal blood pressure ranges between 120/80 mm Hg and 140/90 mm Hg. Anything above this is deemed high blood pressure and could result in conditions like heart attack or stroke, heart failure, loss of vision, aneurism or trouble with memory and understanding. In comparison, low blood pressure is considered less threatening, limiting itself to symptoms like weakness and dizziness, and usually isn’t treated unless there are manifest symptoms. Blood pressure can rise because of:
  • Stress
  • Smoking
  • Caffeine
  • Certain medicine
  • Cold temperatures
  • Exercise
Blood pressure can fall because of:
  • Pregnancy
  • Thyroid or low blood sugar (hypoglycemia)
  • Dehydration
  • Lack of nutrients such as vitamins B-12 and folate
  Dizziness and blood pressure High blood pressure characteristically does not display any symptoms, which is why it is often referred to as a ‘silent killer’. In the event symptoms do occur, patients experience dizzy spells, dull headaches, frequent nosebleeds and/or shortness of breath. These are all usually signs of a sudden rise in blood pressure and indicative of a hypertensive crisis. If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, have someone call a doctor since it could become a medical emergency. When blood pressure is low, not enough oxygen-rich blood is able to reach the brain, leading to a dizzy feeling. A phone consult with a doctor, who may suggest you drink electrolytes or regulate your breathing, may help ease your discomfort.   Getting blood pressure checked It is generally recommended that people over age 30 get their blood pressure checked once every three to five years. After age 40, or if you are at higher risk for high blood pressure (see why blood pressure rises above), have it checked once a year. Since hypertension often doesn’t exhibit symptoms, the best way to know whether you are at risk is to monitor your blood pressure regularly. And the next time you feel dizzy, don’t ignore it and get back to work. Instead, call a doctor to know what next steps to take to get healthier. Do you have concerns about your health but no time to see a doctor? Download Dr 24x7 to speak to a physician any time, anywhere. The first consult is free.

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