Common Symptoms of Low Blood Pressure

How to Recognize Low Blood Pressure Symptoms

Dizziness is a sign of low blood pressure.
Dizziness is a sign of low blood pressure. Hitoshi Nishimura/Taxi Japan/Getty Images

Unlike high blood pressure symptoms, which are poorly defined and often totally absent, low blood pressure symptoms tend to be classic and easily recognizable. The development of symptoms is considered an indicator that a patient should be evaluated to discover the cause of the low blood pressure, and to rule out any underlying problems. In general, though, blood pressure must fall to a fairly low value before symptoms develop.

Common Symptoms of Low Blood Pressure

Clinically, the value most often associated with the development of symptoms is 90/60, though this varies from person to person. Situations in which the blood pressure drops rapidly, rather than exists chronically at a low level, do not require the blood pressure to drop to 90/60 before symptoms develop. Instead, changes of about 20mmHg from baseline blood pressure have been shown to cause classic low blood pressure symptoms.

Classic symptoms of low blood pressure include:

  • Dizziness or feeling like you are standing on a rocking boat
  • Fainting
  • Changes in mental status (difficulty concentrating, confusion) or a sense of "impending doom" or anxiety
  • Changes in breathing patterns (fast, shallow breathing is common during an episode of low blood pressure)
  • Nausea
  • Suddenly feeling cold or clammy, or a rapid onset of pale skin

When Should I Visit My Doctor?

While all of these symptoms indicate that a visit to the doctor is needed, fainting or ongoing dizziness are especially alarming and warrant an immediate visit to either your own doctor or to the emergency room.

If you experience fainting along with nausea, chest pain, or any type of weakness/numbness in your body, you should call 911 immediately. These symptoms may be indicators of stroke, heart attack, or dangerous problems with the nervous system.

More About Low Blood Pressure

Want to learn more about low blood pressure?

Be sure to check out these great resources:


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