Causes of low blood pressure

There are several causes of low blood pressure. Some are temporary and can be easily fixed.

Low blood pressure may also be a sign of a health issue or emergency condition. Treatment may be necessary.

Several health conditions can cause low blood pressure. These include:

  • Addison’s disease (low adrenal hormones)
  • anaphylaxis (a serious allergic reaction)
  • anemia
  • blood loss
  • bradycardia (low heart rate)
  • dehydration
  • diabetes or low blood sugar
  • heart attack or heart failure
  • a heart valve problem
  • hypothyroidism (low thyroid hormone)
  • liver failure
  • parathyroid disease
  • pregnancy
  • septic shock (the result of a serious infection)
  • orthostatic hypotension or postural low blood pressure
  • standing up suddenly
  • trauma or head injury

Diagnosing and treating these conditions can help balance blood pressure. Your doctor may recommend simple tests such as:

  • blood tests to check hormone levels, blood sugar levels, and for infections
  • an electrocardiogram (ECG) or Holter monitor to check heart rhythm and function
  • an echocardiogram to check your heart health
  • an exercise stress test to check your heart health
  • tilt table test to check low blood pressure due to changes in body position
  • the Valsalva maneuver, a breathing test to check for nervous system causes of low blood pressure

Low blood pressure from medications, shock, or stroke


Some medications can cause low blood pressure. These include drugs to treat high blood pressure and other conditions, such as:

  • alpha-blockers
  • angiotensin II receptor blockers
  • angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors
  • beta-blockers (Tenormin, Inderal, Innopran XL)
  • calcium channel blockers
  • diuretics or water pills (Lasix, Maxzide, Microzide)
  • erectile dysfunction drugs (Revatio, Viagra, Adcirca, Cialis)
  • nitrates
  • Parkinson’s disease medications such as Mirapex and levodopa
  • tricyclic antidepressants (Silenor, Tofranil)

Drinking alcohol or using recreational drugs while taking medications, or combining certain medications can also lead to low blood pressure. You should always tell your doctor what you’re taking to ensure they know of any risks.

Leave a Reply