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Your blood pressure reading measures the amount of blood forced through your veins pushing against the walls of your blood vessels. Most of the time, these readings only make sense to a health professional. So what does it mean when you are told you have low blood pressure or pre-hypertension and when should you begin to worry?


High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is linked to smoking, obesity, lack of physical activity, too much salt and alcohol consumption, genetics, stress and age. A high blood pressure reading can be dangerous as it means your heart is working harder to pump blood into the body. In turn this contributes to hardening of the arteries, the development of heart failure and atherosclerosis, a build-up of fats and other substances in your arteries.

When high blood pressure is left untreated, it can lead to damage to the heart and coronary arteries, fluid in the lungs, and angina. Other effects may include loss of vision, stroke, memory loss and erectile dysfunction.

Track regularly

blood pressure| Longevity LiveIt is important to get your blood pressure checked on a regular basis and to keep track of your lifestyle, in order to assess if your high blood pressure on a particular day is due to nervousness or stress, or your lifestyle. High blood pressure is considered to be 140/90.


Low blood pressure is something we tend to hear less often about. Symptoms of low blood pressure (also called hypotension) include dizziness, fainting, chest pain, increased thirst and blurred vision.

Dangerously low blood pressure can cause an inadequate flow of blood to the organs, which can result in heart attacks, strokes and kidney failure. Left untreated, severe hypotension can leave key organs without nutrients or oxygen. This may lead the body into going into shock, a life-threatening condition.

Hypotension may have no symptoms. Athletes and active, healthy individuals may have low blood pressure, and this can be considered a sign of good health. They may feel lightheaded when going from a sitting or lying position to standing up, but this is not regarded as unhealthy. For people who have a consistently normal blood pressure, a worrisome hypotensive reading will sit at around 100/60. Those who are usually hypotensive will experience dangerously low blood pressure when a reading only reaches 90/60.

Avoiding hypertension and hypotension

You can prevent hypertension by avoiding smoking, excessive amounts of salt and alcohol. Being active and staying at a healthy weight are also beneficial. Hypertension can be treated by implementing lifestyle changes as well as certain medications that may be prescribed to you by your doctor.

Hypotension is usually treated by increasing your intake of vitamin B12 and folate. These can be found in yoghurt and milk, and broccoli and asparagus respectively. Increasing the amount of times you eat while decreasing food portions, increasing your salt intake by the smallest bit and avoiding hot temperatures can help improve low blood pressure. In some cases, medication may be necessary.

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Dineo Mokwena

Dineo Mokwena

Dineo Mokwena is a vibrant 22 year old Rhodes graduate currently working as an intern at Longevity. Graduating with degrees in both journalism and psychology, she found it fit to feed her journalistic career. Her passions lie in health, fashion and tons of food.

She has found that journalism is the best platform to educate and learn about what South African's need to hear the most and plans to use this platform to better the wellness of the world we live in.

The content in this editorial is for general information only and is not intended to provide medical or other professional advice. For more information on your medical condition and treatment options, speak to your healthcare professional.