The number of people I see in the past few years who have low blood pressure has increased drastically. The general consensus is that its better than high blood pressure. In fact, you'll probably be congratulated for 'achieving' this desirable status and asked about your secret.
I was one of these people up to about a year ago. I had lowish blood pressure (normal is 120/80 mmHg). This was without effort. I used to be really proud of the number. I think it ranged from about 105-110 systolic (the big number) and 60-65 diastolic (the small number). After all, only marathon runners and athletes have it. Therefore I must be as fit right?
The problem was:
- I hardly ever exercised
- My diet was ok but not great (the usual half-hearted attempt at lowish fat calorie control)
- I was getting out of shape and fatter
- My energy levels were lower and my stamina was down
- I did not however get faints as it never went that low
So why was it low? To me, especially during some really stressful periods of my life- a point where I felt that I may go into high blood pressure with all the stress- it seemed to indicate that at least something was going right. I took a lot of comfort in it.
Fast forward a few years- my blood pressure has now normalised.
So what's the story?
Low blood pressure is a very common symptom of adrenal fatigue. The adrenal glands are in charge of a lot of things. One of the most important functions is its ability to modulate our stress hormones ie releasing hormones when the need arises. One important hormone that it releases is cortisol. This is our body's own steroid hormone. In evolutionary terms, when we see a lion, huge amounts of cortisol and adrenalin gets released- enough to make us perform feats we normally can't like climbing a tree or out-running the lion!
However, these days, life's a bit different. We are not usually subjected to 'lion' like situations. Its more a case of a really old disabled lion trying to attack us and won't go away ie we have to constantly pay attention and walk just quick enough so that it can't attack us but be vigilant at all times. This is modern chronic stress.
With luck, our bodies may eventually (in 1000 years maybe) learn coping mechanisms to deal with it. But in the meantime, if your blood pressure is constantly low and has been for awhile, your life is relatively stressful, you are not an athlete and there's frankly no reason that your blood pressure should be low; you may have adrenal fatigue.
There's a lot of information about it online and some very good books, my favourite being Dr. J Wilson's book 'Adrenal Fatigue: The 21st Century Stress Syndrome'
- Some other signs to look out for:
- Cravings for both sugary and salty foods
- A mid-afternoon low
- Constant tiredness
- Feeling 'low'
- Recurrent infections or picking up every bug out there
- Sleep is not as restorative
- A need for stimulants ie coffee, red bull, tea, fizzy drinks etc
Is there anything you can do about it? Yes, quite a bit. I will talk about this in more detail over the next few months. In the meantime, do google and read about it. Not many practitioners understand or even accept that it exists but for those who suffer from it, its very, very real.