The brain is incredibly oxygen sensitive and that translates to a simple statement: the brain is dependent on blood flow. That’s why low blood pressure and brain health go hand in hand.
Low blood pressure may trigger anything from an innocent “senior moment” to a frank life-altering dementia as well as cause a cascade of consequences in between.
Do you have low blood pressure?
90% of people do not know what their blood pressure is. Few people can tell what low blood pressure actually means. Even fewer people realize what happens to their blood pressure in various circumstances, like after eating, during stress, or while exercising. Too bad, because blood pressure patterns are predictive of health.
Low blood pressure isn’t easy to find. Firstly, doctors are on a lookout for high blood pressure numbers, so anything low (unless accompanied by symptoms) is going to be dismissed, and secondly, low blood pressure frequently morphs into normal BP while at the doctor’s office.
Finding your low blood pressure pattern
There is a great way to test how your blood pressure behaves when you move. This test is explained in this low blood pressure post. The results will make you understand your heart physiology, so you can adjust your activities to prevent BP dips.
If you missed the test, answer the questions below. These will help you determine whether your heart is working normally.
- Do you feel dizzy on standing up eg. in the morning or after an afternoon nap?
- Do you blank out while exercising, eg. while lifting weights in a gym
- Do you feel lightheaded while standing up from bending forward eg from tying shoes?
- Do you lose balance during exertion eg. playing ball or picking garbage?
If you feel dizzy, lightheaded or unsure on your feet at any of the above situations chances are your blood pressure does not adjust well to your physical needs. If this is the case, you want to test your adrenal function. Low adrenals can further reinforce low blood pressure – brain connection and aggravate low blood pressure symptoms.
Low blood pressure deprives brain of oxygen
Low blood pressure isn’t random or healthy, so try to find its cause ASAP to prevent chronic side effects. As you know low blood pressure and brain are intimately connected.
Low BP reduces cerebral circulation and causes poor blood flow in the brain. That in turn leads to poor brain oxygenation, which has profound consequences in daily life.
Effects of low blood pressure on brain
Here are just a few examples of effects of decreased brain oxygenation:
- Poor hearing and eyesight, eg. you may not hear a car coming and get into an accident
- Personality changes, eg. you would be more prone to anxiety or anger and have poorer interpersonal relationships with your family and co-workers
- Loss of coordination, eg. you can fall more easily, be more prone to accidents, and will drop things in the kitchen
- Blurry vision, tunnel vision, eg. you will have difficulty reading signs, computer screens or newspapers
- Slurry speech, mispronunciation, difficulty forming sentences, eg. it will be more difficult for you to participate in conversations and express yourself due to excessive effort or embarrassment
- Poor judgment, wrong decisions, confusion, eg. you may spend your money unwisely or take wrong turns while driving
- Memory loss, forgetfulness, eg. you will miss your doctor’s appointment or find yourself misplacing things
- Puzzling headaches because your doctor may not be able to find a cause
The above are just common every day examples. For more detail on the effects of low blood pressure as well as clinically-proven solutions, consult the book Revived!.
Moodiness, another effect of low blood pressure on brain
Low blood pressure effects on the brain are not only related to loss of perception and cognition, but also to bad mood, besides other symptoms.
Low blood pressure leads to reduced motivation, increased feeling of hopelessness, and diminished likelihood of an effort.[i] Anxiety and depression are further sequelae of low brain oxygenation and these have far-reaching consequences at work, and at home. They may be the source of impoverished interpersonal relationships, loss of life satisfaction, higher stress perception, and overall lower productivity.
If you find yourself emotionally or mentally drained and have low blood pressure, don’t despair. You can take matters in your own hands and feel better just in a few weeks.