low blood pressure

Hello I am a bit worried about my blood pressure which seems to be dropping over the last 2 months and wondered if anybody else has had this problem or if it is totally unrelated. The readings are really weird because it falls to 96/43, 70/45, 106/41 then because I freak myself out it goes back to normal 108/60 or 110/62. It is not related to posture either. I am quite active, swim most mornings, cycle regularly and do quite a bit. Our machine is okay as my husband monitors his blood pressure and his readings synchronise with the surgery's readings. My blood tests iron, glucose, etc were normal in March. I don't know if I have had Vitamin B12 test done. I am seeing the GP tomorrow but quite scared about this. I expect it will go sky high when I see the doctor as I have white coat syndrome.

22 Replies

  • Sorry to hear about about your worries, Urbangirl.

    I have always had low BP, but fairly consistent readings, I have to be careful to keep hydrated. I believe levels of vit B12 can affect BP.

    Hope everything will be ok tomorrow.

  • Thanks Penel. I think I read that about vit B12 levels causing low blood pressure but if my iron levels were okay I think that cancels it out? But I don't know how l quickly things can change in as much as my bloods were done in March and were ok then. My blood pressure is usually low ie range usually between:100/56 - 115/70 - sometimes higher. So I would like to have an explanation why it keeps dipping and if it is of serious concern.

  • iron levels can be okay and your folate can be low so make sure they check that as well. let your doctor know that you are worried and make sure he explores all possibilities for you.

    All the best

  • Thanks for that info Tassie. It is complicated. I did see my GP this morning and she says that my blood pressure is low but probably okay as I have no other symptoms, feel well and because I exercise so much this is possibly the cause. However, she is taking bloods for potassium and vit B12 for possible adrenal dysfunction and I am having an ECG next week.

  • Excellent ...hopefully it will be a simple fix

  • ;) fingers crossed! I am deviating from my work and now reading about folate deficiency!

  • If you cut out gluten it is extremely hard to get enough folate in your diet as most breads and cereals are fortified with folate. I suspect a lot of people on gluten free diets are folate deficient. I have only just discovered that I am and feel much better on folate ... I was already taking iron supplements. Of course when I thought about it, it made sense that i would be folate deficient.

  • Interesting point Tassie as I just read the foods that contain folate are mostly ones I cannot eat eg broccoli, eggs, citrus, mushrooms, beans/legumes, etc as I also have IBS and neither can I eat the cereals or bread. So maybe this is the problem. But I cannot get my head around the blood test results in as much as a high reading for iron will not necessarily give the full picture.

  • I have IBS too and intolerances to just about everything. I can eat beans and eggs but not much else.

    They don't usually check for folate. I had had so many blood tests and often checked for iron but they never actually checked folate until this last blood test and it was picked up. Its really worth asking them to do it.

  • Yes it is definitely worth getting things checked out but you need to know what to ask for don't you? I have possibly been lulled into a false sense of security as the blood results looked okay. When I saw the dietician who supervised me doing FODMAPs diet 18/12 ago she never once discussed vitamins with me, but we identified the dodgy foods like broccoli, eggs, citrus etc. Actually now I can occasionally eat eggs but have to be careful not to overdose on them; this is usually in cakes I make with almonds.

    Did you have any symptoms of folate deficiency?

  • Yes but they are also symptoms of other things too:

    fatigue, headache, palpitations, diarrhea, as well as difficulty concentrating, weight loss, depression.

    I also had a dietician when I went on the elimination diet and she didn't mention anything about all these deficiencies either. I feel totally let down as I was trying to do this right with her guidance and got left on my own to work it all out. I'm now stuck on an extremely restricted diet and can't get off it 12 months later.

  • I see what you mean about the overlap of symptoms. The only one I really have is problems with concentration but I think that is my personality! Your experience with the dietician mirrors mine - the main aim of the dietician seemed to be to identify the problem foods then you were signed off. I was surprised at the foods that made me ill and got fed up with a limited diet - things are better now but I am still restricted. I think you have got a real point about those not eating gluten will have folate deficiency.

  • Hi Urbangirl

    My blood pressure hovers around the lower side of normal. I put this down to my mildly knackered adrenals (probably not the best technical term!), which I think got damaged due to having undiagnosed coeliac disease for so long.

    I'm relatively lucky in that my NHS Endo has recognised that I have mild adrenal dysfunction so I'm being monitored for it.

    I notice that if I overdo things when exercising, I can go very cold and really tired for hours afterwards. I also think the sicky feeling I get during moderate exercise (such as digging in the garden) is probably attributable to my adrenal problems as well.

    I hope this helps you, but I also hope that you don't have any adrenal problems!

    Take care.

  • Thanks Regalbirdy. I am getting a bit scared now as I have read about adrenal dysfunction and one site identified 80/50 bp reading as indicative of having these problems. However, if anything is wrong I hope its the folate deficiency as that makes sense to me given my diet and what I can and can't eat. The readings fluctuate so I don't know what on earth that indicates. Not having the tests until next week so plenty of time to get even more worried by reading about what it could be! There are so many overlapping symptoms. How does your endo monitor you for the adrenal problems? Good that (s)he acknowledges this.

  • Hi

    Firstly I would encourage you to get your GP to check your cortisol levels as part of your upcoming blood tests. Mine came back as consistently low over several tests (and over a period of about nine months), which is partly why the Endo picked up on it; although initially I had only been referred to Endocrinology for a severe vitamin D deficiency.

    The official test for adrenal problems is something called an ACTH test, or Short Synactin test. It's done at hospital. Basically it's several blood tests over the course of about 45 minutes to measure your response to the dose of a hormone (ACTH) they give you via a cannula. The last test I had slightly spaced me out (but only for about half an hour) and wasn't too bad at all. Mostly it was boring. Who needs alcohol tho....!

    Adrenal problems mean that I have to be slightly more intelligent about how I choose to spend my time and energy; and about how stressed I allow myself to get if I want to function well. If I get ill I've also been advised that I need to take steroids. Sometimes it's frustrating - but looking on the bright side, things could be much worse.

    Best of luck with those tests and try not to worry too much.

  • I think she has ordered some, but you know I am not sure as I always forget to ask exactly what tests I am having and only find out when the nurse does the bloods. Last time I got such a shock at the number of tests I was having. She mentioned potassium levels and did suggest adrenal problems. She also said she thought it was quite unlikely that this was wrong with me as I have no other symptoms. I can be very tired but I think that is just me burning the candle at both ends too many times for my age! Maybe you didn't have any symptoms either though?

  • I think she has ordered some, but you know I am not sure as I always forget to ask exactly what tests I am having and only find out when the nurse does the bloods. Last time I got such a shock at the number of tests I was having. She mentioned potassium levels and did suggest adrenal problems. She also said she thought it was quite unlikely that this was wrong with me as I have no other symptoms. I can be very tired but I think that is just me burning the candle at both ends too many times for my age! Maybe you didn't have any symptoms either though?

  • Hi,

    I had symptoms - loads of different ones! But I've also spent the last 18 months or so trying to unpick which symptom belongs to which problem.

    For example; in my case, just fatigue alone could be linked to:

    1) being glutened,

    2) ingesting dairy,

    3) accidentally eating soya,

    4) or a food intolerance I haven't figured out yet!

    Or be linked to:

    5) Vitamin D deficiency,

    6) Iron anaemia,

    7) B12 anaemia,

    8) Magnesium deficiency,

    9) Or another B vitamin deficiency (such as B5 and/or B6); again something which I haven't quite figured out yet.

    Or maybe even be linked to:

    10) Depression and

    11) Adrenal dysfunction.

    And here's the real kicker - it could be (and has been in the past) any or all of the above issues causing fatigue at the same time! Then add back in all the other common coeliac symptoms (such as stomachaches, brain fog, dodgy tums, etc) and as I'm sure you know, the puzzle becomes even more crazy....

    So see the problem?! As you're probably doing/or may have done, I started with the bigger more obvious easy(ish) stuff first. It's good to hear that they've tested your potassium levels. I'm not too sure but I think that potassium is regulated by a hormone produced by the adrenal glands.

    You say you don't think you have any symptoms, but have you been making a beeline for the salt or salty foods lately? I was getting a bit worried about how much salt I was using. Nowadays I just accept that I probably need a little more than the average person; and listen to what my body is telling me. It's reasonly safe - unless you have a risk of high blood pressure; which from what you have written is the opposite of your current problem.

    My understanding is that for the average GP, seeing somebody with adrenal issues is unusual - so this limits their practical knowledge of it. My first cortisol test was done by my GP at MY request because of research I'd been doing (like you have here). The results showed that things weren't quite right but it got ignored until the hospital picked it up on the issue during some further routine tests many months later. In hindsight, I was also inexperienced at asking the right questions - which might have led to me getting more support sooner. However I've also found that unless you have something like Addison's disease (which is a major adrenal dysfunction), you are still left much to your own devices treatment-wise. I've now learned that rule number one for those with mild adrenal problems is: no caffeine (yes really! :-( ); and rule number two: get to bed and to sleep before 10:30pm. Now I'm no saint - because I do break these rules but I also pay a quite a price for it in the quality of my energy levels for several days afterwards.

    As you are probably finding out, the road back to wellness can be a slow, confusing and sometimes frustrating journey. And don't get me wrong - compared to how I was, things are much better now.

    Btw, I found Dr Wilson's book on adrenal fatigue a useful read. I didn't agree with everything in it but it had some good pointers if you want to know more. I was able to reserve a copy for free at my local library.

    Good luck!

  • Crikey Regalbirdy that's a hell of a lot to sort through! You certainly have a tough time. I think it is so isolating working things out yourself - that's why sites like this are so helpful because people going through things themselves have such a lot of experience and advice to offer. Coffee OMG that is my permanent fix - I have given it up before and the withdrawal symptoms are awful! I don't know what else I would drink as I hate tea (especially fruit teas!) and can't drink the expensive hot chocolate I have all day. What do you drink?

    You bet I have been having salt on food - something I never did before as I obeyed the health instruction. But three of my friends have also started to eat salt recently as has my husband! Strange! We all love it having deprived ourselves for so long.

    I think the doctor was thinking about adrenals as she said that was why she was testing potassium levels but she thought it was an unlikely outcome. I think that I have to take a step at a time and see what the potassium tests reveal. My doctors are very nice and helpful and know I research things myself.

    Thank you so much for your advice and help - it is much appreciated. Take care as things are rough for you too. x

  • Hiya,

    I promise that things are nowhere near as bad for me as they were! My having Coeliac disease has caused a lot of collateral damage. At least I've now worked out what are a lot of the things I need to monitor for.

    I think as you're finding, the not understanding why you have strange symptoms is often worse. And you're right - it can be very isolating; especially when people in the medical profession either don't understand that you have an issue or don't believe what you're telling them. It's great to hear that you have helpful doctors on your side though - I sincerely hope that you do get the answers you need from them. I know I also appreciate the GFG community.

    I hate to say this - but you may find that in the long term, coffee; coke and energy drinks (of the type that 'give you wings') could all have to go. Caffeine really stresses out the adrenals - So it's especially unhelpful for those like myself who already know they have adrenal problems. Sure caffeine makes you feel better in the short term, but you could potentially be flogging already overworked adrenal glands by consuming it. The really bad news is that caffeine is also found in small quantities in chocolate.

    Like you, I'm also not a big tea drinker, although once in awhile I do like to stray into fruit tea territory. Some are definitely more drinkable than others tho! Mostly I drink water during the daytime; but I do also regularly indulge in drinking a high juice blackcurrant squash (and not that awful sugarfree muck). In the winter months, when a warm drink becomes almost a necessity; I find Alpros hazelnut milk makes for a comforting drink (however for those who decide to try this, do be careful not to boil it - it splits).

  • i have had this for years, after a failed gastro recently it went very low, it doesn't seem to be of any concern to medics though.

  • Yes you are right they don't seem that worried about any possible underlying cause has been excluded which was done in my case. I think I have broken our blood pressure machine!

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