Low blood pressure (hypotension)

Hypotension means blood pressure is currently or permanently low, i.e. below 100/60 mmHg.


Hypotension means blood pressure is currently or permanently low, i.e. below 100/60 mmHg. This can lead to dizziness, nausea and paleness. Persons with low blood pressure feel tired, have a rapid heartbeat and a tendency to faint. The cause cannot always be identified, but various underlying diseases, such as heart problems, anaemia and infections, can lead to hypotension.


  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Pale skin
  • Tremors
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Tendency to faint (brief fainting spells, known as syncope)
  • Fatigue, listlessness
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Shivering, cold feet and hands

Causes and treatment


  • Primary hypotension
    • Unknown cause (“idiopathic”)
    • Genetic (constitution), typical: young and slim
  • Secondary hypotension (with cause/underlying disease)
  • Dysregulation of (autonomic) nervous system
    • Nerve damage (e.g. stroke, diabetes, Parkinson’s, MS)
    • Standing for too long
    • Heat exhaustion
    • Sudden change in body position from sitting/lying to standing up
    • Startle response, fear
    • Smells, pain, unusual psychological sensations


  • Injuries caused by falling/fainting
  • Sudden extreme drop in blood pressure
    • Life-threatening shock situation
    • Extreme form of secondary hypotension
    • Impaired flow of blood to vital organs
    • Organ failure

Further treatment by your doctor / in hospital

Possible tests
  • (Long-term) measurement of blood pressure
  • Physical examination and tests (e.g. Schellong test)
  • Electrocardiogram (ECG), if necessary
  • Further diagnostic tests to exclude a cause
Possible therapies
  • Medication
  • Herbal remedies
  • Physiotherapy, if necessary
  • Treatment of underlying disease

What can I do myself?

  • Stimulate circulation
    • Alternating cold and hot baths, Kneipp therapy
    • Exercise, sport
  • Sufficient fluid intake
    • Water, unsweetened tea
    • Amount (rule of thumb): 30-40ml per kg body weight and day; i.e. approx. 1.5–3 litres
  • Eat more salty food, if necessary
  • How to treat a sudden collapse
    • Lie patient down flat (the floor is also suitable)
    • Elevate the legs
    • Open tight clothing
    • If there’s no immediate improvement: call emergency number 144

When to see a doctor?


low blood pressure, hypotension, blood pressure, low, hypotonia, arterial hypotension

Exclusion of liability

CSS offers no guarantee for the accuracy and completeness of the information. The information published is no substitute for professional advice from a doctor or pharmacist.