Sunday, August 23, 2009

Did You Know?

I have hypotension.

Hypotension refers to an abnormally low blood pressure. For most individuals, a normal blood pressure is 120/80. The top number is called systolic and the bottom number is called diastolic. Any sort of drop in blood pressure, even by 20, is considered low blood presure. People with spinal cord injuries usually have low blood pressure due to their injury. The main symptom of hypotension is lightheadedness or dizziness. If the blood pressure is sufficiently low, fainting and often seizures will occur. (Hypertension refers to high blood pressure. The number on the blood pressure cuff in the picture is definitely not mine.)

My normal blood pressure is usually around 90/60. However, blood pressure changes with position change. If I sit up too quickly or stand up in my stander, my blood pressure drops. When that happens I feel dizzy and sometimes things start to go black. As soon as someone lifts my legs up if I'm sitting, or puts me back down into a sitting position if I'm standing, my blood pressure rises.

I do have parameters that I'm supposed to go by. If my blood pressure gets below a certain point (60 for the systolic and 45 for the diastolic) and maintains at that level, my nurses are supposed to notify my doctor. However, in my stander my blood pressure usually drops pretty low and there really are no parameters unless I pass out, according to my doctor. As long as I'm still talking, I'm okay. The lowest my blood pressure has gotten that still registered on the machine is 49/36. If it gets any lower it will read as an error.



Matthew Smith said...

Hi there,

Do you really feel the effects of the hypotension when you're sitting or lying down as normal? I notice from most of your pictures that you look quite strong and healthy - not pale in the face or drawn-looking or anything like that.

Jenni said...

My blood pressure only drops when I first sit up. Once I've been sitting for a few minutes it goes back up. But for those few minutes I usually get pale, am unable to see, and sometimes nonresponsive.

Anonymous said...

i would love to be able to sit up again and not lyin down 24/7


Jenni said...

I know it takes time to heal. Hang in there. Soon you will be sitting again.