The EclecticPhysician

The Eclectic Physician
Q&A Archive
By Dr. Beth Burch

Low blood pressure can cause fatigue.

Q.

I've suffered from chronic fatigue syndrome for just over three years now. I saw a naturopath last week, and she said that I had low blood pressure (100/70), and that this was common for CFS sufferers. She also said that even with the new diet (no dairy, no wheat, no coffee, no sugar) my new doctor gave me about three weeks ago, I can't overcome CFS unless the low blood pressure is dealt with. I was just wondering if low blood pressure is really an issue for a CFS sufferer.

A.

Low blood pressure can cause fatigue and low energy as well as other symptoms of poor circulation including cold extremities, dry skin, constipation or diarrhea,heat or cold intolerance, lack of concentration and low basal body temperature. Low blood pressure can also manifest as very low blood pressure after rising or standing quickly, also known as postural hypotension. This can cause dizziness or weakness on getting up from a lying or sitting position.

At 100/70 your blood pressure is at the borderline that some nutritional physicians would consider low. If you also have other symptoms that indicate poor circulation, especially postural hypotension, then you will probably feel better if your blood pressure is a little higher.

Low blood pressure is often the result of low blood electrolytes, the various minerals and salts dissolved in your blood. Electrolytes help to keep fluid in the blood vessels to maintain normal blood pressure. Adequate fluid is also important, but will not be of benefit without accompanying electrolytes. The most common low electrolyte in poor circulation is sodium. This can be easily measured along with other electrolytes in a simple blood chemistry screen. If the sodium level is below 138, increasing the use of salt can be helpful. Other electrolytes and minerals may also be indicated. Your doctors are the best c hoice to advise you about which ones are needed in your case.

Your doctors can also evaluate and treat other factors contributing to fatigue such as low thyroid levels, poor adrenal function and other nutritional deficiencies.

Elimination of food allergens like dairy and wheat, along with refined carbohydrates like sugar and stimulants like caffeine, are helpful in many health conditions including chronic fatigue syndrome. Talk with both of your doctors to better understand why they are recommending particular treatments. For chronic fatigue syndrome a multifaceted approach usually yields the best results.

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* The information presented in this web site is intended to inform and educate. It is not intended replace a qualified medical practitioner to diagnose or treat medical conditions.

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