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High Blood Pressure

Low blood pressure with exertion

08/21/2006

Question:

My husband has been experiencing low blood pressure and dizziness upon exertion or physical activity. What could cause this to happen?

Answer:

There are many conditions that can cause a drop in blood pressure with exercise.  A common cause is a vasovagal reaction, which is generally harmless.

There are more serious causes, however.  Heart conditions such as aortic stenosis, mitral stenosis, pulmonary hypertension and coronary artery disease can cause a drop in blood pressure with exercise.

In the case of your husband, a cardiac evaluation is in order.  I recommend a good medical exam (history and physical), followed by some basic tests, including EKG and echocardiogram.  You husband will most likely also need a stress test.

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Response by:

Max C Reif, MD Max C Reif, MD
Professor of Medicine
Director of Hypertension Section
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati