Blood pressure fluctuations / fluctuating blood pressure

Blood pressure fluctuations / fluctuating blood pressure

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Slight fluctuations in blood pressure over the course of the day are a completely normal occurrence, which does not necessarily have to be related to illnesses or health risks. However, significant changes in blood pressure within a short period of time are often an expression of impairments in the cardiovascular system and often bring about further health problems. If the patient shows acute high blood pressure (hypertension) or blood pressure that is significantly too low (hypotension) in the course of the fluctuations in blood pressure, a visit to the doctor is advised.


Blood pressure is measured using the so-called systolic and diastolic pressure or their relationship to one another. The systolic arterial blood pressure of healthy people can be between 100 and 130 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) at rest, the diastolic between 60 and 85 mm Hg.

Of course, blood pressure is subject to certain short-term fluctuations, for example, to ensure the blood supply to all vessels when the body is under different loads. Blood pressure can also change in the course of the day in connection with the individual biorhythm and fluctuate by up to about 15 percent.

This article only deals with the fluctuations in blood pressure that do not move in the usual corridor. Accordingly, fluctuations in blood pressure at which values ​​of more than 130/85 mm Hg (systolic / diastolic) or less than 100/60 mm Hg occur at rest are addressed.

Symptoms of fluctuations in blood pressure

A fluctuating blood pressure is usually expressed in terms of circulatory problems such as dizziness, headache, lack of concentration, tiredness, nausea and vomiting.

If the blood pressure is too high (hypertension), it is not uncommon to see increased nosebleeds. Those affected sometimes suffer from severe chest tightness and shortness of breath.

In addition to the already mentioned circulatory problems, typical for low blood pressure is a palpable palpable heart, pale face and, if the blood pressure drops drastically, a short-term loss of consciousness (circulatory collapse or syncope).

Depending on the triggers of the blood pressure fluctuations, various other symptoms can be observed, which are then briefly described in connection with the respective causes.

Causes of rising blood pressure

The causes of a sudden, disproportionate increase in blood pressure are basically to be distinguished from the triggers of the fluctuations in blood pressure with falling blood pressure.

For example, blood pressure naturally increases relatively significantly during physical exertion. However, certain maximum values ​​must not be exceeded to rule out health risks such as acute heart failure or a heart attack, brain damage, aortic tears or pulmonary edema. The body therefore has a sensitive system that registers the pressure in the arteries and, in the event of a drastic increase, transmits corresponding signals to the heart and other organs in order to achieve regulation or adaptation of the blood pressure. However, this system can be affected in a number of ways.

Many people react to mental stress or acute stress with an increase in blood pressure, which can start relatively suddenly and can last for a longer period of time.

Other possible causes for a (significant) increase in blood pressure values ​​are the intake of circulatory stimulating substances (e.g. caffeine or various drugs) and incorrect control of the hormone metabolism, such as an overactive thyroid.

Hypertensive crisis and hyperkinetic heart syndrome

The hypertensive crisis and hyperkinetic heart syndrome can also cause fluctuations in blood pressure. The hypertensive crisis describes an acute abnormal regulation of blood pressure, which can go hand in hand with an increase in blood pressure to well above 220/120 mm Hg.

Causes can be, for example, massive fear or panic attacks, diseases of the kidneys and incorrectly dosed medication. A hypertensive crisis should urgently be checked by a doctor, since in the worst case it can reach life-threatening proportions.

The hyperkinetic heart syndrome is characterized by a clearly accelerated pulse, increased blood pressure, dizziness and reduced performance, without which physical causes could be ascertained. The symptoms can be observed increasingly in patients with anxiety disorders or in the course of a panic attack, for example. Persistent lack of exercise or significantly impaired physical fitness are also being discussed as possible causes of hyperkinetic heart syndrome.

Causes of suddenly falling blood pressure

The sudden drop in blood pressure is mainly associated with diseases of the cardiovascular system (for example, heart failure), disorders of the hormone metabolism and the use of certain medicines.

A significant drop in blood pressure can also be observed in the context of a so-called shock. A distinction is made between a so-called volume deficiency shock (triggered by insufficient blood volume), cardiogenic, anaphylactic and septic shock.

In general, the drop in arterial blood pressure is due to insufficient circulating blood volume in relation to the vascular volume, which can be caused, for example, by a reduced pumping capacity of the heart (for example, if the heart is weak), a decrease in the absolute blood volume or a sudden expansion of the blood vessels (or a too low vascular resistance).

A volume deficiency shock can, for example, be based on massive blood loss or a drastic loss of fluid or a corresponding dehydration (for example due to diarrhea).

A cardiogenic shock is due to a reduced pumping function of the heart, which in turn is mostly related to diseases of the heart such as inflammation of the heart muscle, inflammation of the inner skin of the heart, a heart attack or impaired functioning of the heart valves.

The anaphylactic shock is due to an allergic reaction that massively releases histamine, causing the vessels to dilate and blood pressure to drop accordingly.

A septic shock is caused by the immune response to severe bacterial or mycogenic infections and corresponding inflammatory processes.

Naturally, the blood pressure in the upper half of the body drops briefly when standing up from a lying position, but is immediately normalized again by the so-called orthostasis reaction. However, this automatic self-regulation of the organism is sometimes disturbed and the blood pressure is not increased or increased too much. Accordingly, the result is an excessively low blood pressure or a significantly increased blood pressure immediately after getting up.


The first step is to determine the actual extent of the blood pressure fluctuations as part of the diagnosis. In addition to regular measurements of blood pressure and pulse rate, long-term blood pressure measurements as well as exercise, resting and long-term electrocardiograms (EKG) are provided for this.

With the help of the so-called tilting table examination, the change in blood pressure can be determined when the patient changes position. If you suspect cardiac insufficiency, so-called echocardiography and other special examination procedures can be used. A comprehensive evaluation of the blood count is sometimes carried out in order to determine the causes of the fluctuating blood pressure.

Treatment of fluctuations in blood pressure

In the event of a sudden drop in blood pressure as well as acute hypertension, there are various therapeutic options for bringing the blood pressure back to a normal level. For example, if the sudden drop is due to a volume deficiency shock, it is recommended as an immediate measure to hold up the legs of those affected so that the blood can flow more easily to the heart. In emergency medicine, the infusion of so-called volume substitutes may also be required to artificially increase the blood volume and stabilize the circulation.

In the case of cardiogenic shock, therapeutic treatment of the triggering heart disease is essential, although the (emergency) measures can differ significantly depending on the various underlying diseases. An allergic shock is medicated with so-called antihistamines and other medicines. In the case of septic shock, a combination of treatment with circulatory stabilizing medicines, infusions and medications is used to combat the causative infection.

In the event of a hypertensive crisis, drug reduction in blood pressure is in the foreground. However, the possible causes of the complaints should always be kept in mind, as they may require further therapy. The same applies to the hyperkinetic syndrome, in which the acute symptoms can initially be alleviated with the help of medicines, but the triggers often also require treatment.

In general, those affected are advised to avoid heart-stimulating substances such as caffeine and to strengthen the cardiovascular system with moderate physical training. Diet can also influence the circulatory system and counteract possible derailments of blood pressure.

If blood pressure fluctuations are suspected to be associated with psychological stress such as massive stress or an anxiety disorder, psychotherapeutic procedures can prevent the symptoms from recurring. Learning relaxation techniques (e.g. autogenic training) is also provided here in order to provide those affected with a means by which they can deal independently with their complaints.

Naturopathy and naturopathy with fluctuating blood pressure

Various naturopathic procedures are available to counteract short-term increases and decreases in blood pressure. However, it should be noted here that these are only suitable as a supplement to drug therapy, especially on serious occasions such as a shock or a hypertensive emergency.

In many cases, naturopathic approaches primarily serve to prevent the recurrence of blood pressure fluctuations. For example, a combination of nutritional and exercise therapy is often used to prevent acute hypertension. In naturopathy, medicinal plants such as mistletoe, hawthorn leaves or heartwort (real motherwort) are also proven home remedies for high blood pressure. To regulate this, a freshly brewed tea with mistletoe, for example, is a plant that is also used for weakness in the heart, buzzing in the ears, cramps, period pain and dizziness.

Danger: The berries of the mistletoe are poisonous and therefore must not be used. Instead, only the herb is used for the mistletoe tea, which should definitely be put on cold. Because brewing would cause the infusion to lose valuable ingredients, and weakly toxic substances (such as viscotoxin) contained in the herb could also be dissolved.

Recipe for mistletoe tea
  1. Put two heaped teaspoons of dried mistletoe in a cup
  2. Pour a quarter liter of cold water over it
  3. Leave the cold drawer to stand for 10 to 12 hours (or overnight)
  4. After straining, the tea can be warmed up slightly (do not boil!)
  5. Unless otherwise prescribed, drink a cup of the tea in small sips twice a day

Various homeopathic remedies (for example Arnica montana, Apocynum or Crataegus) and Schüssler salts (in particular Schüssler Salt No. 7, Magnesium Phosphoricum) offer further naturopathic treatment approaches for high blood pressure. If a connection between the increased blood pressure and psychological stress is suspected, Bach flower therapy can also be used.

Circulatory weaknesses and a corresponding drop in blood pressure can be countered at the naturopathic level, for example with the help of hydrotherapy. So-called alternating showers and the foot bath have proven their worth here.

Homeopathy has some means to stabilize the circulation or blood pressure. For example, Camphora, Calcium carbonicum, Sepia, and Veratrum album are used in this area to treat low blood pressure. Rosemary, ginseng, gentian and wormwood are known as medicinal plants that stimulate the circulation. In addition, regular physical activity and a healthy diet are also of vital importance in the prevention of low blood pressure. (fp, nr)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.

Dipl. Geogr. Fabian Peters, Barbara Schindewolf-Lensch


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  • Norddeutscher Rundfunk: (access: 06.09.2019), recognize and treat fluctuations in blood pressure
  • Berthold Block: Internal Medicine - Guidelines 2007/2008: Compilation of evidence-based guidelines and recommendations, Thieme, 2007
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