Readers frequently write in and ask me what to do for low blood pressure. My feeling usually is to advise them to get down on their knees and thank heaven for it. It only occasionally indicates any serious disease and, in most instances, indicates a type of bodily build which goes with long life and good health.
For instance, in a report in the American Medical Journal, a doctor found six cases of low blood pressure in one family. He says, “They are in excellent health, and are active and vigorous; most of them robust, and one is obese.”
“Low blood pressure,” he continues, “is of little or no significance except as a possible indicator of long life.”
Both high and low blood pressure are usually associated with certain types of body build. This is true in spite of the exception in the six cases in one family just noted, that they were robust to obese in build.
For instance, Dr. Larimore of St. Louis several years ago studied the blood pressure in 417 factory workers. He classified them in four groups, and found that the average blood pressure of these groups was related to their general bodily build.
The broad, heavy-set type of individual had, in general, 20 to 30 per cent higher blood pressure than the thin, narrow, type of individual. Other things being equal, heavy-set people have higher blood pressures, and the delicately built people have the lower blood pressures. Average builds have average blood pressures.
This corresponds to what we would assume theoretically. The thin person does not usually “get up as much steam” as the heavy-set fellow. He does not live or work under such high pressure. And, therefore, his tubing and pumping station do not have to be kept at such tension.
It is true that under certain circumstances a low blood pressure may indicate some bodily disease. It is occasionally associated with tuberculosis, and perhaps with defective thyroid secretion. But such cases are decidedly in the minority.
Low blood pressure, in general, as we see, is likely to be hereditary and found in all members of a family.
In general, also, low blood pressure belongs to a type of individual, and that type is a long-lived, wiry, healthy type.