Difference Between Hypertension And Hypotension

What's the difference between hypertension and hypotension?

Expert Answers
Payal Khullar eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Hypertension is a medical term for what we commonly call as high blood pressure. It is a health condition, but not exactly a disease, in which the blood pressure rises above the normal range. This is just the opposite of Hypotension or low blood pressure in which the blood pressure falls below the normal range. 

Causes of hypertension can be obesity, hormonal imbalance, diabetic history, stress, anxiety, etc. The patients suffering from Hypertension have a weak heart, which is indicative of increased chances of a heart stroke (in severe cases, even heart failure).  Nose bleeding, severe headache, nausea, restlessness, etc. are commonly reported. 

Certain drugs (like anti-depressants, diuretics, pain killers) are known to lower your blood pressure. Low blood pressure can also be caused by alcohol intake, excessive dehydration, etc. In this case, since the body parts do not get enough blood (and hence, oxygen), the patients show symptoms such as faintness, dizziness, tiredness and weakness. Patients might also experience discomfort in breathing. In extreme cases, where the blood pressure becomes excessively low, this can be life threatening. People with a family history of irregular blood pressure should get it checked on a regular basis. Blood pressure can be controlled through good diet and healthy lifestyle.

orchid101 | Student

In the young adult, the average systolic pressure is120 mm. Hg. The average diastolic pressure is 80 mm.Hg. There are, however, pretty wide variations in blood pressure among healthy persons. Any systolic pressure over 140 or diastolic pressure over 100 is considered abnormal. This condition is called hypertension, or high blood pressure.There are no symptoms of hypertension. But majority of people with high blood pressure report headache, lightheadedness and tinnitus. It increases the risk of heart attack, chronic kidney disease and stroke.

In some persons, the blood pressure is lower than normal. Such persons are said to have low blood pressure, or hypotension. Hypotention is considered systolic blood pressure less than 90 mm Hg and diastolic less than 60 mm Hg. Hypotention can cause dizziness and fainting or serious neurological disorders.

makearney | Student

Both hypertension and hypotension are medical terms to describe blood pressure.  Hypertension refers to clinically high blood pressure, and hypotension refers to clinically low blood pressure.  Blood pressure is measured with a sphygmomanometer, usually around the upper arm, and describes both the pressure the heart generates when pumping blood (systolic pressure) and the pressure the arteries generate when the heart is resting (diastolic pressure).  It is written in millimeters of mercury (mmHg).


The American Heart Association describes a normal blood pressure reading as less than 120/80 mmHg with 120 being the systolic pressure and 80 being the diastolic pressure.  A blood pressure consistently greater than 130/80 mmHg signifies hypertension, and a blood pressure lower than 90/60 mmHg reveals hypotension.  Blood pressure should be taken over a period of a few days and at a consistent time to determine a medical diagnosis of hypertension or hypotension as blood pressure normally fluctuates throughout the day in response to eating, body position, stress and medications.  


Factors contributing to hypertension include diet, stress, age, cardiovascular disease including atherosclerosis, kidney disease, diabetes and the use of medications.  Hypertension often goes undetected and many people with hypertension show no symptoms (asymptomatic).  Unfortunately, untreated hypertension increases one’s risk for a heart attack or stroke.  Hypertension can be controlled with dietary changes, stress reduction, exercise and medication.  


Factors contributing to hypotension include pregnancy, heart problems, dehydration, loss of blood and hormonal issues.  Signs of hypotension include dizziness and fainting, confusion and shock.

eli468 | Student

Hypotension is when someones blood pressure is below normal levels than are expected (low blood pressure).

Hypertension is the exact opposite. Hypertension is when someones blood pressure is above normal levels than are expected (high blood pressure).

The expected levels can be varying. It depends on the environment the person lives in, if they are taking any medications that may cause a higher or lower level, health level, age, if they are sick, and other causes.

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