High blood pressure is a dangerous condition that can cause a heart attack or stroke. Low blood pressure may seem advantageous, but it can also harm a person’s health. Eating disorders, like anorexia, can lead to abnormally low blood pressure, also called hypotension.
In many instances, anorexia involves a restricted diet caused by a compulsive desire to achieve a specific body image. Failing to consume enough calories can cause the body to break down its tissue for fuel.
According to the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA), the heart can struggle to pump blood when the body doesn’t produce enough fuel. As a result, the heart can become malnourished and hypotension can occur.
Some people with low blood pressure do not experience adverse symptoms. However, Mayo Clinic states that individuals with abnormally low blood pressure can deal with dizziness, nausea, fatigue and blurred vision.
A lack of B-12 vitamins can impede the body from producing enough red blood cells. When the body fails to create enough red blood cells, anemia can set in. Anorexia and anemia are closely related.
Binging and purging is a type of anorexia. According to NEDA, vomiting can deplete the body of electrolytes. This group of chemicals helps muscles to contract and the heart to beat. An imbalance of electrolytes can result in an irregular or rapid heartbeat — a telltale sign of low blood pressure.
Extreme hypotension can be fatal. People with severely low blood pressure can experience cold or clammy skin, confusion, a rapid pulse and shallow breathing. Hypotension can cause the body to enter a state of shock, which is a medical emergency.
Seek medical attention if you consistently experience low blood pressure that might be caused by anorexia. A doctor may suggest treatment options for anorexia. Many treatments for eating disorders help people improve their overall wellness.