Fasting means abstinence from any or all kinds of oral intake for a period. Fasting has been practiced for centuries for various reasons, including religious or spiritual purposes, weight loss, control of sugar levels, control of blood pressure, and detoxification. While there are potential health benefits to fasting, such as improved insulin sensitivity and reduced inflammation, there are other risk factors as well like low blood pressure as fasting lowers blood pressure (BP).
Yes, fasting can cause low blood pressure in some individuals. This is because when you fast, your body may experience a drop in your blood pressure because during a fast there is fluid deprivation and your body may conserve fluids, which can also lead to a drop in blood pressure.
How fasting lowers blood pressure – TOC
Types of fasting
Commonly practiced types of fasting are-
- Time-restricted fasting
- Intermittent fasting- Intermittent fasting is a widely practiced fasting method that involves alternating between eating and fasting periods
- Alternate day fasting
- 5/2 fasting- 5:2 method, where eating normally for five days and restricting calorie intake to 500-600 for two non-consecutive days.
- Water intake only- Water fasting is another form of fasting where individuals consume only water for a specific period ranging from 24 hours to several days. However, this type of fasting can be challenging and should only be done under medical supervision.
- Other types of fasting include juice fasting, where one consumes only fruit and vegetable juices, and partial fasting, which involves limiting food intake to one type of food or specific food groups for a set period.
When does fasting lowers blood pressure?
Fasting is an aforementioned practice and an important part of many religions and cultures. But one should be aware of the fact that sometimes fasting can be troublesome for your health especially if you are susceptible to having low BP. Individuals who are more susceptible to having low blood pressure are –
- History of low blood pressure
- Kidney disease
- Heart disease
- People are on certain medications, such as blood pressure medications.
Individuals with the above-mentioned conditions should be more careful and may even try other measures along with fasting for example, blood pressure medication dosage may need to be adjusted during a fast to prevent complications.
What can be done to minimize the risk of low blood pressure?
To minimize the risk of low blood pressure during fasting, the following measures can be tried-
- It is important to start with short fasting periods and gradually increase the duration as your body adjusts
- It is also recommended to stay well hydrated, as dehydration can also contribute to low blood pressure
- You can consume electrolytes
- Listen to your body’s signals, such as dizziness or light-headedness, and stop the fast if necessary.
- If you are on anti-hypertensive meds, you might adjust or review the dosage with your physician
- If you are prone to have low blood pressure or have experienced brief episodes of collapse in the past you can arrange a device at home to regularly measure your blood pressure in fixed intervals and take proper action immediately.
If you experience symptoms such as dizziness, light-headedness, or fainting during a fast, you should break the fast and seek medical attention.
If you are planning to fast, it is important to talk to your doctor first, especially if you have a history of low blood pressure or other medical conditions. Your doctor may recommend monitoring your blood pressure during the fast or modifying the fasting plan to minimize the risk of low blood pressure.
The Bottom Line
Fasting is the practice of abstaining from food or certain types of food for various purposes such as religious, cultural, or health-related. There are several types of fasting with unique guidelines and benefits. But one should be aware of the drawbacks and dangers associated with it and one very risky drawback is low blood pressure.
Fasting lowers low blood pressure in some individuals, and it is important to talk to your doctor before embarking on a fast. By taking precautions and monitoring your body’s response, you can reduce the risk of complications and safely enjoy the potential health benefits of fasting.