Hypotension is low blood pressure, especially in the arteries of the systemic circulation. Blood pressure is the force of blood pushing against the walls of the arteries as the heart pumps out blood. A systolic blood pressure of less than 90 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) or diastolic of less than 60 mm Hg is generally considered to be hypotension. However, in practice, blood pressure is considered too low only if noticeable symptoms are present.
Hypotension is the opposite of hypertension, which is high blood pressure. It is best understood as a physiological state, rather than a disease. Severely low blood pressure can deprive the brain and other vital organs of oxygen and nutrients, leading to a life-threatening condition called shock. Though often associated with shock, hypotension is not necessarily indicative of it.