Hypotension simply means having low blood pressure. Blood pressure is defined as the amount of force exerted in your blood vessels to pump the blood to your peripheries. Medically, you are considered to have hypotension if your blood pressure falls below 90 for systolic and 60 for diastolic.

Orthostatic hypotension is also popularly known as postural hypotension. This happens when you have a sudden drop in blood pressure when you stand immediately from sitting or lying prone. When a person stands up immediately after sitting or lying, the blood tends to pool at lower extremities due to gravity. At this moment, your calf muscles try hard to pump the blood up to the heart. If your body is unable to compensate for this, your blood pressure drops leading to orthostatic hypotension.

Commonly, you may experience symptoms such as listed below when you are having orthostatic hypotension

  • Lightheadedness
  • Unexplainable fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Blurring of vision
  • Dizziness

These symptoms usually fade away as the body slowly tries to adjust to a standing position. However, having these symptoms regularly and for a prolonged period should increase your concerns and you are advised to visit a doctor for further consultation.

 

What are the causes of orthostatic hypotension?

Causes of orthostatic hypotension could be divided into acute and chronic causes. Acute causes are mainly such as dehydration, drugs, and so forth. Meanwhile, chronic causes are physiological or pathological causes related to the central and peripheral nervous system. 

#Age

Orthostatic hypotension is very common in elderly persons. This is due to reduced sensitivity of the sympathetic nervous system to adapt to the changes of the blood pressure upon standing upright.

#Dehydration

Excessive vomiting or diarrhea from acute illness can cause loss of bodily fluids hence reducing the blood pressure. Heavy trauma or female going through menstrual period are also factors of dehydration.

#Drugs

Several drugs such as antihypertensives or antidepressants have effects on the central and peripheral nervous system leading to drop in the blood pressure.

#Endocrine abnormalities

Pathological problems in your adrenal glands such as Addisionian’s crisis and thyroid gland problems could cause abnormalities in the body adjustments to the drop in your blood pressure.

#Peripheral Nervous system

Diseases such as diabetes mellitus and amyloidosis have effects on the peripheral nerves causing insensitivity to the hypotension.

How is orthostatic hypotension diagnosed?

Your medical doctor will first review your symptoms through a complete history and conduct a few bedside assessments to diagnose this condition. Generally, repeated blood pressure measurements are taken including when you are sitting down and standing. People with orthostatic hypotension have a drop in blood pressure of 20/10 millimeter per mercury within 3 minutes of standing.

Other assessments include a head-up tilt table test, blood tests and ECG to look for any underlying reasons for the condition.

How do you overcome orthostatic hypotension?

Normally, you will not be requiring any treatments for orthostatic hypotension unless your symptoms are very frequent and impairing daily life. For any hypotension, if the reasons are not clear, your doctor will probably advise on these dimple methods to raise your blood pressure.

  1. Hydrate yourself. Bring with you a bottleful of water wherever you go for a jog or heavy workouts. In times, you are having vomiting or diarrhea, do visit a doctor for fluid treatment.
  2. Sit on the edge of your bed for at least a minute before standing up immediately.
  3. Consume more salt in your daily meal. However, consult a doctor prior before increasing the consumption of salt as it has many other effects.
  4. Wear compression stockings to promote circulation and prevents pooling of blood in the lower extremities,

 

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