Orthostatic hypotension is a condition of abnormal blood pressure regulation upon standing. The blood pressure quickly decreases, more than 20/10 mm Hg, when rising from a lying down or sitting position to a standing position.
Measuring of Blood Pressure
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Orthostatic hypotension has several causes.
Factors that increase your chances of getting orthostatic hypotension include:
Symptoms of orthostatic hypotension include:
Exercise or having eaten a heavy meal may worsen symptoms.
If you experience any of these symptoms do not assume it is due to orthostatic hypotension. These symptoms may be caused by other health conditions.
Orthostatic hypotension is diagnosed when symptoms are present and there is a measured reduction in blood pressure while standing, which is relieved by lying down.
Treatment for orthostatic hypotension depends on the cause.
When orthostatic hypotension is due to hypovolemia related to medications, adjusting or stopping medication may be needed to reverse the condition.
Orthostatic hypotension resulting from dehydration is treated with fluids and electrolyte replacement.
If bedrest is the cause of orthostatic hypotension, symptoms may be improved by increasing time spent sitting up in bed.
A number of medications may be given to boost blood pressure. Over-the-counter medications include caffeine and ibuprofen.
In some cases, individuals may be encouraged to increase their intake of salt. Fitted elastic stockings that go up to the waist may be worn. Individuals may need to be taught to rise from lying down, to sit up, and to stand in a slow and gradual manner. Similarly, they should be discouraged from standing still for too long a time.
If you are diagnosed with orthostatic hypotension, follow your doctor's instructions .
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
National Organization for Rare Disorders
Heart and Stroke Foundation
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NINDS orthostatic hypotension information page. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke website. Available at: http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/orthostatic_hypotension/orthostatic_hypotension.htm . Updated September 30, 2011. Accessed March 25, 2013.
Orthostatic syncope. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated November 9, 2012. Accessed March 25, 2013.
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Last reviewed September 2012 by Michael J. Fucci, DO
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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