Diane Voyatzis, RD
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.
Orthostatic hypotension has several causes.
Factors that increase your chance of orthostatic hypotension include:
Orthostatic hypotension may cause:
Exercise or having eaten a heavy meal may worsen symptoms.
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.
Changing the way your eat may help. Do not eat three large meals. Instead, eat smaller, more frequent meals throughout the day. This will help to avoid low blood pressure after eating. Consider talking to a registered dietitian for advice.
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.
There is no way to prevent orthostatic hypotension if it is a result of other diseases or conditions. However, if your orthostatic hypotension relates to medications, dehydration, or bedrest, you should talk with your healthcare provider about treatment options.
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Last reviewed August 2014 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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