Postural hypotension

Hypotension is the medical term for low blood pressure. It means the person has abnormally low blood pressure. If the systolic pressure is below 110 and the diastolic blood pressure is below 70 it means that the person is in a state of hypotension. There are several conditions that can cause low blood pressure. Postural hypotension is when there is a drop in blood pressure whenever there is a change in the position of the body. For instance, the person may be sitting down and then stands up or the person may be standing up and then lies down and in doing so there is a sudden drop in their blood pressure. This is a common condition that elderly people develop. Certain drugs that are alpha blockers can cause postural hypotension. People who have this condition will feel dizzy when they stand up. This is because they experience a temporary reduction in the amount of blood flow and a lack of oxygen to the brain. Some people even experience a temporary loss of consciousness due to the lack of oxygen to the brain when they have postural hypotension.

Chronic hypotension can be a serious condition. It brings with it an inherent increased risk to the person of injury from falls. Postural hypotension may also be a symptom of a serious underlying medical disorder like diabetes. It may also be caused by certain other diseases that affect the nerves and the nervous system. Postural hypotension can also be caused by alcoholism or serious nutritional deficiencies. Dehydration is another cause of it. Allowing yourself to become overly dehydrated can cause you to lose essential salt and other nutrients which will lead to lowered blood pressure. People who take diuretics can also experience this condition. Not staying hydrated on very hot days can put you at risk for temporary postural hypotension.

People who have heart valve damage or heart disease can also develop postural hypotension. Parkinson’s disease is a disease that affects the nervous system and it affects blood pressure as well. When someone has Hypovolemia they have a decreased amount of blood flow which can lead to the patient also having the experience of this low blood pressure condition. When this is the cause, adjusting the medication for Hypovolemia can help relieve the problems associated with low blood pressure. Sometimes the exact cause of this disorder may remain unknown.

When you experience light-headedness or fainting upon standing up you should get a medical evaluation to determine if you have postural hypotension. Certain tests can be performed that can diagnose this blood pressure disorder. These tests include the tilt-table test which involves placing the patient on a table that has a foot support and tilting the table upward. The blood pressure and pulse is then monitored and recorded. This will be done while the patient is in various positions. If postural hypotension is diagnosed the patient is usually be told to slowly get up from a sitting or lying position. If the cause of this condition is due to certain medications the doctor will typically lower the dosage or change it to another medication that does not have this side effect. Sometime medications to raise blood pressure by constricting the blood vessels can be prescribed when the doctor feels it is warranted. Adrenal gland medication is also another alternative that may be used.

When medication is determined to not be the cause, there is usually no treatment for this condition other than allowing the body to slowly adjust to the new position and give the blood enough time to circulate oxygen to the brain.

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Last updated on Jan 5th, 2010 and filed under Cardiovascular Disorders. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

1 Response for “Postural hypotension”

  1. Jobst says:

    Very informative article. My normal blood pressure from just sitting around is very low to begin with. Over the years I have had constant issue of “blacking out” upon standing up from either a lying or sitting position. I was not made aware that this was an actual condition until recently. I have not even thought of taken my blood pressure when this occurs. That is something I will try next time it happens and see how much lower my blood pressure drops. I have heard that compression stockings could also help this. I have a doctors appointment next week and will be discussing this further with her. Thanks for all of the great information!

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