What Causes Episodes of Orthostatic Blood Pressure?

Blood pressure is defined as the force of blood pushing against the artery walls. The most common orthostatic blood pressure condition is known as orthostatic hypotension. This condition will cause a person’s blood pressure to dramatically drop when they stand up too quickly. In the elderly, this condition can cause severe lightheadedness, falls and injury, so it’s important to have these symptoms evaluated by a physician in order to better manage this condition.

Orthostatic Blood Pressure: How Your Blood Flow affects you

Blood pressure is recorded as two numbers: systolic and diastolic pressure. The systolic blood pressure number refers to the pressure in the arteries when the heart beats, filling the arteries with blood. The diastolic pressure involves the pressure in the arteries when the heart rests between each beat.

The main symptom of an orthostatic blood pressure condition is lightheadedness and dizziness upon standing. Other symptoms can include nausea, vomiting, blurry vision, faintness, numbness in lower extremities, confusion, pain in the chest and frequent falls. These symptoms will disappear once a person sits down.

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Common causes of this orthostatic blood pressure condition include age, diuretic use, pregnancy, dehydration, diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, certain medications, drug and alcohol interactions, heart conditions and anemia.

If you have experienced any symptoms related to orthostatic blood pressure, you should meet with your physician for an evaluation. Your doctor will record your blood pressure while placing you in three different positions: lying, sitting and standing. They will also run some tests in order to determine the underlying cause of orthostatic blood pressure. These tests will include an EKG, a blood test, a stress test and an echocardiogram. If you have experienced fainting spells, your doctor may perform a test called the table tilt test. This involves the patient lying on a table as it’s moved from a horizontal position to an upright position.

What Causes Orthostatic Hypotension?

Often, determining the underlying cause of orthostatic blood pressure issues can resolve further occurrences. Treatment will depend on the cause and can involve changing medications, avoiding sitting in certain positions, limiting or avoiding alcohol consumption, increasing fluid intake, standing up slowly, sitting up for several minutes before standing, elevating the head of the bed and wearing compression hose to promote better blood circulation.

Medication to treat orthostatic blood pressure may also be prescribed. These medications will help by constricting blood vessels or increasing blood volume. This condition is very treatable, allowing the patient to lead a healthy, normal life, as long as they follow the prescribed treatment.

Orthostatic hypotension is a common condition in the elderly, especially if they’re on several medications.

If you recognize the symptoms of orthostatic blood pressure and you have determined what makes them worse, there are ways you can avoid them or at the very least, minimize their effect on your body.

One of the most important things you can do to minimize episodes of orthostatic hypotension is to stay hydrated. Increase your fluid intake when you exercise and during hot weather.

If you’re on several types of medications, speak with your doctor about changing certain meds that may affect your blood pressure. It’s also important to avoid sudden changes in position, especially if you have been experiencing severe enough episodes that it causes you to lose your balance.

Staying Safe with Orthostatic Hypotension

Consider what exactly causes episodes of orthostatic hypotension, such as a high impact workouts, alcohol consumption, hot weather, dehydration and even your diet. This condition is especially worse in the morning, after sleep. Because of this it’s important that you sit up slowly and remain in this position for at least five minutes in order to avoid dizziness or falling upon standing.

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If you have a history of orthostatic hypotension, here are some tips that you can follow each day that will allow you lead a normal, safe lifestyle:

Drink plenty of fluids with each meal, at least eight ounces. This doesn’t include fluids with caffeine. Speak with your doctor about reducing your sodium intake. Too much sodium in your diet can cause dehydration and weight gain. Exercise at least two to three times every week. If you experience orthostatic episodes after a workout, try lowering the intensity of the exercises and drink eight to twelve ounces of water during. Avoid drinking alcohol and eat five small meals throughout the day.

If you’re going to be on your feet for a long period of time, take cold water with you. Drinking water works to increase blood volume, which in turn will cause your BP to increase for one to two hours.

If you’re lightheaded or dizzy in the morning, you can prevent this by elevating the head of the bed, drinking sixteen ounces of ice water before getting out of bed, move slowly from a lying position to a sitting position or performing light exercises or stretches before walking around the house.

The diastolic blood pressure number refers to the pressure in the arteries when the heart beats, filling the arteries with blood

The main symptom of an orthostatic blood pressure condition is lightheadedness and dizziness upon standing

  This condition can affect the elderly more severely and often causes falls and injury

Avoid eating foods that are high in fat in order to prevent orthostatic hypotension episodes

Drinking ice water throughout the day, if you’re going to be on your feet, can help to prevent orthostatic hypotension episodes

The most common symptom of orthostatic BP is

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