This condition called orthostatic hypotension is caused by blood gushing to the lower limbs leaving the brain devoid of enough blood. Reasons include low blood and adrenaline levels, neurological damage anemia, vasodilation, narrowing of aortic valves and some blood thinning drugs. Use leg compressors, stay hydrated, exercise regularly and change drugs.
Do you feel dizzy when you stand up after sitting for long? This maybe due to orthostatic hypotension.
What Is Orthostatic Hypotension?
Orthostatic hypotension also known as postural hypotension is a form of low blood pressure that occurs when you move from sitting or lying down to standing up quickly. This drop in pressure is caused as blood rushes from parts of your body towards the lower part of the body. This reduces blood circulation to the brain and can cause dizziness or even make you faint.
The effects of orthostatic can last for a few minutes after standing or even for a longer period, which could be a serious sign of other underlying problems. Clinically, orthostatic hypotension is identified when there is a decrease of over 10 mm hg in blood pressure within three minutes of standing.
Types of Orthostatic Hypotension
Orthostatic hypotension can be classified into neurogenic and non-neurogenic orthostatic hypotension. The causes for each are as follows:
Neurogenic Orthostatic Hypotension
This type of hypotension occurs due to an autonomic nervous system malfunction, where the nervous system fails to adjust blood flow according to the change in body position.
This failure by the body to recognize how blood is to be distributed according to the body’s position can be due to weak nervous system or neurological damage caused by diseases like Parkinson’s, Diabetic Neuropathy, Multiple System Atrophy (MSA).1
Non-Neurogenic Orthostatic Hypotension
This type is caused by reasons other than neurological impairment to control appropriate blood flow and can be countered with lifestyle changes to reduce intensity. Causes of non-neurogenic orthostatic hypotension are:
Low Blood Volume
Reduced blood viscosity can make it easier for blood to rush to parts when changing position. This rushing may leave other parts with a lack of blood flow, which is what causes temporary dizziness or numbness. Loss in blood volume can occur due to anemia, loss of blood, excessive sweating or dehydration.
A lack of adrenaline production by the pituitary gland can cause low blood pressure. Adrenal deficiency can occur due to an severe attack on the immune system, lack of nutrition and chronic conditions like asthma and arthritis.
This is when the blood vessels widen as supposed to when they should narrow down (vasoconstriction) for blood flow. This allows blood vessels to dilate and leads to drop in blood pressure. In most cases vasodilation is caused as a side effect of pharmaceutical drugs that alter certain cardiac hormones.
This involves the narrowing of aortic valves in the heart, which is gradual and occurs with age and is accelerated by smoking and high cholesterol. This reduces the heart’s blood pumping capacity, reducing blood flow. It may also occur due to genetic disorders, Fabry disease, high uric acid levels and as a after effect of acute rheumatic fever.
Medicines that are diuretics or can cause blood thinning as a side-effect can worsen orthostatic hypotension. Check with your doctor to rule out any possibilities.2
Ways To Prevent And Treat Orthostatic Hypotenstion
Abdominal and Lower Limb Compressors
Studies show that abdominal binders and compression stockings can reduce blood from pooling at the lower end of the body. This is effective especially against hypotension caused by a weak nervous system.3
Regular bouts of mild exercising can reduce venous pooling and increase plasma volume. Indulge in sitting or supine exercises as standing exercises may increase the flow of blood pressure to the lower body.
Fluids and Salts
Staying hydrated can help maintain or improve healthy blood volume. Make sure you are adequately hydrated through the day. Salt can increase blood pressure so it is advised to increase intake with food. Meet your doctor before you take this step as excess salt can increase heart disease risk.
There are a vast range of medical treatments for orthostatic hypotension. Consult you doctor if other home remedies aren’t helping you cope.
References [ + ]
|2.||↑||Mets, Tony F. “Drug-induced orthostatic hypotension in older patients.”Drugs & aging 6.3 (1995): 219-228.|
|3.||↑||Podoleanu, Cristian, et al. “Lower limb and abdominal compression bandages prevent progressive orthostatic hypotension in elderly persons: a randomized single-blind controlled study.” Journal of the American College of Cardiology 48.7 (2006): 1425-1432.|