Preventing Symptoms of Orthostatic Hypotension

Health / Life

A woman checking her blood pressure. / Photo by: Getty Images


Hypotension or commonly known as low blood pressure occurs when the arteries’ blood pressure drops below the normal level.

Orthostatic hypotension or postural hypotension is a form of low BP that happens when one stands up from lying down or sitting and one feels lightheaded or dizzy, or even faint.

How Long Does Orthostatic Hypotension Last?

A woman drinking water. Hypotension can be cause or result of dehydration. / Photo by: Getty Images


Mild orthostatic hypotension can last for a few minutes. However, those who experience long-lasting orthostatic hypotension may be suffering from a more serious health problem. Acute orthostatic hypotension is usually caused by a lengthy bed rest or dehydration, but it can be easily treated.

What are the Orthostatic Hypotension Symptoms?

A man feeling dizzy. / Photo by: Getty Images


The most common orthostatic hypotension symptoms are dizziness and lightheadedness when one stands up from lying down or sitting. There are also other orthostatic hypotension symptoms, such as weakness, nausea, fainting, confusion, and blurry vision. While it may be fairly minor for a person to experience occasional lightheadedness or dizziness, it is necessary to see a doctor if one experiences frequent orthostatic hypotension symptoms or loses consciousness even if it is just for a few seconds.

What are The Causes of Orthostatic Hypotension?

A photographer's description of aging. / Photo by: Getty Images


When one stands up, gravity will cause the blood to pool in the abdomen and legs. As a result, this decreases the blood pressure because there is less circulating blood back to the heart. The common causes of orthostatic hypotension include aging, drop in the blood volume, dehydration or low fluid volume in the body, pregnancy, immobility, such as staying in the bed for a long period of time, anemia, Parkinson’s disease, and other medications that are used to treat the elevated BP.

Orthostatic Hypotension Foods and Other Diet Tips to Normalize BP

A fresh kale harvested. / Photo by: Getty Images


There is a list of orthostatic hypotension foods that one can use to manage hypotension. It includes increase sodium salt intake. Take note, don’t use table salt, but sea salt or Himalayan salt for a better result. It should be consumed in moderation.

Avoid high carb foods, such as rice, pasta, bread, and potatoes. Caffeine-containing drinks, such as tea and coffee should also be taken in moderation. 

Nutrient-dense foods include fish, liver, egg, yogurt, kale, seaweed, spinach, broccoli, sweet potatoes, blueberries, grapefruit, papaya, and pomegranate. 

Remember to also eat moderate size diets.

Orthostatic Hypotension Diagnosis and Procedure

A conversation between the doctor and his patient. / Photo by: Getty Images


The key to the orthostatic hypotension diagnosis is a physical examination and a good medical history. The doctor will determine the circumstances associated with lightheadedness or passing out. The symptoms can be usually resolved quickly.

For formal diagnosis of the orthostatic hypotension, it needs a 20mm drop of systolic BP or 10mm drop in diastolic BP in three minutes standing. In such a case, a blood test may be recommended. A patient may also have to undergo a stress test. If the orthostatic hypotension symptoms recur but the doctor finds it not easy to document the abnormalities based on BP readings, a heads-up table test may be asked.  In this test, the patient is positioned flat on the table and the table will be gradually lifted to a 70 to 80-degree angle.

What are the Recognized Orthostatic Hypotension Treatments?

A couple doing an exercise using a gym ball. / Photo by: Getty Images


The orthostatic hypotension treatment usually depends on the cause of the episodes of orthostatic hypotension. Some treatment approaches include drinking more fluids, getting out of the chair or standing up slowly, avoid crossing your legs when sitting down, and performing isometric exercises, like squeezing the towel or rubber ball for a few minutes before the upright position.

Raising the head of the bed is also advised and wearing compression stockings to help blood circulation. To treat the orthostatic hypotension, the doctor may prescribe the patient with a medication. These medications will help increase the blood volume or by narrowing the blood vessels.