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Postural Hypotension – Symptoms, Causes, Treatment

Written by Dr.Mary

What is Postural Hypotension?

Also referred to as Orthostatic Hypotension, this is a form of blood pressure that is too low and often causes lightheadedness or dizziness or even fainting when standing up from lying down or sitting.

The condition is normally quite mild, lasting only several seconds to several minutes after standing up. Any long-lasting postural hypotension may be an indication of problems that could be more severe. It is important to speak with your physician if this is happening frequently. If you are unconscious, even for moment, it becomes even more urgent to see your physician.

Postural hypotension that is mild does not need any treatment. Many individuals on occasion feel lightheaded or dizzy upon standing, and it is normally not a cause of any concern. Treatment for cases that are more serious is dependent on the underlying cause.

Postural Hypotension Symptoms

The symptoms of postural hypotension that are the most common are feeling dizzy and lightheaded when standing up after lying or sitting down. The feeling as well as other symptoms normally happens shortly after standing up and normally only lasts a few seconds. Other symptoms of postural hypotension include:

  • Vision that is blurry
  • Dizzy or lightheaded
  • Fainting known as syncope
  • Weakness
  • Nausea
  • Confusion

Postural Hypotension Causes

When an individual stands up, the effects of gravity causes the blood in the leg to pool. This causes lower blood pressure since there is less blood flowing back to the heart to be pumped. Special cells or baroreceptors near the heart and the arteries in the neck feels this lowering blood pressure and counteracts this by triggering the heart to a faster beat, pumping more blood and this alleviates blood pressure to normal. Additionally, these cells trigger the narrowing of the blood vessels, and this raises resistance to blood flow increasing blood pressure.

Postural hypotension happens when the body’s natural process is interrupted in counteracting low blood pressure. Postural hypotension may be caused by many different things, such as:


Vomiting, fever, serious diarrhea, exercise causing excessive sweating, not drinking enough fluids, can lead to dehydration. When an individual develops dehydration, the body drops blood volume. Even dehydration that is mild can create symptoms of postural hypotension. When an individual is dehydrated, the body drops blood volume. Even dehydration that is extremely mild may create symptoms of postural hypotension, for instance fatigue, weakness, and dizziness.

Problems of the Heart

Certain heart problems may cause blood pressure to lower including heart valve problems, exceptionally low heart rate or bradycardia, heart failure and heart attack. Such problems can cause postural hypotension due to the fact that it prevents the body’s ability to respond rapidly by pumping additional blood when needed, when standing up.


Disorders of the Nervous system

Certain diseases, for example Shy-Drager peripheral neuropathies, Parkinson’s disease, and amyloidosis, may disturb the body’s blood pressure normal directive system.


Diabetes that is untreated causes in some cases dehydration by creating urination on a repeated basis. This may trigger postural hypotension. As well, diabetes may damage nerves that aid in sending signals managing the blood pressure.

Postural Hypotension Treatment

Treatment of postural hypotension is dependent on the cause that is underlying. The physician will attempt to take care of the underlying problem – heart failure or dehydration for example – rather than the low pressure itself. For postural hypotension that is mild, one of the easiest treatments is to lie down or sit down instantaneously after feeling lightheaded when standing. The symptoms of postural hypotension usually disappear.

When low pressure is due to treatment medication, it usually implicates changing the dose of the drug or stopping it completely. There are normally numerous selections for treating postural hypotension and these include:

Lifestyle changes

Drinking plenty of fluids, such as water; drinking no to little alcohol; avoiding walks during weather that is hot weather; and standing slowly are efforts that the physician can advise. The physician might also advise an exercise program to strengthen the muscles of your calf. If you do not have high pressure, your physician might advise increasing the quantity of salt in the diet.

Stockings for compression

The identical elastic leotards and stockings normally used to get rid of the swelling and pain of varicose veins can be an aid in reducing the blood pooling in the legs as well as reducing any symptoms of postural hypotension.


Numerous medications, either used alone or together, may be used in treating postural hypotension. For instance, the drug fludrocortisone is used to help raise the amount of fluid in the blood, and raises pressure. Physicians often use the drug midodrine or ProAmatine to raise standing levels of blood pressure. It works by limiting the capacity of the blood vessels to enlarge, which in turn, raises blood pressure. Other drugs, such as pyridostigmine or Mestinon, NSAIDS, caffeine and epoetin sold as Epogen or Procrit, are used also, either alone or with other drugs for individuals who are not helped with lifestyle changes or other medications.

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