Orthostatic or postural hypotension is a condition in which the blood pressure drops suddenly which may cause dizziness, blurred vision, fainting, etc. Due to lack of awareness, many people neglect its primary onsets. This article educates you about this condition which can have fatal effects.
Dizziness when standing up after sitting for a long time, is a cause of worry as it can be an indicator of postural hypotension aka orthostatic hypotension. It refers to a health condition where the patient experiences a sudden drop in the blood pressure after changing the body position. We all experience mild orthostatic hypotension at one time or the other but it doesn’t last for more than a few seconds and we cannot really experience it. But people suffering from it generally experience the symptoms of low blood pressure, such as, sudden dizziness, syncope, blurred vision, difficulty in breathing, palpitations, and fainting. This condition is more common in older people, however, many youngsters and people suffering from blood pressure problems report to be experiencing orthostatic hypotension.
In order to understand the health condition you must know how our body works when we make drastic body positions. Imagine that our body is like a water bottle and when we sleep the water is distributed in the bottle evenly. Similarly when we lie down the blood in the body is distributed evenly but when we stand up our body becomes vertical making the blood flow to the bottom or lower parts of the body, keeping the top empty, just like when we hold the water bottle vertical the water accumulates at the bottom. Well, unlike bottle the body has a mechanism to control this flow which is involuntary. When we change the posture, especially, in the vertical posture, our heart beats faster and increases the amount of blood that is pumped then with the help of constricting arteries the blood is forced to flow to the upper body towards the heart and brain. But there are certain factors that can interfere with this natural process causing sudden dip in the blood pressure.
There could be many underlying reasons why the blood pressure goes down after standing up. Some of the prominent causes of low blood pressure which can lead to postural hypotension are as following:
- Multiple system atrophy
- General dysautonomia
- Lewy body syndrome
- Decreased blood volume
- Heart rate disturbance
- Failure of blood pressure sensors
- Nervous system problems
- Involuntary nervous system dysfunction
- Blockage of blood vessel
- Blockage in cardiac system
From the above causes, it is evident that any problem related to the heart and nervous system can increase your chances of suffering from orthostatic hypotension. This condition is hazardous due to the obvious adverse effects it can have on our brain, heart, and nervous system. If the brain and heart remains deprived of blood for longer period of time a person may suffer from brain or heart damage. Hence, it is essential to report such experiences as soon as possible to your doctor to avoid any further unwanted episodes.
As mentioned before there are many underlying causes that may result in blood pressure drop and orthostatic hypotension in patients and therefore, the treatment for this condition is different for different people. Generally, after eliminating the underlying causes, a person may be able to maintain ideal blood pressure level in all positions. In case, the condition occurs due to some medicines and drugs, discontinuing the medicine is the only treatment. Some patients are also advised by their doctors about changing their body positions safely in order to avoid dizziness and fainting. In case of heart and nervous system problems, the doctors may prescribe some exercises and medicines for certain period or for lifetime.
Regular exercise, balanced diet, and healthy lifestyle helps you keep the postural hypotension at bay if you do not have any heart or nervous system problems already. So, never neglect your health as small signals by the body could be an indication to bigger health problems.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.