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Causes of Orthostatic Hypotension and its treatment

We will discuss the causes of Orthostatic Hypotension and its treatment.There are many symptoms by which orthostatic hypotension can be diagnosed.

Causes of Orthostatic Hypotension and its treatment

What is Orthostatic hypotension?

Orthostatic hypotension is also called as postural hypotension, it is a form of low blood pressure that happens when you stand up from sitting or lying down. Orthostatic hypotension can make you feel dizzy or lightheaded, and maybe even a little faint.

It can be mild and last for less than a few minutes. However, long-lasting orthostatic hypotension can be a sign of a more-serious problem.

Acute orthostatic hypotension is usually caused by dehydration or lengthy bed rest, and can easily be treated.

Chronic orthostatic hypotension is usually a sign of another serious health problem, therefore its treatment varies.

SYMPTOMS OF ORTHOSTATIC HYPOTENSION:

During the orthostatic hypotension, a person feels fainted and his brain is not working actively at that time due to insufficient blood supply, it is slowly staring to get shut down.

The main orthostatic hypotension symptoms are:

  • Lightheadedness
  • Confusion
  • Nausea
  • Fainting or passing out
  • Weakness
  • Blurred vision
  • Shaking of the body

These symptoms may resolve quickly as the body slowly adjusts to the standing position, but in some cases the patient has to sit or lie down quickly to maintain the balance of the body.

CAUSES OF ORTHOSTATIC HYPOTENSION:

The major causes of orthostatic hypotension are as follows:

  • Aging is the big factor that causes low blood pressure. Orthostatic hypotension is usually more common in the older people.
  • Drop in the volume of blood due to bleeding can lead to severe hypotension. When there are fewer red blood cells available to carry the oxygen in the bloodstream, dizziness and light-headedness can be occur.
  • Dehydration (loss of water from the body) due to diarrhea, vomiting, and hard exercises with excessive sweating under the hot weather.
  • Immobility (for example, staying in the bed for a long period)
  • Pregnancy
  • Heart conditions, including heart attack, heart failure, and irregular heartbeat. These conditions prevent your body from responding quickly enough to pump more blood when standing up.
  • Different diseases of the endocrine system, including diabetes, adrenal insufficiency, and thyroid conditions can also cause hypotension.
  • Medications which are used for anxiety, depression, and of Parkinson’s disease can also cause orthostatic hypotension.
  • Endocrine problems, Thyroid conditions, adrenal insufficiency (Addison’s disease) all are the causes of the orthostatic hypotension
  • Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) can cause orthostatic hypotension, as diabetes can also damage the nerves that help send signals regulating blood pressure.
  • Use of alcohol along with different blood pressure medications.

HOW IS ORTHOSTATIC HYPOTENSION DIAGNOSED?

Your doctor may recommend you one or more of the following tests to diagnose the orthostatic hypotension level in your body:

  • Tilt table test: A tilt table test is used to evaluate the body reaction to changes in the positions. You’ll lie on a flat table that tilts to raise the upper part of your body, then your blood pressure is noted down frequently as the table is tilted.
  • Blood tests can show your overall health information including low blood sugar level or a low number of red blood cells, which are both signs of orthostatic hypotension.
  • An electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG), which detects the irregularities in your heart rhythm and problems with blood and oxygen supply to the heart.
  • Stress test. A stress test is performed while you’re exercising, such as walking on a treadmill or after being given medication. When your heart is working harder, your heart will be monitored with electrocardiography, echocardiography tests.

TREATMENT OF ORTHOSTATIC HYPOTENSION:

As we have discussed earlier about the causes of orthostatic hypotension, its symptoms and diagnosis. Now we will discuss its treatment and its precautionary measures which are as follows:

Lifestyle changes:

  • By keeping your body hydrated, one can avoid the lowering of blood pressure. Fluids which have lost from diarrhea or vomiting should be replaced immediately.
  • One should avoid or limit the use of alcohol intake because alcohol can worsen orthostatic hypotension.
  • If you don’t have high blood pressure, your doctor might suggest you to increase the intake of salt in meals.
  • Avoid strenuous and tough exercises during hot weather.
  • When getting out of bed, sit a minute on the edge of the bed before standing up.
  • Avoid crossing your legs when you are in sitting position. Don’t stand for a long time.
  • Sleep with the head of your bed slightly elevated or you can place some cushions under your head.
  • Compression stockings can promote circulation of blood and help prevent fluid from pooling in the legs.

Medications:

Severe cases of orthostatic hypotension can be treated with medications to raise blood pressure.

  • Many medications, either used alone or together, can be used to treat orthostatic hypotension. For example, the drug fludrocortisone is often used to help increase the amount of fluid in your blood, which raises blood pressure or by constricting the blood vessels.
  • Midodrine raises standing blood pressure levels by limiting expansion of your blood vessels, which in turn raises blood pressure of your body.
  • Droxidopa may be prescribed to treat orthostatic hypotension associated with Parkinson’s disease, multiple system atrophy or pure autonomic failure of the body system.

Exercise:

  • Your doctor may also prescribe you to perform the isometric exercises such as squeezing a rubber ball or a towel for a few minutes before assuming an upright position. These exercises will raise your blood pressure and may prevent from a significant drop in blood pressure when you stand up.

We will discuss the causes of Orthostatic Hypotension and its treatment.There are many symptoms by which orthostatic hypotension can be diagnosed.

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