Low BP

Know It All About Orthostatic Hypotension

Orthostatic hypotension refers to the falling of blood pressure levels as a result of change in the posture. A person suffering from orthostatic or postural hypotension experiences a dip in level when he changes his/her posture after a long time period. For instance, if the person stands up after sitting or lying down for some time, the blood pressure becomes low.

The usual time period taken for the blood pressure levels to drop is five to ten minutes. However, in some individuals, the blood pressure may take a little while to lower down after the change in position. This is known as delayed orthostatic hypotension and is a relatively rare condition.

Though this problem can affect the adults and the young ones alike, it is more common in adults. People in their older age are more susceptible to this problem as compared to people in other age groups.

How does one figure out whether he/she is suffering from orthostatic hypotension? If the systolic pressure of a person declines by 20 mmHg and diastolic pressure by 10 mm Hg within five minutes of change in position, the person is said to be suffering from orthostatic hypotension.

The causes of this health problem may vary from one person to another. However, the most common cause of this health condition is problem in or malfunctioning of the nervous system. If latest studies are to be believed then almost 60 % of cases of orthostatic hypotension are caused as a result of problems with the autonomic nervous system.

Some other common factors that can lead to the development of orthostatic hypotension include multiple system atrophy, general dysautonomia and lewy body syndromes. There are several other causes that can lead to this problem as well. Decrease in blood volume, disturbances of the heart or the inability of body's blood pressure sensors to perform can be responsible for the problem. However, the chances of orthostatic hypotension developing as a result of these factors are sleek.

While the cause of this health problem varies from one individual to the other, the effect remains the same in all individuals. Orthostatic hampers the functioning of the autonomic nervous system. It must be noted that it is the autonomic nervous system that is responsible for various body functions such as controlling breathing and blood pressure.

Since the cause of this health problem differs from one person to the other, the treatment varies too. There is no single treatment for orthostatic hypotension. In some cases, the treatment may be as simple as stopping the usage of a particular medication that may affect the working of the nervous system.

The doctors may also prescribe medications like fludrocortisone, phenylephrine, or midodrine to adjust the blood pressure levels as per the nervous system. In addition, the patients may also be taught how to adjust their body positions to avoid the problem.