Orthostatic Hypotension (cont.)
Benjamin Wedro, MD, FACEP, FAAEM
Dr. Ben Wedro practices emergency medicine at Gundersen Clinic, a regional trauma center in La Crosse, Wisconsin. His background includes undergraduate and medical studies at the University of Alberta, a Family Practice internship at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario and residency training in Emergency Medicine at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center.
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
In this Article
- What is orthostatic hypotension?
- What causes orthostatic hypotension?
- What are the risk factors for orthostatic hypotension?
- What are the symptoms of orthostatic hypotension?
- When should I call the doctor for orthostatic hypotension?
- How is orthostatic hypotension diagnosed?
- What is the treatment for orthostatic hypotension?
- What are the complications of orthostatic hypotension?
- How can orthostatic hypotension be prevented?
- Orthostatic Hypotension At A Glance
- Find a local Cardiologist in your town
How can orthostatic hypotension be prevented?
Since dehydration is the most common cause of orthostatic hypotension, it is important to minimize the risk by keeping adequately hydrated. This is especially important if an individual works or exercises in a hot environment. Fluid lost from vomiting, diarrhea, and other illnesses that are associated with a fever should be replaced as best as possible.
Patients taking new medications that may affect the autonomic nervous system should be aware of the potential for orthostatic hypotension and report any symptoms to their health care practitioner.
Orthostatic Hypotension At A Glance
- The autonomic nervous system makes changes in blood pressure and heart rate
to allow the body to provide adequate blood supply to the brain when the body
- Symptoms of orthostatic hypotension include lightheadedness, weakness,
blurred vision, and syncope or passing out.
- Dehydration, blood loss, and anemia are the most common
reasons to develop low blood pressure when standing.
- Beta blockers, other high blood pressure medications, and medications
such as sildenafil (Viagra) may all cause orthostatic hypotension.
- Vasovagal syncope may cause symptoms of fainting when the vagus nerve is
stimulated by a noxious stimulus, either physical (pain) or emotional.
- Diagnosis is often made by history and physical examination. Injury from
falling is the main complication of this entity.
- Maintaining adequate hydration is the best way to prevent orthostatic hypotension.
Last Editorial Review: 6/11/2009
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