Orthostatic hypotension

Orthostatic hypotension

Description, Causes and Risk Factors:

Alternative Names: Postural hypotension, orthostatic hypopiesis.

Abbreviation: OH.

Orthostatic hypotension is not a specific disease but rather a manifestation of abnormal blood pressure regulation due to a variety of causes. Orthostatic hypotension has been observed in all age groups, but it occurs more frequently in the elderly, especially in persons who are sick and frail. Orthostatic hypotension is a common problem in people with autonomic disorders such as Multiple System Atrophy (MSA) and Pure Autonomic Failure.

The causes of orthostatic hypotension can be categorized as nonneurogenic and neurogenic. The non-neurogenic causes include cardiac pump failure, venous pooling, reduced intravascular volume, and medication effects. The neurogenic causes include primary disorders and secondary autonomic system failure which is more common and can result from diseases of the central or peripheral nervous system.

Risk Factors:


  • Heart failure.

  • Deconditioning.

  • Pregnancy.

  • Anemia.

  • Dehydration.

  • Dialysis.

  • Certain food.

  • Infection.

  • Hyperventilation.

  • Hot weather.

  • Lifting of heavy objects.


The most common symptoms include:

    Feeling light-headed, dizzy, or faint soon after arising.

  • Pain across the back of shoulders and neck - `coathanger' pain.

  • Pain in lower back and buttocks.

  • Sweating.

  • Blurred vision.

  • Passing out.

  • These symptoms are a direct result of lowered blood pressure and lack of enough blood flow to the brain. People whofaint may fall and injure themselves.


The health care provider will examine you and try to determine what is causing the low blood pressure. Your vital signs (temperature, pulse, heart rate, blood pressure) will be checked frequently. You may need to stay in the hospital for a while.

The following tests may be done:

    Blood cultures to check for infection.

  • Complete blood count (CBC) and other blood tests, including blood differential.

  • ECG.

  • Urinalysis.

  • X-ray of the abdomen.

  • X-ray of the chest.

  • Tilt test: During a tilt test, you will lie on a bed that will change positions and angles. Your blood pressure will be monitored during these changes to assess how serious the problem is.


The first steps in treatment of orthostatic hypotension are diagnosis and management of the underlying cause. A patient with symptomatic orthostatic hypotension who has a disease with no complete or specific cure may benefit from nonpharmacologic interventions. Increasing salt and fluid intake often is an initial step, although it may be difficult to undertake in some patients, such as those with severe congestive heart failure. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can be used to increase intravascular volume.

There are some exercises that help circulation and some maneuvers which reduce symptoms.

These simple exercises stimulate your circulation. You can do them in bed, or whilst sitting or standing and should do them before you change position or if you have been sitting or lying down for a while.

    Move your feet up and down at the ankle.

  • Do gentle `marching' on the spot.

  • If you get symptoms when you stop moving (e.g. after climbing up a flight of stairs), use these exercises after you have stopped.


    Avoid standing still, cross and uncross your legs.

  • Crouch or squat down (as if to tie your shoe laces or look in your bag).

  • Bend forward and press your stomach, this is the position most people use when feeling faint.

Disclaimer: The above information is educational purpose. The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition.

DISCLAIMER: This information should not substitute for seeking responsible, professional medical care.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Cart Preview

Regular Walking May Reduce Stroke Severity

Regular Walking May Reduce Stroke Severity

A new study, conducted by the scientists from the University of Gothenburg in Sweden, finds that light and moderate physical activity, for example walking and swimming, may help reduce the stroke severity. The study included approximately data from 1,000 individuals...

Regular Use of Probiotics May Cut the Need for Antibiotics

Regular Use of Probiotics May Cut the Need for Antibiotics

According to the latest study, published in the European Journal of Public Health, regular use of probiotics may cut the necessity for antibiotics and help decrease the rise of antibiotic resistance. Having performed the analysis of the data, collected from recent...

[WpProQuiz 1]

Featured Products

The 5 Best Accessories for Sports Fans

It is very entertaining to be a sport fan. There is a big variety of sport games that are extremely interesting to follow. Moreover, it is always fun to anticipate the score and watch the enthusiasm live. One of the benefits of being sports fan is using different...

read more

Exercise May Serve as an Antidepressant

A new study of nearly 18,000 participants found that those with high fitness at middle age were significantly less likely to die from heart disease in later life, even if they were diagnosed with depression. Doctor's Tips: How to Stay Fit While Treating Depression Dr....

read more

Fitness: Warm Ups Can Chill Out the Perfomance

The warm ups are supposed to increase body temperature and blood flow so the muscles and surrounding joints become more responsive and prepared for physical activity. Although there’s a neurological element to warm-ups, most research focuses on the physiological...

read more