Orthostatic hypotension is a rapid and sudden decrease in blood
pressure that occurs when a person changes position, such as rising from a
sitting or lying position to standing, or when standing motionless in one
position. Symptoms of orthostatic hypotension may include lightheadedness,
dizziness, or fainting (syncope).
When a person sits up or stands up, the body adjusts the way it
pumps blood to maintain blood flow to the brain. If the blood flow changes
occur too slowly after the person stands up, the blood flow to the brain may be
temporarily reduced, causing the person to feel lightheaded or to faint. Most
people do not have orthostatic hypotension symptoms when they change
Orthostatic hypotension is often caused or made worse by
dehydration. Other causes include diabetes, heart disease, and nervous system
problems. Many medications cause orthostatic hypotension.
Treatment can involve adjusting medicines and increasing fluid
January 2, 2013
William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine & David Messenger, MD
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