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You are here : 3-RX.com > Medical Encyclopedia > Diseases and Conditions > Orthostatic Hypotension

Orthostatic Hypotension

Alternate Names : Postural Hypotension

Overview, Causes, & Risk Factors | Symptoms & Signs | Diagnosis & Tests | Prevention & Expectations | Treatment & Monitoring

Orthostatic hypotension is low blood pressure that occurs when a person stands up. It results in decreased blood flow to the brain.

What is going on in the body?

When a person goes from sitting or lying to a standing position, gravity can cause blood to pool in the lower half of the body. This can lower the blood pressure. However, the body has many ways to prevent this from happening, such as the heart pumping harder. In various conditions, the body is unable to prevent abnormally low blood pressure from happening when a person stands up. This can lead to symptoms and is called orthostatic hypotension.

What are the causes and risks of the infection?

Orthostatic hypotension has many possible causes, including:

  • dehydration, often from excessive vomiting, or severe diarrhea
  • decreased blood volume, which can occur with excessive bleeding
  • drugs or medications, such as alcohol, the blood pressure medication prazosin, or the diuretic called furosemide
  • prolonged bed rest
  • old age, which can decrease the body's natural ability to maintain the blood pressure when a person stands up
  • damage to the nervous system, such as that from diabetes, Parkinson's disease, and spinal cord injury
  • heart conditions, such as a heart attack, congestive heart failure, or a problem with a valve in the heart called aortic stenosis
  • anemia, or a low red blood cell count
  • blood vessel problems, such as severe varicose veins
  • low adrenal hormone levels, also called adrenal insufficiency
  • Other causes are also possible. Sometimes, no cause can be found.


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    Orthostatic Hypotension: Symptoms & Signs

    Author: Adam Brochert, MD
    Reviewer: Gail Hendrickson, RN, BS
    Date Reviewed: 07/02/01

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