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What is orthostatic hypotension?

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Quick Answer

Orthostatic hypotension is a type of low blood pressure that occurs when an individual stands up, states Mayo Clinic. Symptoms of this condition typically last from a few seconds up to a few minutes.

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Full Answer

Lightheadedness, dizziness, weakness, blurred vision and confusion are common signs and symptoms of orthostatic hypotension, notes Mayo Clinic. Occasional occurrences typically do not require medical attention, but a doctor should evaluate a person with repeated and long-lasting symptoms. Loss of consciousness, even momentarily, requires urgent medical care. Possible causes of this condition include endocrine issues, dehydration, nervous system disorders, heart problems and low blood pressure that occurs after eating. Possible complications of orthostatic hypotension are falls, cardiovascular diseases and stroke.

Blood pressure monitoring, blood tests, an electrocardiogram, a stress test and a Valsalva maneuver help evaluate orthostatic hypotension along with a medical history review, states Mayo Clinic. Doctors typically attempt to treat the underlying cause of this condition instead of merely focusing on low blood pressure. While mild symptoms typically disappear after sitting or lying down immediately, other treatments include changing or discontinuing certain medications, wearing compression stockings, and use of prescription medications. Lifestyle changes, such as carefully increasing salt in the diet, regularly exercising, elevating the head while in the bed, and slowly standing up, also help manage and prevent orthostatic hypotension.

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