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How Does Orthostatic Hypotension Affect The Body & What Triggers It?

Orthostatic hypotension refers to a medical condition, where the blood pressure of a person falls whenever he/she sits or stands. These people experience a sudden drop in blood pressure and that too within only 2 minutes to 3 minutes, while a few other people suffer from the gradual or classic type of orthostatic hypotension.

How Does Orthostatic Hypotension Affect The Body?

Adverse effects of orthostatic hypotension depend on symptoms and complications

Symptoms Of Orthostatic Hypotension: Patients suffering from the problem of orthostatic hypotension have a few of the common symptoms. These are light-headedness, dizziness, fainting, blurred vision, fatigue, nausea and falling, and similar others. However, most of the underlying symptoms go away once your body adjusts to upright position slowly and after you lie down or sit for some time.(1)

Complications Of Orthostatic Hypotension: Orthostatic hypotension may sometimes reach to its persistent state and persistent orthostatic hypotension may lead to severe complications, particularly in elderly people. These include-

Falling: Falling because of syncope or fainting is one of the prime complications among people suffering from orthostatic hypotension.

Cardiovascular Problems: Orthostatic hypotension may sometimes cause various complications related to cardiovascular diseases. These include heart failure, chest pain and problems related to heart rhythms.

Stroke: Swings in your blood pressure while you sit and stand because of orthostatic hypotension may sometimes become a risk factor of stroke because of reduced supply of blood to your brain.(2)

What Triggers Orthostatic Hypotension?

Pregnancy: Pregnancy has a close association with orthostatic hypotension. With the progression of your pregnancy, the overall volume of your circulatory system expands as well as blood pressure fails. This leads to lightheadedness whenever you stand quickly, while your blood pressure returns to its normal level after your delivery.

Excessive Sweating: Excessive sweating because of exposure to heat and physical exertion are prime risk factors and major causes related to dehydration and underlying orthostatic hypotension symptoms. Patients, who have additional risk factors, like drug abuse and chronic alcohol addiction may remain at high risk to develop orthostatic hypotension symptoms, especially when they dehydrate mildly.(4)

While you stand up, gravity forces your blood to pool in the abdomen and legs. This reduces blood pressure, as there is less reverse blood circulation to the heart. Orthostatic hypotension takes place whenever anything interrupts the natural process of your body to counteract low blood pressure. You may suffer from orthostatic hypotension because of different health conditions, which include the following-

Dehydration: Vomiting, fever, failure to consume fluids in enough amounts, strenuous exercises and severe form of diarrhea with sweating excessively may result in dehydration and turn, reduction in blood volume. A mild form of dehydration may cause various symptoms related to orthostatic hypotension, like dizziness, weakness, and fatigue.

Endocrine Problems: Adrenal insufficiency, thyroid conditions, and hypoglycemia i.e. low blood pressure may sometimes cause orthostatic hypotension. Moreover, diabetes may cause damage to your nerves, which are responsible to send signals to regulate blood pressure.

Heart Problems: A few of the heart-related problems cause hypotension i.e. low blood pressure. These include heart valve problems, low heart rate, heart failure, and heart attack. These conditions avoid your body responding rapidly to pump a high amount of blood whenever you stand up.

After You Have Meals: A few of the people experience hypotension after they have meals and the condition mainly takes place in old adults. Doctors refer to this condition as postprandial hypotension.

Nervous System Disorders: A few of the nervous disorders, like multiple system atrophy, Parkinson’s disease, pure autonomic failure, Lewy body dementia, and amyloidosis may disrupt the regular blood pressure of your body and the pressure regulation system.(3)


Orthostatic hypotension involves a large number of symptoms and may cause various complications to make the health of a person adverse. Moreover, the problem may trigger because of causes and risk factors.


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Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:May 1, 2020

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