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Do you ever feel dizzy or lightheaded when you stand up or after lying down?

Orthostatic hypotension, also called postural hypotension, is a sudden drop in blood pressure after standing up.

When you stand up, your blood rushes to your legs, causing a sudden drop in your blood pressure.

Your heart has to work harder to raise your blood pressure and heart rate to move your blood around your body.

It may take a minute or so for your blood pressure and heart rate to stabilize.

Untreated orthostatic hypotension can lead to an early death.

Causes of Orthostatic Hypotension

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Orthostatic hypotension is more common among the elderly population and people with heart disease, diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, anemia, thyroid problems, and alcoholism.

As we age, the heart cells and arteries that keep our blood pressure normal respond more slowly.

Some factors that may cause orthostatic hypotension include not drinking enough water or sweating excessively when working out, which leads to dehydration.

Medications That Cause Orthostatic Hypotension

Medications that treat erectile dysfunction, Parkinson’s, hypertension, diuretics (water pills), antidepressants and antipsychotics can also cause your blood pressure to drop when standing.

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Postprandial hypotension occurs in people who feel dizzy after eating. The brain sends more blood to the abdominal area to digest food after eating. When you stand, your blood rushes to your legs and you feel dizzy.

If you feel dizzy or lightheaded upon standing, call your doctor, or go to the nearest emergency room to be evaluated to determine what is causing your blood pressure to drop.

Always stand up slowly from a sitting position. If you’re lying down, swing your legs off the bed first, then sit on the edge of the bed for a few moments before standing slowly.

Your goal is to reduce the risk of a fall that may cause serious injuries.

This has been your Medical Minute.


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