Postural Hypertension Definition
Postural Hypertension is a medical condition where the blood pressure falls rapidly after the body changes position most commonly after standing up while sitting for long periods of time. It is also known as orthostatic hypertension. Patients with postural Hypertension experience symptoms of low blood pressure when the condition occurs. Postural Hypertension is quite common among the elderly and doctors regularly see symptoms in patients as young as their mid 30’s. The medical definition of postural Hypertension is a systolic blood pressure drop of 20mmHg or a drop in diastolic pressure of 10mmHg within 5 minutes of standing up from a prolonged lying or seated position.
Postural Hypertension Symptoms
People that have postural Hypertension often experience symptoms immediately upon a body position change. Common occurrences are getting out of bed or bath, standing up from a seated position, or getting into a car. Dizziness, fainting, confusion, blurred vision, and a sensation of head rush are symptoms. It is also possible to experience delayed postural Hypertension where the symptoms don’t occur until several minutes after the change in position.
Postural Hypertension Causes
Dehydration, diabetes, medications, and multiple body systems atrophy can lead to postural Hypertension. It can also be caused by decreased blood volume, heart disturbances including irregular heartbeat, and a failure of the blood pressure sensors throughout our bodies. Most studies show that problems in the nervous system are usually to blame.
Postural Hypertension Effects
The attributable drop in blood pressure that occurs in postural Hypertension leads to disruption of the autonomic nervous system. As a result, basic systems like breathing and circulation can be thrown into disarray. Victims may feel dizzy and temporarily black out as well.
Postural Hypertension Treatment
Unfortunately there is no universal treatment for Postural Hypertension. This is due to the wide range of differences in individual’s nervous systems. Patients are treated on a case by case basis. Some of the most common treatments are to increase blood volume which can best be accomplished by drinking plenty of water. Patient are also taught to more gracefully change position from horizontal to verticle. Blood pressure agents including midodrine and fludrocortisone are sometimes used as well.
Should I See a Doctor?
You should consult a medical doctor after several fainting spells that occur after a change in position. You should definitely bring this up during your next physical exam or during blood work tests. There is a test for postural Hypertension called a Tilt Test. During this test, you lie on a flat surface that flexes into different positions and angles while your blood pressure is monitored. Early detection is crucial as the effects of postural hypertension worsen over time.