Orthostatic Hypotension is an important reading for medical professionals to take to determine issues with blood pressure related to body position. While blood pressure is traditionally taken with the patient in an upright sitting position, orthostatic hypotension testing requires readings in a prone and upright positions and then comparing these results. Correct orthostatic hypotension readings can help guide doctors to additional testing and review to determine the cause.
WHAT IS ORTHOSTATIC HYPOTENSION?
Orthostatic hypotension or postural hypotension is a form of low blood pressure that occurs when a person transitions position (from lying down to sitting up, sitting down to standing up, etc). Specifically, a 10 point drop in diastolic blood pressure (the lower number) or 20 point drop in systolic blood pressure (the higher number) indicates an orthastatic hypotension issue.
Symptoms of Orthostatic Hypotension
• Dizziness, feeling faint
• Light headedness
• Disorientation and confusion
• Blurred vision
Risk Factors of Orthostatic Hypotension
• Age (approx. 20% of people over 65)
• Anemia/GI Bleed
Some people may have mild orthostatic hypotension that lasts less than a few moments. Long lasting orthostatic hypotension can indicate serious issues like heart problems or endocrine issues. Therefore is it extremely important to see a doctor to get your orthostatic hypotension checked.
1. Have patient lay down for 5 minutes
2. Measure and record blood pressure and pulse
3. Have patient stand up. For patient’s safety, stand by
4. Within the first minute of standing, measure and record blood pressure and pulse
5. Have patient stand for 3 minutes
6. Measure and record blood pressure and pulse.
If patient is unable to stand, the readings can be done with the patient sitting up instead.
A reading of a 10 point drop in diastolic blood pressure (the lower number) or 20 point drop in systolic blood pressure (the higher number) indicates an orthastatic hypotension issue. Various reasons can cause orthostatic hypotension so your doctor will review your symptoms, review your medical history and possibly recommend additional testing to determine the best course of action.
Possible Additional Testing:
• Blood tests – Anemia or low blood sugar can cause low blood pressure
• Electrocardiogram (ECG/EKG) – Irregular heart rhythm or issues with
Postural hypotension is usually found in older patients, up to 20% of those older than 65. Although much less common, orthostatic hypotension can occur with younger people. It is often related to autoimmune disease such as Parkinson’s.
Orthostatic hypotension is an important reading that medical professionals should test, especially among older patients. Falling and fainting are common results from unrecognized orthostatic hypotension. Readings and subsequent analysis can help doctors get to the root cause and come up with a specific course of action for the patient.