There are many simple steps to managing or preventing orthostatic hypotension. Your doctor may give you several suggestions, including:
May 13, 2014
- Use more salt in your diet. This must be done with care, and only after discussing it with your doctor. Too much salt can cause your blood pressure to increase beyond a healthy level, creating new health risks.
- Eat small meals. If your blood pressure drops after eating, your doctor may recommend small, low-carbohydrate meals.
- Get plenty of fluids. Keeping hydrated helps prevent symptoms of low blood pressure. But avoid or limit the amount of alcohol you drink, because alcohol can worsen orthostatic hypotension.
- Exercise. Exercise your calf muscles before sitting up. Also, when getting out of bed, sit on the edge of your bed for a minute before standing. Exercise regularly may help reduce symptoms of orthostatic hypotension.
- Avoid bending at the waist. If you drop something on the floor, squat with your knees to recover it.
- Wear compression stockings or abdominal binders. These may help reduce the symptoms of orthostatic hypotension.
- Get up slowly. You may be able to reduce the dizziness and lightheadedness that occur with orthostatic hypotension by taking it easy when you move from a lying to standing position. Instead of jumping out of bed in the morning, breathe deeply for a few minutes and then slowly sit up before standing.
- Elevate your head in bed. Sleeping with the head of your bed slightly elevated can help fight the effects of gravity.
- Move your legs while standing. If you begin to get symptoms while standing, cross your thighs in a scissors fashion and squeeze, or put one foot on a ledge or chair and lean as far forward as possible. These maneuvers encourage blood to flow from your legs to your heart.
- Orthostatic hypotension. The Merck Manuals: The Merck Manual for Health Care Professionals. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/cardiovascular_disorders/symptoms_of_cardiovascular_disorders/orthostatic_hypotension.html?qt=orthostatic%20hypotension&alt=sh. Accessed Feb. 17, 2014.
- What is hypotension? National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/hyp/. Accessed Feb. 17, 2014.
- Kaufmann H, et al. Mechanisms, causes, and evaluation of orthostatic hypotension. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Feb. 17, 2014.
- Low blood pressure. American Heart Association. http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/HighBloodPressure/AboutHighBloodPressure/Low-Blood-Pressure_UCM_301785_Article.jsp. Accessed Feb. 17, 2014.
- Low PA, et al. Management of neurogenic orthostatic hypotension: An update. Lancet Neurology. 2008;7:451.
- What is an electrocardiogram? National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/ekg/. Accessed Feb. 24, 2014.
- What is echocardiography? National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/echo/. Accessed Feb. 24, 2014.
- Kaufmann H, et al. Treatment of orthostatic and postprandial hypotension. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Feb. 17, 2014.
- Figueroa JJ, et al. Preventing and treating orthostatic hypotension: As easy as A, B, C. Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine. 2010;77:298.
- FDA approves Northera to treat neurogenic orthostatic hypotension. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. http://www.fda.gov/newsevents/newsroom/pressannouncements/ucm386311.htm. Accessed Feb. 24, 2014.