Lifestyle and home remedies

By Mayo Clinic Staff

There are many simple steps to managing or preventing orthostatic hypotension. Some suggestions your doctor may have include:

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Avoid bending at the waist. If you drop something on the floor, squat with your knees to recover it.
  • Wear compression stockings. These may help reduce the pooling of blood in your legs, thus reducing the symptoms of orthostatic hypotension.
  • Go slow. You may be able to reduce the dizziness and lightheadedness that occur with orthostatic hypotension by taking it easy when you move from a prone to a standing position. Instead of jumping out of bed in the morning, breathe deeply for a few minutes and then slowly sit up before standing.
  • Sleep position. Sleeping with the head of your bed slightly elevated can help fight the effects of gravity.
  • Leg movements. 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.
Jul. 20, 2011