The risk factors for orthostatic hypotension include:

  • Age. Orthostatic hypotension is common in those who are age 65 and older. As your body ages, the ability of special cells (baroreceptors) near your heart and neck arteries to regulate blood pressure can be slowed. Also, when you age, it may be harder for your heart to beat faster and compensate for drops in blood pressure.
  • Medications. People who take certain medications have a greater risk of orthostatic hypotension. These include medications used to treat high blood pressure or heart disease, such as diuretics, alpha blockers, beta blockers, calcium channel blockers, angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors and nitrates.

    Other medications that may increase your risk of orthostatic hypotension include medications used to treat Parkinson's disease, certain antidepressants, certain antipsychotics, muscle relaxants, medications to treat erectile dysfunction and narcotics.

    Using medications that treat high blood pressure in combination with other prescription and over-the-counter medications may cause low blood pressure.

  • Certain diseases. Some heart conditions, such as heart valve problems, heart attack and heart failure, and certain nervous system disorders, such as Parkinson's disease, put you at a greater risk of developing low blood pressure.
  • Heat exposure. Being in a hot environment can cause you to sweat and, possibly, cause dehydration, which can lower your blood pressure and trigger orthostatic hypotension.
  • Bed rest. If you have to stay in bed a long time because of an illness, you may become weak. When you try to stand up, you may experience orthostatic hypotension.
  • Pregnancy. Because your circulatory system expands rapidly during pregnancy, blood pressure is likely to drop. This is normal, and blood pressure usually returns to your pre-pregnancy level after you've given birth.
  • Alcohol. Drinking alcohol can increase your risk of orthostatic hypotension.
May. 13, 2014

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