Dizziness on Standing Up

What is dizziness on standing up?

Dizziness on standing up is a medical condition whereby a person experiences a sudden drop in his/her blood pressure when he or she stands up suddenly. That situation whereby one becomes dizzy upon standing up suddenly is called orthostatic hypotension or postural hypotension. Hypotension is another way of referring to low blood pressure, blood pressure being the force of blood exerted against the walls of the arteries and veins.

Normally, a force of gravity works to pull blood down your legs when you just stand, causing a fall in your blood pressure. This change in your body is made up for by certain bodily reflexes. For instance, there is an increase in your heartbeat to force a faster pumping of blood. Even your blood vessels experience some constriction to stop blood from concentrating too much in your legs.

Postural hypotension may result from the effects drugs have on normal reflexes. Besides, old age might also weaken the reflexes, which makes postural hypotension commoner in older folks. Anybody with orthostatic hypotension may have that feeling of dizziness on standing up. Often, the condition is not severe as it lasts for a few minutes after standing. A severe case may cause one to lose consciousness.

What are the possible causes of dizziness on standing up (orthostatic hypotension)

  • Anemia
  • Hot weather.
  • Dehydration.
  • Aging.
  • A drop in blood volume.
  • Heart condition.
  • Diseases of the endocrine system e.g. diabetes.
  • Alcohol or drug use while taking blood pressure medications.
  • Parkinson’s disease.
  • Long-term bed rest or immobility.
  • Blood pressure medications and antidepressants.
  • Pregnancy.
  • Diuretics.

Symptoms of orthostatic or postural hypotension

  • Dizziness on standing up.
  • Confusion.
  • Nausea.
  • Headache.
  • Palpitations.
  • Blurred vision.
  • Weakness.
  • Fainting.
  • Chest pain.
  • Shoulder and neck pain.

Diagnosing orthostatic hypotension (dizziness on standing up)

Upon suspicion of a possible case of orthostatic hypotension, your blood pressure when standing, sitting and lying down will be checked. The situation will be diagnosed as postural hypotension if your systolic blood pressure comes down by 20 mmHg or if your diastolic blood pressure comes down by 10 millimeters of mercury three minutes after standing up.

Other tests may be conducted to ascertain the underlying cause, such as:

  • Heart rate examination.
  • Physical examination.
  • Order certain tests.
  • Complete blood count to test for anemia.
  • Electrocardiogram to measure your heart’s rhythm.

Learn more about electrocardiogram

  • Echocardiogram to test the health condition of your valves.
  • Exercise stress test to measure your heart rate while doing exercise.
  • Tilt table test to test if you faint when a table is tilted sideways and upwards.

Treating dizziness on standing up

The cause of dizziness on standing up usually determines the treatment option. Following are possible recommendations:

  • Raise your intake of water and other healthy fluids.
  • Use a pillow or have the head of your bed slightly raised.
  • Slightly raise your salt consumption.
  • Avoid, if possible, walking out when the weather is hot.
  • Go on low carb.
  • Reduce or completely abstain from alcohol.
  • Stand up in a very slow manner when getting out of a chair or bed.
  • Stop any medication causing it.
  • Wear compression stockings to enable blood circulation in your legs.
  • As much as you can, quit crossing your legs or standing for long periods.

Dizziness on standing up can be severe. When this is the case, the following medications may be prescribed:

  • Fludrocortisone.
  • Pyridostigmine.
  • Midodrine.
  • Erythropoietin.

The long-term outlook for postural hypotension

Orthostatic hypotension is quite curable. Any underlying cause should be duly taken care of and corrective medication is taken appropriately. This will be achieved with your doctor’s timely counseling and medical assistance.

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