May also be called: Postural Hypotension
Orthostatic hypotension is an abnormal drop in blood pressure that occurs when someone goes from sitting or lying down to standing up. This reduction in blood flow causes an oxygen shortage in the brain, leading to lightheadedness, dizziness, and sometimes fainting.
The body has natural systems in place to quickly regulate blood pressure when changes in blood flow occur. With orthostatic hypotension, however, these natural systems are interrupted.
Certain medications can cause orthostatic hypotension, as can dehydration due to vomiting, diarrhea, untreated diabetes, or excessive sweating. Severe bleeding, heart problems, nervous system disorders, and other factors can also trigger the condition.
Besides feeling faint, someone experiencing orthostatic hypotension might have blurry vision or feel nauseated, weak, and confused. After standing, symptoms usually last for only a few seconds to a few minutes. If they continue longer or there is loss of consciousness, an underlying condition might be involved that requires treatment.
Treatment for orthostatic hypotension may include medications or increasing fluids and salt in the diet. Standing up slowly, wearing elastic stockings, and sleeping with the head slightly elevated also can help ease the effects of orthostatic hypotension.
While orthostatic hypotension can sometimes indicate a more serious problem, most cases can be successfully treated.
All A to Z dictionary entries are regularly reviewed by KidsHealth medical experts.
|American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) The AAP is committed to the health and well-being of infants, adolescents, and young adults. The website offers news articles and tips on health for families.|
|American Academy of Family Physicians This site, operated by the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), provides information on family physicians and health care, a directory of family physicians, and resources on health conditions.|
|Word! Blood Pressure When you go to the doctor, a nurse might put a band around part of your arm and pump air into the band, blowing it up like a balloon.|
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|First Aid: Fainting Fainting is a loss of consciousness that can be caused by many things. Here's what to do if your child faints or is about to faint.|
|Vomiting Most vomiting is caused by gastroenteritis, and usually isn't serious. These home-care tips can help prevent dehydration.|
|Dehydration Your body is about two thirds water. When the water level dips below that level, you could be dehydrated. Read about what causes dehydration, what it does to your body, and how to prevent it.|
|Dehydration Sometimes kids lose fluids and salts through fever, diarrhea, vomiting, or long periods of exercise with excessive sweating. Here are some tips on preventing or treating dehydration.|
|What's the Big Sweat About Dehydration? Our bodies need water to work properly. Find out more in this article for kids.|
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