July 01, 2020

Low blood pressure when you stand

For people with orthostatic hypotension — also called postural hypotension — the body's natural process of counteracting low blood pressure when getting up from sitting or lying down doesn't work correctly. When you stand or sit up, signs and symptoms may occur, including dizziness, lightheadedness, blurred or fading vision, weakness, nausea, fainting, and pain in the head, neck or shoulders.

Certain lifestyle changes can help manage the condition. Recommendations may include:

  • Staying hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids, which increases blood volume.
  • Adding salt to your food. This must be done carefully and only after discussing it with your doctor.
  • Avoiding alcohol, as it dilates blood vessels and can worsen orthostatic hypotension.
  • Eating smaller, more frequent low-carbohydrate meals if your blood pressure drops after you eat, in addition to drinking a glass of water with each meal.
  • Exercising regularly, but refraining from exercising outside when it is very hot.
  • Slowly sitting up before standing when getting out of bed.
  • Sitting down to urinate.
  • Placing 4- to 6-inch blocks or risers beneath the headboard of your bed to lift your head at night.
  • Sitting or lying down when symptoms strike or learning maneuvers for when they occur, such as flexing mid- and lower-body muscles, squatting, marching in place or rising onto your tiptoes.
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