Orthostatic Hypotension Diagnosis & Treatment Middleboro MA

In the US we're so preoccupied with high blood pressure and its risks (strokes, heart attacks, or heart failure) that we often overlook the dangers of low blood pressure (light-headedness, dizziness, occasional fainting spells). In fact, overzealous use of blood pressure - lowering medications is one of the primary causes of orthostatic hypotension.

Joseph Grisanzio
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Effects of Low Blood Pressure

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By Stephen T. Sinatra, MD,a Board-certified cardiologist and author of The Sinatra Solution: Metabolic Cardiology (Basic Health Publications, 2008)

Absolutely it could. If springing to your feet causes you to feel light-headed, see black or white spots, or nearly keel over, you may have orthostatic hypotension. Put simply, orthostatic hypotension—orthostatic means “standing upright” and hypotension means “low blood pressure”—is the body’s temporary inability to adjust to changes in gravity. Usually when we stand up, our bodies automatically regulate blood flow as needed—by increasing heart rate and constricting blood vessels and veins, which increases blood pressure so blood can make it up into the brain. But when people with orthostatic hypotension stand up too quickly, venous blood pools in the legs rather than returning to the heart, blood pressure falls, and the brain does not get enough oxygen to maintain consciousness.

In the US we’re so preoccupied with high blood pressure and its risks (strokes, heart attacks, or heart failure) that we often overlook the dangers of low blood pressure (light-headedness, dizziness, occasional fainting spells). In fact, overzealous use of blood pressure–lowering medications is one of the primary causes of orthostatic hypotension.

Assuming you’ve ruled out other reasons for your dizziness—low blood sugar, dehydration, anemia, heart problems, medications—you can minimize, if not eliminate, your symptoms by making these simple changes.

Eat smart
Adding more salt increases volume expansion and therefore pressure in blood vessels, which is why people with high blood pressure should avoid it and those with too low blood pressure may want to add an extra dash. But that doesn’t give you license to tear into a bag of potato chips or load up on processed food. Instead, choose healthy salt sources. Swap your generic table salt for mineral-rich kosher salt, sea salt, Himalayan salt, or Celtic salt; munch on a dill pickle; or sip a cup or two of organic canned soup once a day. A handful of organic, salted nuts (cashews or almonds) also increases your salt intake—and provides plenty of healthy protein and minerals.
Eat smaller and more frequent meals throughout the day to prevent dizziness caused by low blood sugar, which exacerbates orthostatic hypotension. Be sure to balance each meal with low-glycemic carbohydrates (fruits, vegetables, and whole grains), healthy fats (olive oil, avocado, nuts, and seeds), and lean proteins (chicken, fish, eggs, lentils, and tofu).
Caffeine can temporarily raise blood pressure, so drink one to two cups of coffee or black or green tea in the morning, when blood pressure is at its lowest.
Drink plenty of fluids since dehydration can cause low blood pressure, and cut back on alcohol, which can cause low blood sugar, aggravating orthostatic hypotension.

Step it up
Engage in light exercise to get the blood flowing, such as walking (stairs or a flat surface), up...

Author: Stephen T. Sinatra, MD

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