How to Cope with Low Blood Pressure When Standing Up?

Both too high ‘hypertension’ and too low blood pressure ‘hypotension’ are bad for your health, because they can affect the blood flow inside the blood vessels which then can significantly affect the distribution of oxygen & essential nutrients to cells of the body. Depending on the cause, experts often classify hypotension into different categories, and low blood pressure when standing up is one of the categories – even it may be the most common trigger factor of hypotension, especially in elderly people.

What is low blood pressure on standing up?

This kind of hypotension is medically called as orthostatic /postural hypotension. It is a sudden decrease in blood pressure (BP) when someone changes a position from a lying down or sitting to standing up.

While gravity can help flow the blood from the upper parts of the body to the lower parts of the body, but sometime it can be a trigger factor to cause more blood to pool in the legs which then cause a sudden drop of blood pressure.

How does postural hypotension occur?

In people with postural hypotension, it’s easier for the blood to accumulate in the legs when standing up. As mentioned before, the gravity plays a key role in causing the problem.

The more blood accumulated in legs can decrease the volume of blood that circulates back to the heart. As a result, their BP can drop significantly at short time.

Normally – to respond with the drop of your BP when you standing up, the body with its special cells called baroreceptors triggers the heart to contract and beat faster in order to restore the BP and blood flow.

Baroreceptors near the neck arteries and heart can trigger the blood vessels to get narrower in order to elevate the blood flow resistance so thus the BP can be restored as fast as possible when you stand up from a sitting or lying down.

But in people with postural hypotension, this mechanism doesn’t work as well as it should. Many times, this can cause some discomfort symptoms such as blurred vision, dizziness/lightheaded, weakness, nausea, confusion, and even fainting.

In addition, while standing up can cause low blood pressure, but sometime it also can cause high blood pressure.

What are the causes and risk factors?

There is a variety of causes and reasons behind postural hypotension.

These include chronic high blood sugar (diabetes), any factors that can cause dehydration (lack of fluid in the body means your body loses more blood volume that flows through blood vessels), problems of heart, and nervous system disorders (such as multiple system atrophy and Parkinson’s disease).

Factors that can cause dehydration include hot ambient temperature (being in an environment with hot temperature), cold /fever, diarrhea (especially severe case of diarrhea), vomiting, lack of drinking water, and strenuous exercise without followed with drinking plenty of water after exercise.

Furthermore, the use of specific medications (such as medicines to treat high blood pressure) can increase your risk of developing postural hypotension. Other risk factors include:

  1. Age – as you get older, your risk rises! In fact, postural hypotension is more common in the age of 65 or older. However, it also can affect people of all ages, including young people. Even it also can occur in a healthy individual – for instance, it can occur in healthy individual who sits for long hours with legs-crossed or after getting a squatting position for long periods – and then stands up,
  2. A long period of bed rest. For instance, when you need to stay in bed due to an illness, you can spend many hours in bed and this can make you weak. Standing up after a long time with this situation will probably cause postural hypotension.

Pregnancy also can cause an effect on your BP. While it can cause hypertension in the end of pregnancy, it also can cause hypotension in the second trimester.

This occurs due to the body needs to dilate the blood vessels in order to distribute more blood to support pregnancy.

How to cope with it?

The following are some helpful home remedies to cope with low blood pressure when standing up:

Keep hydrated!

We all agree that drinking plenty of water a day is very crucial for the health of the body. It is needed to support lots of body’s functions. One of them is used to help flow the blood through blood vessels.

When you get dehydration, this can reduce the volume of blood that can cause a significant drop in blood pressure.

Practice eating smaller meals!

A significant drop in your BP can occur after eating.

If you often experience some symptoms of hypotension after eating, it’s not bad idea if you now try eating low-carb meals in small portions several times per day – instead of eating 2-3 times larger meals a day.

Watch on your movements!

image_illustration53Here are some helpful ideas:

  1. Move slowly when you change position from a sitting to stand up! Do also the same way when you need to move your body from a prone position to standing.
  2. When you want to stand up from lying down, it’s much better to slowly sit up and then give a few seconds /a few minutes if necessary before standing. This can help prevent a dramatic change in your BP.
  3. Avoid using your waist for bending when you want to pick something on the floor. Bending at your waist is not recommended for people with postural hypotension. Use your knees instead of your waist! Squat with both of your knees when you want to take something that you drop on the floor!
  4. Ask your doctor whether there is any equipment you should wear to cope with the problem! Sometime doctor recommend compression stockings for people with hypotension. This accessory can help reduce the amounts of blood that pool in legs.
  5. While you get the symptom of postural hypotension when standing up, immediately cross both of your things and squeeze! This can help reduce the blood that flows in your legs and encourage more blood back into the heart. Another idea, position one of your feet on a chair /couch, and then lean as far forward as you can!
  6. Take an appropriate position when you sleep! Using the head of bed slightly elevated can be helpful to eliminate the effect of gravity that triggers your blood to pool in your legs.

Can you use dietary salt and drinking more caffeine to cope with low blood pressure?

Both caffeine and sodium can raise your BP. Sometime doctor recommends them to help treat hypotension. You can try eating some foods that contain some sodium and drinking coffee /other caffeinated beverages with meals.

However to keep safe, you have to consult first with your doctor before adding more sodium and drinking more caffeinated beverages in your diet.

Too much caffeine and sodium can lead to a new health risk. Fortunately, there are some healthy foods that contain some sodium and caffeine.

For instance, if you don’t like foods high in salt, you may like soy sauce. It not only contains some sodium and yummy in taste, but also rich in some essential nutrients for your body.

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