Orthostatic hypotension is a condition that occurs with a sudden drop in blood pressure as a person moves from sitting or lying down to standing. This drop causes dizziness -- "seeing stars" -- lightheadedness or even loss of consciousness. This condition frequently occurs in older people, and mild cases of orthostatic hypotension are common in the general population. You can treat this condition while it is occurring unless it is accompanied by loss of consciousness. In this case, someone should call for medical assistance immediately.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
Lie down as soon as you feel lightheaded. The dizziness and visual disturbances -- "seeing stars" -- will slowly go away as you rest. When you feel better, slowly move into a sitting position. Wait several minutes before you start to stand up. This resting period will give your blood pressure time to normalise. Stand up slowly with a stable surface nearby for support.
Wear compression stockings during the day to reduce your risk of orthostatic hypotension. These stockings squeeze the calf muscles to improve blood circulation and prevent blood from pooling in the legs. You can purchase compression stockings in a medical supply store. Put them on before you get out of bed in the morning when your legs are the least swollen.
Reduce your risk of orthostatic hypotenstion by staying hydrated -- particularly in hot weather -- by drinking water and limiting your intake of alcohol and caffeinated drinks, which increase urine output.
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