How is orthostatic hypotension diagnosed?

If your doctor thinks you may have orthostatic hypotension, he or she will check your blood pressure while you are lying down, sitting, and upright. The doctor will also perform a physical examination in order to find a medical condition that may be causing the hypotension.

The doctor may also order certain tests, including the following:

  • Blood test (to check for anemia or diabetes)
  • Electrocardiogram, or EKG (to check your heart's rhythm)
  • Holter monitor (a portable device that you wear to check your heart's rhythm over a period of time)
  • Echocardiogram (ultrasound examination of the heart)
  • Stress test, in which the doctor monitors your heart rate while you are exercising
  • Valsalva maneuver, in which you take several deep breaths while your doctor checks your blood pressure and heart rate
  • Tilt table test. You might have this test if you are prone to fainting. You lie on a table that is moved from a horizontal to an upright position. Your doctor will want to know if you faint during this test.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 07/16/2019.

References

  • American Family Physician. Evaluation and Management of Orthostatic Hypotension Accessed 11/23/2016.
  • Parkinson’s Disease Foundation. Orthostatic Hypotension (Low Blood Pressure). Accessed 11/23/2016.
  • Figueroa JJ, Basford JR, Low PA. Preventing and treating orthostatic hypotension: As easy as A, B, C. Cleve Clin J Med. 2010;77(5):298-306.

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