How is orthostatic hypotension treated?

If you have episodes of orthostatic hypotension, your doctor will first try to determine if you have another condition or disease that is causing it. In many cases, treating the disease that is causing the orthostatic hypotension will cure it.

If a certain medication is causing the orthostatic hypotension, your doctor may adjust the dosage or switch you to another medication.

One method of treating orthostatic hypotension is to make some changes in your daily life. These can include the following:

  • If you are dehydrated, drink more fluids.
  • Limit or avoid alcohol (alcohol causes dehydration).
  • Stand up slowly when getting out of a chair.
  • Don't cross your legs when you are sitting.
  • If you have to stay in bed for medical reasons, try sitting up for short periods of time.
  • When you are getting out of bed, get up slowly and sit on the edge of your bed for several minutes before you stand up.
  • You may perform isometric exercises (such as squeezing a rubber ball or a towel for a few minutes) before assuming an upright position. These exercises will raise your blood pressure and may prevent a significant drop in blood pressure when you stand up.
  • You can wear compression stockings, which apply pressure to your legs and help with blood circulation.
  • Raise the head of your bed.
  • Don’t stand for long periods of time.

Your doctor may prescribe a medication to treat the orthostatic hypotension, such as fludrocortisone (Florinef®), midodrine (ProAmatine®), or erythropoietin (Epogen®, Procrit®). These drugs work by increasing blood volume or by constricting (narrowing) blood vessels.

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