Orthostatic Hypertension : Increase in Blood Pressure as you Stand up

As the title suggests, Orthostatic Hypertension is a rise in systolic blood pressure due to sudden change in body posture like standing up. It is also known as Postural Hypertension. According to medical guidelines if your systolic blood pressure rises by 20mmHg as you stand up from sitting posture, then you are suffering from Orthostatic Hypertension. Here we will discuss the possible reasons of this medical condition and its treatment.

Baroreflex is our body's homeostatic mechanism which keeps our blood pressure at nearly same readings, in whatever posture we are. Baroreceptors (a part of autonomic nervous system) senses the stretch in blood vessels as our body posture changes and our brain increases or decreases pulse rate and blood pressure to keep it at an optimum level.

What causes Orthostatic Hypertension ?

There are various reasons behind Orthostatic Hypertension. Some of them are listed here.

  • Age: The prevalence of Orthostatic Hypertension increases with age. 16.3% of older hypertension patients suffer with Orthostatic Hypertension as well. Among general population above 20 years of age, prevalence of Orthostatic Hypertension is around 1.1%.
  • Essential Hypertension: is a type of hypertension due to no known reasons. Patients of Essential hypertension are also prone to Orthostatic Hypertension.
  • Type 2 Diabetes is also a major cause of Orthostatic Hypertension as diabetes causes nervous system damage.
  • Excessive venous pooling: Venous pooling is a normal phenomena as blood pools in the legs and abdominal area due to gravitational pull. But excessive venous pooling results in less cardiac output. It can increase pulse rate and blood pressure while standing up, thus causing Orthostatic Hypertension.
  • Anorexia Nervosa
  • Hypovolemia
  • Renal arterial stenosis (narrowing of the kidney arteries)
  • Aortitis (inflammation of the aorta)
  • Pheochromocytoma

Risks : Orthostatic Hypertension increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases and stroke.

Diagnosis : Orthostatic Hypertension can be diagnosed through tilt table test.

Treatment : There is no proven treatment of Orthostatic Hypertension due to various reasons associated with it. Hit and trial method is generally adopted by treating the underlying reason behind this disease, which differs from person to person.

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