It is reported that up to 30% of people suffer from excessively low blood pressure. This also falls under the category of “orthostatic hypotension” which is a sudden drop in blood pressure when someone stands.
A few different medications can cause this condition. The most common medications that cause orthostatic hypotension are duiretics, or water pills. These medications are usually used for high blood pressure but, at too high a dose, can cause too much fluid to be removed. Without enough fluid, your body cannot “push” the blood up to your head when you stand.
Other medications can cause this problem. Some of these include: antihypertensives (blood pressure pills), tricyclic antidepressants (Elavil, Anafranil, Pamelor), antianginals (nitroglycerin, isosorbide), levodopa, dopamine, selegiline, barbiturates (phenobarbital), and alcohol.
Generally, there are four different prescription medications used to treat hypotension.
– Fludrocortisone at a dose of 0.1mg-0.4mg daily for more than two weeks will “tell” the kidneys not to filter out as much sodium. Excess sodium causes fluid retention in the body.
– Midodrine starting at 2.5mg a day and working up to as much as 30mg a day. Th effects of this medication last about about three hours and will increase blood pressure 15-30 mm Hg while standing. You should take the last dose four hours before bedtime.
– Erythropoietin increase red blood cell volume. It is not approved for hypotension but does have a positive effect on the condition. You should take an iron supplement while taking this medication.
– Octreotide lowers the amount of blood flow to the stomach and surrounding organs which increases blood pressure. This medication can lower vitamin B-12.
We can gain significant control over our blood pressure, whether high or low, without the use of drugs. In this case, we are controlling low blood pressure, or hypotension. Here are ten drug free steps to controlling low blood pressure.
– Drinking 16 ounces of water will increase blood pressure 10-45 mm Hg starting in five minutes and peaking in 30 minutes.
– Elevate the bed about eight inches.
– Eat small, low-carbohydrate meals early in the day and larger meals later in the day.
– Increase sodium intake 5-10 grams about the recommended level.
– Do not suddenly stand and do not have long periods of inactivity.
– Avoid alcohol.
– Exercise moderately before meals
– If hypotension suddenly occurs, squatting can increase blood pressure up to 45 mm Hg.
– Use elastic tension stockings to keep blood from pooling in the legs.