If springing to your feet causes you to feel light-headed, see black or white spots, or nearly keel over, you may have orthostatic hypotension. Put simply, orthostatic means “standing upright” and hypotension means “low blood pressure” which is the body’s temporary inability to adjust to changes in gravity. Usually, when we stand up, our bodies automatically regulate blood flow as needed by increasing heart rate and constricting blood vessels and veins, which increases blood pressure so blood can make it up into the brain. But when people with orthostatic hypotension stand up too quickly, venous blood pools in the legs rather than returning to the heart, blood pressure falls, and the brain does not get enough oxygen to maintain consciousness.
Dizziness happens when something affects your sense of balance. A stable sense of balance requires a steady flow of information from your ears, eyes, tissues, and central nervous system. Your central nervous system uses this information to tell your body how to maintain balance.
Assuming you’ve ruled out other reasons for your dizziness, low blood sugar, dehydration, anemia, heart problems, and medications, you can minimize, if not eliminate, your symptoms by making these simple changes.
Adding more salt increases volume expansion and therefore pressure in blood vessels, which is why people with high blood pressure should avoid it and those with too low blood pressure may want to add an extra dash. Swap your generic table salt for mineral-rich kosher salt, sea salt, Himalayan salt, or Celtic salt; munch on a dill pickle; or sip a cup or two of organic canned soup once a day. A handful of organic, salted nuts (cashews or almonds) also increases your salt intake and provides plenty of healthy protein and minerals.
Eat smaller and more frequent meals throughout the day to prevent dizziness caused by low blood sugar, which exacerbates orthostatic hypotension. Be sure to balance each meal with low-glycemic carbohydrates (fruits, vegetables, and whole grains), healthy fats (olive oil, avocado, nuts, and seeds), and lean proteins (chicken, fish, eggs, lentils, and tofu).
Caffeine can temporarily raise blood pressure, so drink one to two cups of coffee or black or green tea in the morning, when blood pressure is at its lowest.
Drink plenty of fluids since dehydration can cause low blood pressure, and cut back on alcohol, which can cause low blood sugar, aggravating orthostatic hypotension.
Step it up with Light Exercise
Engage in light exercise to get the blood flowing, such as walking (stairs or a flat surface), for up to a half hour a day, especially if you spend a good portion of the day standing or sitting. You can split this into intervals (10 minutes, several times a day) if it works better for you. pressure from falling too low when you stand.
Don’t sit with your legs crossed for long periods of time because it obstructs venous return.
Sleep Propped Up
Sleep with your head elevated 3 to 4 inches. And don’t jump out of bed right away. Rise slowly, and dangle your feet over the side before standing up.
Check with your Doctor
Medical consultation and treatment may be necessary if your symptoms are severe. Your doctor may prescribe small doses (5 mg, three times per day) of a beta-blocker, such as Inderal. Florinef (a corticosteroid) may also be beneficial as it helps increase volume expansion. Alternately, if appropriate, your doctor may lower or eliminate your dosage of other medications affecting your blood pressure.
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