Do you ever feel dizzy when you go from sitting to standing? Some people also feel like a “zombie” at times. If you do, you may be experiencing postural hypotension. This means that your blood pressure drops when you stand up.
People with Parkinson’s are more prone to experience postural hypotension because the autonomous nervous system that controls blood pressure is affected by the condition. When you stand up, your heart rate goes up and blood vessels contract to prevent blood pooling in your legs due to gravity. If the autonomic nervous system fails to send these messages, your blood pressure can drop and less oxygen will reach your brain, making you feel light-headed or dizzy. If you feel dizzy on standing, wait a few moments for it to pass. If it does not, sit down and have a drink of water. If you have a poor fluid intake, you are more likely to suffer from postural hypotension, especially in hot weather.
If you think this is happening to you, get your sitting and standing blood pressure checked. You need to be sitting for at least five minutes before it is taken, then on standing, and then three or four minutes later. If there is a drop of more than 30 in the top reading for your blood pressure, you have postural hypotension. It can be treated with medication or support stockings.
For more information, read the Parkinson’s UK fact sheet on low blood pressure FS50.
Read the entire collection of articles from Liz since she started writing for us in 2010.