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High Blood Pressure

Quick blood pressure drops

09/03/2008

Question:

I would like to know what the symptoms are if your blood pressure drops very quickly and what the cause of that would be.

Answer:

The blood pressure varies in everybody from minute to minute, depending in body position, activity, stress and volume status.  As long as a person doesn't have any symptoms, these variations are generally harmless.

There are several conditions that can cause an exaggerated drop in blood pressure when standing up from a sitting position, or after a period of standing upright.  This condition is called orthostatic hypotension.  It can be mild or it can be so severe that a person faints when getting up quickly.

The most common causes of orthostatic hypotension are diabetes, Parkinson's disease, heart failure or medications (diuretics, antidepressants, alcohol, insulin and most blood pressure medicines).  Orthostatic hypotension can sometimes occur in older people even if they are otherwise healthy.

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Response by:

Max C Reif, MD Max C Reif, MD
Professor of Medicine
Director of Hypertension Section
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati