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Postural Hypotension Essay

1182 words - 5 pages

Postural Hypotension

Hypotension is the medical term given for low blood pressure, which
basically means that there isn't enough blood flow to the heart, brain
and vital organs. Blood pressure is measured in millimeters of mercury
(mm HG). For a healthy young person around our age, the normal blood
pressure is supposed to be less than 140mm Hg over 90mm Hg. The first
number (in this case 140), represents systolic blood pressure, which
is the pressure in the blood vessels when the heart contracts and the
second number (in this case 90), is the pressure between the hearts
contractions. In most healthy people, blood pressure remains
constantly at above 90/60, but blood pressure varies from person to
person and what is considered low for one person may be completely
normal for another.

Chronic low blood pressure is almost never serious, but health
problems can occur when blood pressure drops suddenly and the brain
isn't allowed to have a great enough blood supply, which can lead to
dizziness or lightheadedness. It most commonly occurs in someone who's
rising from a prone or sitting position to a standing position, in
these cases, it is known as Postural Hypotension. Postural Hypotension
is defined as a 20mm Hg-reduction in systolic blood pressure or a 10mm
Hg-reduction in diastolic blood pressure within three minutes of

Postural hypotension is considered as a failure of the autonomic
nervous system which is a part of the nervous system that controls
involuntary actions, like your heartbeat to react appropriately to
sudden changes. When you stand up, some of the blood gathers in your
lower areas, if this wasn't fixed up it would cause your blood
pressure to fall. Normally our bodies compensate by sending messages
to tell our hearts to beat faster and to our blood vessels to tighten
up. This causes the drop in blood pressure, if this does not happen,
or if it happens too slowly, then 'postural hypotension' takes place.

The occurrence of low and also high blood pressure normally increases
with age, this is partly caused by normal changes of the body in these
age groups, also, blood flow in the brain gets less with age often as
a result build-up of plaque in the blood vessels. So the commonness of
postural hypotension also increases with the age of the person; an
estimated 10-20 percent of elderly people have postural hypotension.

Postural hypotension may increase the risk of falls particularly in
the elderly, which then leads to the potential for bone fractures and
other injuries. The symptoms of postural hypotension include:

* Dizziness

* Lightheadedness

* Unsteadiness when walking after rising from a resting position

* Dimming or blurring of vision

* Physical Weakness

* Fatigue

* Nausea

* Head or neck pain


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