Orthostatic Hypotension

  • Medical Author:
    Benjamin Wedro, MD, FACEP, FAAEM

    Dr. Ben Wedro practices emergency medicine at Gundersen Clinic, a regional trauma center in La Crosse, Wisconsin. His background includes undergraduate and medical studies at the University of Alberta, a Family Practice internship at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario and residency training in Emergency Medicine at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center.

  • Medical Editor: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

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Orthostatic hypotension is a condition in which a person's blood pressure falls when going from a sitting or lying position to a standing position.

Orthostatic Hypotension and Yoga

Author: Richard Weil, MEd, CDE
Medical Editor: Jay W. Marks, MD

Viewer Question: I sometimes feel dizzy while doing some yoga stretches where the head is lower than the heart (like downward facing dog). What types of exercise should you avoid when you have low blood pressure?

Fitness Expert's Response: The medical term for your condition is orthostatic hypotension. It typically occurs in situations like you are describing when there is a sudden change in posture, particularly so when the head rises from below the heart, but it can also happen from a supine or prone position when the head is level with the heart. The reason it happens is that circulation (blood pressure) isn't forceful enough to return adequate blood to the brain and so there is a moment of dizziness. The danger is that you can pass out, and so you need to take precautions to avoid the problem.

Quick GuideLow Blood Pressure (Hypotension) Pictures Slideshow

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Orthostatic hypotension facts

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/14/2015

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