Orthostatic hypotension, perhaps treating it will help me feel better!!

Oh my, I woke up ready to write a post and was thrown for a loop in the comment section by someone I inadvertently offended. BECAUSE of my poor fried brain which makes it difficult for me to read anything lately, especially the last several days.

God, I can’t concentrate on a written piece of writing if it’s more than about 3 sentences lately. And so I did not carefully read some comments, thought the woman was friend of mine because her name is virtually identical (one extra letter) and therefore spoke to this new person with a familiarity that offended her. And she went off in a huff. Don’t know if I’ll see her again or not. I suppose it doesn’t really matter. I don’t think she understood the culture of the blog in any case, but it still hurt me because I didn’t mean to offend. And I try so hard to make this a friendly place.

Anyway, with that off my chest, I will write the real reason for this post.

My awesome new physical therapist has been closely observing me and she realized she needed to measure my laying, sitting and standing blood pressure. She suspected I have orthostatic hypotension. And she was right.

Now, any of you who have been on neuroleptics (antipsychotics) or the old tricyclic antidepressants may know what this term means technically. It’s when your blood pressure drops upon standing. These drugs can cause this as a side effect. Usually with these meds it’s relatively mild and people function. For me I’ve always had low blood pressure, it was a side effect I could not tolerate at all on the tricyclics and with the neuroleptics it was a pain in the ass.

Anyway now I have it really really bad even though I’m off all the offending drugs and the orthostatic hypotension may be making my underlying condition worse my PT thinks. I cannot walk and get dizzy and very nauseous. She says all these symptoms can be caused by this condition, while understanding that it may simply be making the symptoms I already have from the withdrawal worse.

The cure? Well…for now it just means I need to sit more often. I KNEW this myself a while back without this information and we went out and bought a recliner because it’s very hard for me to sit because I’m so weak, but I also knew that at this point sitting amounts to EXERCISE for me and I should be doing it. Well my PT agrees and I need to start sitting as upright as possible at least an hour a day. Right now as usual I’m laid back on the couch with a pillow propping me up and my laptop in my lap. I got this way because the drugs made me so sick sitting was just too much, but if I don’t want to become 100% bedridden I need to start sitting up daily a bit at a time. Clearly, I intuitively understood this, and so bought the recliner. I’ve been sitting in it about 3 times a week when I feel a bit better then usual. But I didn’t know exactly what I was intuiting and again, I’m profoundly grateful I have a PT telling me what I need to do, since I was conflicted about whether forcing myself to sit when it makes me feel sick was actually good or bad and now I know I must do it.

So my exercises now include stuff while laying on my bed propped with pillows and moving about my limbs very gently and SITTING at least an hour a day!! That is exercise for me in my deconditioned state.

She told me since the chemical injury is continuing, I will perhaps not get hugely better for a while, but we can at least stop my losing more functioning. I again, am so profoundly grateful to have somehow drawn this woman into my life. She is a godsend.

Oh, ironically enough when I did the research on orthostatic hypotension I discovered they treat it with BENZODIAZEPINES!! Ironically, the only drug I still remain on. It’s apparently not doing the job…what a surprise! It horrifies me that they get people addicted to benzos for yet another condition which responds to natural treatment. In this case simply moving my body a bit more!!

By the way my standing blood pressure was 80/40. Way, too damn low. Amazing I’m not passing out. And indeed my PT told me to be very careful.

I’ve always had low blood pressure so it’s not too surprising that this should hit me.

Okay, I will post this and now that I’m properly awake, I’ll go sit in my recliner!


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11 thoughts on “Orthostatic hypotension, perhaps treating it will help me feel better!!

  1. I use licorice root and sea salt for the low blood preasure.Iit really helps me a lot.

    I also stay off garlic and other foods that lower blood presure.

    Have you looked into a pacemaker? Do you have a cardiologist? i assume yes to both of these questions.


  2. I hadn’t heard of benzos used to treat low blood pressure but withdrawal would certainly make it worse if that were the case.

    As an old attending used to say, what this patient needs is a *doctor*.


  3. You know, I know some great docs that can put you on some blood pressure medication to make it stable… 😉

    (I hope you know I’m kidding.)

    In all seriousness though, continue to take it easy.


  4. GiannaKali,
    Hope you are blessed today with feeling better. I don’t have an answer for you, but I will delve deeper and see what I can learn.
    I am not aware of my low BP ever causing any adverse symptoms. I once had to drive to a neighboring town to get an abd. ultrasound done. When I returned to my hometown clinic the results of the test showed I was in the midst of an ectopic pregnancy that had ruptured, my BP was 48/26! The dr. didn’t understand how I was still talking coherently let alone walking. Certainly I felt fatigued at the time. Bleeding for 5 weeks will do that to you. Anyway, I don’t know your age but I do know that peri-menopause and menopause can wreak enough havoc with ones hormonal balance to cause vertigo. That can certainly add to dizziness and nausea. I have experienced this. On a spiritual plane, it was an interesting way for me to get hit upside the head with the idea maybe I had some lessons to look at that had to do with being out of balance. Duh.
    There are some exercises that can be done, if this is part of the problem, it can help clear that up fairly quickly. I also had acupuncture treatments. Which were immediately and amazingly effective. I would be curious to learn if there are are factors contributing to hormonal upset that might also be benzo induced. There are many meds. that can create endocrine imbalances and personally I believe they are far too readily dismissed and under examined as possible contributors. I have also had some positive results that resolved dizziness with both Reiki and EFT. The bonus about EFT is that you can do it yourself and it’s free.
    I’ll see what I can learn about this for us.
    Peace – Light- Love


  5. Hi Barbou…
    I don’t think that is what I have, though I do have some of the symptoms…

    They are definitely different but I suppose since POTS can be tricky to diagnose and there are some similarities it could conceivably be the problem…but I sorta doubt it.


  6. thanks Bonnie,
    yes, I’ve actually dealt with this to some extent for years, but it’s much worse now…but I’ve been getting up slowly for a long time as I’ve had some low blood pressure since I can remember…

    I would like to ask you though, as a medical professional if you have any idea about the benzo part of this situation…in my research I learned that benzos are used to TREAT orthostatic hypotension…and I am in fact WITHDRAWING from benzos…could this be making the situation worse…granted I’m doing it at a snails pace, but it made me wonder…

    and in fact right now, I’m not withdrawing, I’m crossing over, but I have withdrawn prior to this from 1 mg of klonopin….so it struck me that perhaps this could have made things worse?

    what do you think?


  7. Hey, I’m sorry to hear of your BP troubles. I too have always had hypotension.
    Hydration is a key component, keeping your blood volume up is crucial as is the movement. Working in a medical environment and knowing that many drugs can cause orthostatic hypotension, I have often been in the position of needing to teach people how to do ortho checks properly. There is a right and wrong way to do it. Please be sure your PT is following the correct procedure because when done incorrectly, the numbers don’t give a true reflection and if the information is faulty it may only be adding to your stress. Who needs that when they already feel awful?
    After taking the 1st BP lying down, when you sit up you need to wait 2 full minutes before taking the sitting BP. Again, when you stand, you wait 2 full minutes before taking the BP again. Your safety is a key thing no matter what the reason for dizziness. A way to help protect yourself when going from reclining to walking is to sit upright for a long enough time to be sure you’re not too dizzy and then when you stand, don’t start moving until you are again certain any dizziness has passed. With low BP, and/or orthostatic hypotension, if you get up and start moving too quickly, well that’s when people often fall. Not good. Be careful.
    Take good care of yourself.
    Sending Light


  8. Gianna,

    You write –
    “I KNEW this myself a while back without the information”….
    “Clearly, I intuitively understood”….

    This reminds me of what Dr. Keepak Chopra so often talks about – the intelligence inside our own bodies….our bodies were designed to take care of us – if we just listen to them….

    There are nuerons in our guts – billions of them!
    Our instincts work like our brains….Our instincts are our brains! When we have gut-level instinct….we are having ‘thoughts’ that are designed to protect us….

    Glad you’re in touch with these instincts of yours….They’re there to keep us healthy, and/or when we get sick – to help us get well !



  9. Hey – I’m sorry about your low blood pressure – my late hubby had that (not that low) – he was in the hospital and the nurses would take his bp two times EVERY TIME – after the first time of taking it – he would say “it’s right! – you don’t need to take it again!” 😉

    There’s a book out there “A Match to the Heart” – this woman was struck by lightning in a Montana mountainous area while on a horse. She had low bp too. She would pass out upon sitting or standing. She went on a high salt/high caffeine diet. These two things raised her bp enuf so that she could function again.
    God bless and I’ll be praying for you.


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