Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Ways to Improve Orthostatic intolerance

Orthostatic intolerance (OI) is a term used for illnesses which are characterized by inability to maintain the upright posture or, bend, stoop, stand, etc without feeling faint or dizzy. Of course, when this decrease of blood pressure occurs, it can also be followed by weakness, nausea, abdominal pain, and sweating.

It is a group of illnesses that overlaps with ME/CFS and Fibro. Most anyone with Fibro or ME/CFS have one or more of these conditions.

Some with these type of conditions may need blood pressure meds or meds designed to slow speeding heart rate. Many times, they can be helped by doing some simple things. Mine has been helped by doing the following :

  • When sitting up in bed, never get right up afterward. Count slowly to 10 before rising to stand.
  • If bending, stooping, getting down into a tub, etc - try to keep your head above your heart as you position yourself.
    (This helps prevent the blood pressure drop)
  • It can drop quickly and then comes back up, as to not be able to detect, if you take your blood pressure afterward.
  • If you have to get down to do something under a counter, rise up part of the way and sit on a chair stool, etc - then count to 10 before standing.
  • Staying well hydrated helps us to keep our blood volume to a good place which also helps diminish this issue with blood pressure drops. 

There is a test called the tilt table test to check for one of these conditions. However, its not an easy test and designed to see if and when you'll pass out.

A simple test that any Dr. can do is to have you lie on the table, rest for a few minutes - check your blood pressure - then have you sit up with the cuff on, quickly check the blood pressure - have you stand quickly, check the blood pressure.

Here is the list of the different types. However, they are so similar in nature, we may be diagnosed with the best one which the Dr feels fits us. I was checked by a cardiologist and told I have NMH but he also said it may be POTS - due to the two being so similar in nature.

  1. Orthostatic Systolic Hypotension Where the upper number (systolic) blood pressure drops.
  2. POTS - Stands for Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome A healthy person will not change their heart rate standing up for an hour. In a person with POTS, this heart rate increases around 26 beats per minute.
  3. Orthostatic Narrowing of the Pulse Pressure The pulse pressure is the difference between the upper number of the BP and the lower number. For example, a normal person with a BP of 100/60 would have a pulse pressure of 40. When standing still people with this condition have a drop in their pulse pressure.
  4. Orthostatic Diastolic Hypertension This condition will raise the lower BP number in [the body's] attempt to push blood up to the brain.
  5. Orthostatic Diastolic Hypotension - also called Neurally Mediated Hypotension This represents a fall in the lower number of the BP.

Shared with permission.

Clarissa Shepherd is author of Find Your Way: A Guide to Healing While Living With Chronic Fatigue Immune Dysfunction Syndrome and Fibromyalgia

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