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talljasperman's avatar

What is orthostatic intolerance and how do you get checked for it?

Asked by talljasperman (18519 points ) June 28th, 2014

I am very dizzy this week. I was told to get checked for it.

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2 Answers

hearkat's avatar

A lot of things can cause dizziness. Orthostatic hypotension is one of them. The symptom that characterizes that condition is a lightheadedness when getting up after being supine or seated for a while. The dizziness is caused by a temporary drop in blood pressure while your cardiovascular system adjusts the pressure to accommodate your brain’s change in altitude. Most people feel fine again in a few seconds to a minute after they’ve changed position.

I am not sure which doctors test this, besides a cardiovascular specialist, but it can be generally assessed fairly easily. I would suggest calling your general practitioner and asking them if they can check you out there, or if they would recommend another facility for that to be tested.

Other causes of positional dizziness can be the inner ear and/or the central nervous system. As an Audiologist, I am most knowledgeable about the inner ear causes of dizziness. If you’d like to provide more specific descriptions about your symptoms, I might be able to get a sense of whether it could be an inner ear issue, which would mean seeing the ear, nose and throat specialist.

Other factors that can cause or exacerbate dizziness are poor nutrition, dehydration, sleep disorders, and upper respiratory conditions. So I strongly suggest that you focus on your food and fluid intake over the next few days, and try to get sleep on a fairly regular schedule – at least until you see a doctor. Medication changes can also cause dizziness, so take note if you are on any regular medications and whether those have recently been modified for any reason.

JLeslie's avatar

Is the room spinning? Upside down? Or, do you feel faint? Maybe spacey? @hearkat gave a thorough list of the many causes of dizziness. The specific symptoms can sometimes give a better clue of the cause.

I personally don’t get “dizzy” from standing up I get light headed or get what I call a head rush.
Does it happen when you first stand up from a lying down position? Is the room moving around, or does your head actually feel funny and you think you might pass out?

I go through times when I get a head rush from standing quite often, and then it doesn’t happen again for years, and then it might start up again. It’s weird. I’ve never had that checked though. I just try to stay well hydrated, eat well. If it is blood pressure they can check your pressure lying down, sitting up and standing, your “tilts.” But, if the feeling isn’t happening it might not show anything. You can take your own blood pressure when it is happening.

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