Dec 1, 2020
Among the many non-motor symptoms of Parkinson’s disease (PD) are blood pressure changes. One manifestation is neurogenic orthostatic hypotension, a condition in which blood pressure drops sharply when one moves from a reclining to a more upright position, such as standing up when getting out of bed or rising from a chair. The person may feel lightheaded, dizzy, lose balance, or, rarely, even lose consciousness. Besides being uncomfortable, the condition can be dangerous if it leads to a fall and subsequent injury. Orthostatic hypotension is common in mid- and late-stage PD, but it may also be an early sign of the disease.
Fortunately, there are strategies and other measures people can do for themselves to lessen the problem, and a variety of medications may help. Other conditions and medications can also lead to the condition, and they should be investigated in addition to a connection with PD. In this podcast, neurologist Dr. Katie Longardner of the University of California San Diego discusses the problem, how it is diagnosed, what people can do to alleviate it, and some of the research she and others are conducting.