- Reviewed by Christopher P. Cannon, MD, Editor in Chief, Harvard Heart Letter; Editorial Advisory Board Member, Harvard Health Publishing
If your blood pressure drops sharply when you stand (a condition called orthostatic hypotension) you may feel light-headed or dizzy. But a new study suggests that older people with orthostatic hypotension often have no symptoms — and they're more likely to experience unexplained falls than people who do have symptoms.
The study, published in the December 2022 issue of Age and Ageing, included 934 people ages 70 and older. Testing revealed that almost 11% had orthostatic hypotension, which can be caused by various medications, medical conditions, or age. It's defined as a sustained drop in systolic blood pressure (the first number in a reading) of at least 20 points or in diastolic blood pressure (the second number) of at least 10 points within three minutes of standing.
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About the Author
Julie Corliss, Executive Editor, Harvard Heart Letter
About the Reviewer
Christopher P. Cannon, MD, Editor in Chief, Harvard Heart Letter; Editorial Advisory Board Member, Harvard Health Publishing
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