Dizziness when standing up – cause
Dizziness is unpleasant and can be frightening, but in most cases the cause is harmless. Experts speak of orthostatic dysregulation. The cardiovascular system has problems adjusting to the upright posture, as the blood doesn't flow quickly enough from the legs back to the heart. As a result, blood pressure levels drop and the brain lacks sufficient oxygen. “Usually the body reacts quickly to this acute undersupply,” says Alexander Tarnutzer, senior physician at the Department of Neurology of the University Hospital Zurich. The symptoms described subside after a few seconds. However, some people experience unusually intense attacks and may lose consciousness for a short time.
Consequences & treatment
Possible consequences are falls and fall-related injuries or, in rare cases, short twitches all over the body. These are often misinterpreted as seizures. Patients usually soon recover when lying down as a horizontal position enables the blood to flow back to the heart more easily. If the symptoms are very severe, persistent or new, it’s advisable to see a doctor. When older people are affected, something serious could be the cause, such as heart failure or a neurological disease.
If a sudden drop in blood pressure level is the cause of the dizziness, the following can help:
- Stand up slowly or in stages
- When getting up in the morning, sit on the edge of the bed for a moment
- Drink enough fluids and mineral salts, e.g. bouillon
- Wear compression stockings – they promote the flow of blood from the legs
- Consult your doctor about taking blood pressure-increasing medication