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Low Blood Pressure

Neurogenic orthostatic hypotension (nOH) is a fancy term for a sharp drop in blood pressure. It generally happens after a person with Parkinson's has been lying down or rises from a chair too quickly, causing dizziness and in extreme cases, loss of consciousness. This puts people with Parkinson's at a great risk for falling from losing balance.

Your doctor can test you by measuring your blood pressure to determine if the drops in blood pressure can be managed. nOH is generally caused when blood vessels constrict and send blood from the legs and trunk to the head. The heart generally beats slightly faster and more forcefully. Medications used to treat PD can also impact these symptoms as well as diuretics, cardiac disease, dehydration, fever, and anemia. Symptoms of nOH, include:

  • Lightheadedness

  • Dizziness

  • Weakness

  • Difficulty Thinking

  • Headache

  • Fainting

  • Trembling

  • Nausea

  • Cold Hands and Feet

  • Chest Pain

If you recognize that you have these symptoms, there are some actions you can take to avoid and reduce them.

Tips for Managing Low Blood Pressure Drops:

  • Avoid being dehydrated, especially during hot summer months.

  • Rise slowly. If coming from a position of lying down, sit on the side of the bed or couch for a few minutes to let your body adjust before standing.

  • Stand slowly, and make sure you have the proper equipment to ensure your balance as you wait for any symptoms to reside before moving further.

  • Regular exercise can also help increase stamina. Isometric exercises, like marching in place slowly before getting up, could be helpful.

  • Eating small and more frequent meals and reducing alcohol may also help.

  • You may consider increasing your salt intake (if you do not have heart disease).

  • Consider wearing compression garments or anti-gravity stockings.

You can also ask your doctor about medications that may help you manage nOH and its effects. If using medications for low blood pressure, it is important to also monitor your potential for having high blood pressure. Working with your doctor can help to ensure the best treatment options.


Davis Phinney Foundation for Parkinson's. Every Victory Counts, Your Go-To Resource of Essential Information and Inspiration for Living Well with Parkinson's. Pages 85-86. "Manual." Sixth Edition, 2021.​

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