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Orthostatic hypotension or “orthostasis” is caused by dysfunction in the autonomic nervous system. This part of the nervous system is responsible for various automatic functions in your body, such as your heartbeat, breathing, perspiration and blood pressure. 

Some people with Parkinson’s disease have problems with falling blood pressure when going from a sitting to standing position. That’s why the movement disorder neurologist takes your blood pressure reading from both positions. A rapid drop in blood pressure will cause lightheadedness and the possibility of passing out or falling. Orthostasis can be worsened by Parkinson’s medications.

If orthostatis isn’t too severe, it can sometimes be treated with a simple increase in salt intake. Your neurologist must analyze your condition, taking into account all your medications and the severity of your blood pressure drop. If you suffer from lightheadedness when you stand, or if you’ve ever passed out or fallen when you rise from a chair, be sure to inform your neurologist. 

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