Orthostatic Hypotension and Fibromyalgia

orthostatic hypotension

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Fibromyalgia can seem to lead to a lot of weird symptoms. Ask anyone with fibromyalgia and they’ll tell you that condition involves a lot more than just pain and fatigue. People with the condition report everything from chronic itching to bladder problems. It seems like there’s a huge list of conditions that people with fibromyalgia experience that you’d never imagine were related.

For instance, many people with fibromyalgia experience something called orthostatic hypotension. So, what is orthostatic hypotension? Why does it seem to affect people with fibromyalgia? And what can you do to manage it?

What Is Orthostatic Hypotension?

Have you ever suddenly gotten dizzy after standing up from a chair? If so, you’ve experienced orthostatic hypotension. Basically, it’s a condition where the blood pressure drops after you change your posture.

Normally, your nervous system sends a signal to your heart to pump more blood after you stand up. Your heart actually has small collections of cells called baroreceptor cells inside the chambers. When you stand up, gravity pulls blood into your legs, which naturally results in a drop in blood pressure. The baroreceptor cells can detect this small change in blood pressure. They then send a signal to the nervous system, which triggers your heart to pump more blood to counteract the gravity.

But when you have an episode of hypotension, this signal breaks down and the heart doesn’t pump enough blood. This produces symptoms like dizziness, blurry vision, or even a loss of consciousness as your brain struggles to function without enough oxygen.

In most cases, the condition isn’t dangerous. The most serious complication is usually an injury caused by someone falling after an incident of hypotension. But it can obviously be an unpleasant condition to live with. And for older people or people with osteoporosis, the possibility of falling can lead to serious problems like broken bones.

The most common reason that someone suffers from hypotension is dehydration. But it can also be a result of certain medications. Anyone with anemia, which is a condition that limits the ability of the blood to carry oxygen, is at risk of hypotension. And finally, for reasons we don’t quite understand, there seems to be a relationship between hypotension and fibromyalgia.

How Is It Related To Fibromyalgia?

Like so many things with fibromyalgia, we just don’t fully understand why there seems to be a link between hypotension and fibromyalgia. But there are a few interesting connections between the conditions that are worth mentioning. And they may provide some possible insight into why people with fibromyalgia might experience hypotension.

Orthostatic hypotension is caused by the baroreceptor system not functioning properly. And there seems to be a link between fibromyalgia and the baroreceptor cells. A recent study found that people with fibromyalgia tend to have impaired function in the baroreceptor cells.

Not only that, but it also found that the worse a patient’s fibromyalgia symptoms were, the worse the performance of their baroreceptor system was.

The baroreceptor system is tied to the nervous system. And we know that there’s a link between problems with the nervous system and fibromyalgia. People with fibromyalgia experience a wide range of neurological symptoms. And the pain of fibromyalgia itself may be rooted in the nervous system. It could be that the same issues with the nervous system that cause fibromyalgia symptoms could explain why people with fibromyalgia experience hypotension.

Until we have a better understanding of fibromyalgia, all we can do is speculate. Luckily, whatever the reason, there are things you can do to manage the condition.

How Is It Treated?

Treating hypotension usually depends on identifying the underlying condition that causes it. Always consult a doctor if you’re experiencing hypotension. Your symptoms may actually be the result of another, unrelated condition that needs treatment.

But if you’re suffering from hypotension that’s linked to fibromyalgia, treating the condition is a bit more difficult. There’s really not many good options other than trying to prevent any injuries from falling. The best way to treat hypotension related to fibromyalgia is to take a few basic precautions. Make sure to stay hydrated, as dehydration can make hypotension much worse.

In addition, be sure to take it slowly when standing up. Give your body a chance to adjust before moving too far away from the chair. Not only will this make your hypotension symptoms less noticeable, but it will help prevent injuries.

You may also want to move furniture to reduce the odds of hitting anything if you happen to fall or consider putting soft padding on the floor. This can help reduce the chance of life-threatening injuries.

So, what do you think? Do you suffer from hypotension? Is it related to fibromyalgia? Let us know in the comments.