Episode 144: How to Cope with Blood Pressure Fluctuations

Parkinson’s disease (PD) affects several automatically regulated bodily functions, such as digestion, bowel activity, sweating, and blood pressure control, together known as autonomic functions. Low blood pressure, or hypotension, is common in PD, and high blood pressure (hypertension) can also occur. They may be a result of the disease itself or be caused by some of the medications to treat it. Hypotension, in particular, can be dangerous, leading to dizziness, fainting, falls, and fractures.

Up to 60% of people with PD may experience orthostatic hypotension at some point, which is a drop in blood pressure within three minutes of changing to a more upright position, that is, from sitting to standing or from a lying position to sitting or standing. 

In this episode, Jeni Bednarek, RN, BSN, ACRP-CP, nurse team coordinator and associate director of education of the Parkinson Center of Oregon in the Parkinson’s Center and Movement Disorders Program of the Oregon Health and Science University in Portland, a Parkinson’s Foundation Center of Excellence, discusses several ways for individuals with PD to cope with blood pressure problems, including pharmacologic and non-pharmacologic methods, as well as working with their health care providers to reach a good blood pressure balance.

Released: January 24, 2023

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