Among the many non-motor symptoms of Parkinson’s disease (PD) are blood pressure changes. One manifestation is neurogenic orthostatic hypotension, a condition in which blood pressure drops sharply when one moves from a reclining to a more upright position, such as standing up when getting out of bed or rising from a chair. The person may feel lightheaded, dizzy, lose balance, or, rarely, even lose consciousness. Besides being uncomfortable, the condition can be dangerous if it leads to a fall and subsequent injury. Orthostatic hypotension is common in mid- and late-stage PD, but it may also be an early sign of the disease.
Fortunately, there are strategies and other measures people can do for themselves to lessen the problem, and a variety of medications may help. Other conditions and medications can also lead to the condition, and they should be investigated in addition to a connection with PD. In this podcast, neurologist Dr. Katie Longardner of the University of California San Diego discusses the problem, how it is diagnosed, what people can do to alleviate it, and some of the research she and others are conducting.
- Expert Briefing: Non-motor Symptoms: What’s New? (webinar)
- Understanding Parkinson’s: Related Conditions
- Understanding Parkinson’s: Dizziness or Fainting
- Fact Sheet: Low Blood Pressure and PD
About This Episode
Released: December 1, 2020
Katherine ("Katie") Longardner, MD
Katherine ("Katie") Longardner, MD, earned her medical degree at Florida State University College of Medicine. She completed her internship, neurology residency, and two-year movement disorder fellowship at University of California San Diego (UCSD) Health. Dr. Longardner is a board-certified neurologist and movement disorder specialist who diagnoses and treats a variety of adult movement disorders, including Parkinson's disease, atypical parkinsonism, as well as tremor, myoclonus, dystonia, tics, and other hyperkinetic movement disorders. Her research focuses on parkinsonian non-motor symptoms, especially the relationship between orthostatic hypotension and cognition Parkinson's disease and related disorders. She developed an interest in orthostatic hypotension when she realized that this is an under-recognized yet treatable non-motor symptom that can be debilitating. She is currently collaborating with Dr. Sheng Xu's research team from the UCSD Dept. of Bioengineering to validate a non-invasive ultrasonic blood pressure monitor for continuous monitoring in orthostatic hypotension. Another research interest is utilizing non-invasive electrophysiological techniques to study movement disorders such as tremor.
For all of our Substantial Matters podcast episodes, visit parkinson.org/podcast.
This podcast is sponsored by Theravance Pharmaceuticals.