Heart & Cardiology/Orthostatic Hypotension

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Question
Hello, my name is Kara, I am female, 16, 5"3 and 115 pounds; I am  fairly athletic, as well. Now, I don't wish to be a hypochondriac, but I have had experienced orthostatic hypotension for more than a year now, and I sometimes feel a numb-like feeling go through my whole body when the blood rushes back to my head, and I was wondering if this is normal for orthostatic hypotension? (I know this isn't directly cardiac, but the dizziness/ vertigo portion of this website is not currently up :P). My "head rushes" as I call them have not been diagnosed by a doctor as orthostatic hypotension, but I haven't gone to a doctor about this at all, as my online research and a father for a physical therapist have assured me that dizziness (lightheaded-ness in particular) when standing can be quite normal for a teenaged girl, and usually quite benign. When I stand up from sitting (and usually a longer period of time), I become lightheaded, lose sight for a few moments, and have to sit down to avoid fainting (I believe I have experienced near-syncope several times, and I have actually fainted twice before, one time hitting my head). I don't always experience this orthostatic hypotension- only about once a day- sometimes more, sometimes less- but it is not an overly pleasant experience. Like I said, I apologize if I am simply over-reacting to a normal occurrence, and in truth I am not overly concerned about my episodes, but it would be an ease of mind to hear your opinion on orthostatic hypotension and the numbness I feel when I am lightheaded and waiting for the blood to rush back to my head. Thank you!

Answer
Hello Kara,

The numbness is usual with orthostatic hypotension, which is probably transitory in a 16 year old.  Eat lots of salt and drink lots of water to hopefully avoid the orthostatic hypotension.

Please write back if this doesn’t answer all your questions.

David Richardson

Heart & Cardiology

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David Richardson

Expertise

Adult heart function and disease. Not very good about children lesss than 12. Hypertension is o.k. Heart rhythm a special interest.

Experience

Certified in cardiology by the American Board of Internal Medicine. Was chairman of division of cardiology at the Medical College of Virginia. Am now mostly retired.

Organizations
Fellow of American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology and member of American Physiological Society..

Publications
Circulation, American Heart Journal, Hypertension.

Education/Credentials
M.D. from Harvard Medical School. Residency training at Yale Uhniversity School of Medicine and Medical College of Virginia.

Awards and Honors
Gold Heartt Award from American Heart Association in 1995.

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