In my basket of ideas and concepts on aging, there is a tiny slip of paper with just two words, postural hypo-tension. I have pulled it out and put it back several times, as I was concerned about presently such a complicated medical topic. Given the current focus of the news on health issues of older presidential candidates, it seems like now is the time to bring up this out in the light of day. I realized that trying to focus on how to prevent its consequences was worth the effort.
I am not sure what I was researching when I came across this CDC chart. It surely exists as a shiny two page brochure that sits unread in the your doctor’s office waiting room next to the year old Field and Stream magazines. Brought to you again by your tax dollars at work. I recommend perusing at least the second page of this PDF: https://www.cdc.gov/steadi/pdf/postural_hypotension-a.pdf
First what is postural hypo-tension and why should older folks pay attention? It has to do with sudden drops in your blood pressure that happen when you change position suddenly from sitting to standing. There can be variety of causes and it can happen with or without warning symptoms. Big disclaimer here of course, consult your doctor if reading the information in the PDF rings some bells.
I know we continue to act like our younger selves and rush around, over schedule activities and go from one thing to the other. They say we look in the mirror and still see our younger persona despite gray hair and wrinkles. Maybe we also ignore signs of fatigue, dizziness or just do not drink enough fluids in a day. One the best caveats in this brochure is to allow your self to sit on the side of your bed for a moment before getting up-an incredibly simple thing to do.
Drops in blood pressure can also happen when you are anxious or panicky. I am not too cool about avoiding very hot showers but it also makes sense. One of the biggest causes of postural hypo-tension is the interaction of medications. This is only going to get worse with the chronic shortage of geriatricians.
I am not trying to say act older than you feel, go right on “stealth aging” if you can. But realize that for the most part, you are in charge of the shifting up and down of your own vulnerabilities. Listen to your own body and do not be tone deaf. Maybe the road will be longer that way.