What is Neurogenic Orthostatic Hypotension?
Neurogenic orthostatic hypotension (also known as neurogenic OH or nOH) is defined as low blood pressure upon standing that occurs in people with an underlying neurologic disease. Those suffering from neurogenic OH may experience symptoms such as dizziness, lightheadedness and/or fainting when they sit or stand up. For many with neurogenic OH, these symptoms are persistent and are often disabling because they interfere with everyday activities like standing and walking.
Other types of orthostatic hypotension (OH) may be caused by factors such as dehydration, heart problems or certain medications. Although individuals with neurogenic OH and those with other types of OH experience the same symptoms, they can be distinguished by their causes. In neurogenic OH, the symptoms occur because the nervous system is not working properly due to an underlying neurologic disorder such as:
- Parkinson’s disease
- Multiple system atrophy (MSA)
- Pure autonomic failure (PAF)
- Dopamine beta hydroxylase (DβH) deficiency
- Non-diabetic autonomic neuropathy
What are the symptoms of neurogenic Orthostatic Hypotension?
For patients suffering from neurologic conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, MSA, PAF or other neuropathies, recognizing symptoms of neurogenic OH is the first step in getting a diagnosis and helping reduce its effect. Specific symptoms of neurogenic OH include:
- Dizziness, lightheadedness, feeling faint or feeling as though the individual might black out
- Problems with vision (blurring, seeing spots, tunnel vision, etc.)
- Trouble concentrating
- Head/neck discomfort (often described as coat-hanger pain)