Orthostatic hypotension and orthostatic hypertension in American veterans

Jill M. Wecht, Joseph P. Weir, Stephanie Martinez, Mastanna Eraifej, William A. Bauman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Purpose: Abnormal blood pressure (BP) response to orthostatic maneuvers may predict adverse health outcomes. Orthostatic hypotension (OH) is defined as a fall in BP of ≥20/10 mmHg, and orthostatic hypertension (OHTN) is defined as an increase in systolic BP (SBP) of ≥20 mmHg, with standing. Herein, we document the prevalence of OH and OHTN in American veterans. Methods: The influence of demographic characteristics, life habits, co-incident medical conditions, and prescription medication use on these prevalence rates and associations between abnormal orthostatic BP responses and severity of self-reported symptoms of fatigue, dizziness, trouble concentrating, and head and neck discomfort were determined. Results: 286 veterans participated; 14 % were classified with OH, 22 % with OHTN, and 64 % with normal BP responses to standing (reference group). An increased prevalence of the diagnosis of diabetes mellitus (27 %) and hypertension (63 %) was noted, which did not differ by orthostatic BP classification. Veterans with OH were older than the reference group and were prescribed more antihypertensive medications than the reference and OHTN groups. While the prevalence of OH increased with age, the prevalence of OHTN was comparable in young (20–30 years) and old (70+ years) veterans (17 vs. 19 %, respectively). The severity of fatigue and dizziness was increased in veterans with OH and OHTN compared to the reference group. Conclusion: These data suggest a relatively high prevalence of OH and OHTN, which is associated with increased self-reported severity of fatigue and dizziness in American veterans, findings which may adversely impact long-term health outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)49-58
Number of pages10
JournalClinical Autonomic Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2016


  • Age
  • American veterans
  • Orthostatic hypertension
  • Orthostatic hypotension
  • Prescription medications
  • Prevalence


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