Parkinson’s Disease With Dizzy Spells May Be a Sign of Neurogenic Orthostatic Hypotension (nOH)

Parkinson’s disease, which affects an estimated 1 million Americans, is a nervous system disorder that damages the cells of the brain and nerves that control movement and progresses over time. This damage can lead to tremors, muscle rigidity, stiffness in the legs and body, and difficulties walking and keeping balanced.

Could nOH Be a Factor?

Healthcare providers say that hallmark signs of nOH, including dizziness, lightheadedness, blurred vision, and feeling faint after standing, can occur at any stage of Parkinson’s disease. People may believe that their nOH symptoms are part of their Parkinson's and something they have to learn to live with. It's only once a healthcare provider connects the symptoms of being lightheaded or faint after standing to a drop in blood pressure that an nOH diagnosis may be possible.

Lightheaded After Standing Up?

Answer a few questions to see if you may be experiencing neurogenic orthostatic hypotension symptoms.

What You Can Do

Small steps can go a long way in managing neurogenic orthostatic hypotension.

Multiple system atrophy

A rare, Parkinson's-like neurological disorder that causes problems with movement, loss of coordination, and malfunction of involuntary bodily functions (such as blood pressure control)

Autonomic dysfunction

Also known as dysautonomia. A term referring to conditions in which the autonomic nervous system does not function properly

Dopamine beta-hydroxylase deficiency

A rare disease that affects the autonomic nervous system. DBH is present at birth, but is not typically diagnosed until late childhood, and nearly all patients with DBH will have severe OH by their early adult years.

Autonomic nervous system

One part of the nervous system that helps regulate the many functions in the body that aren’t consciously controlled, including heart rate and blood pressure

Blood pressure

The force the blood has on the arteries. It has two numbers: top/bottom (systolic/diastolic)

Dementia with Lewy bodies

the second most common neurodegenerative dementia after Alzheimer's disease. Symptoms include progressive dementia; trouble remembering, learning, concentrating, or making decisions; visual hallucinations; and parkinsonism movement issues like tremor, impaired speech, or muscle stiffness.

Hypotension

Abnormally low blood pressure

Idiopathic

Arising from an unknown cause

Neurogenic

Associated with the nervous system

Parkinson’s disease

A nervous system disorder associated with damage to nerve cells in the brain and nerves that control movement and cause malfunction of involuntary bodily functions (such as blood pressure control)

Pure autonomic failure

A very rare, neurological disorder characterized by damage to regions of the nervous system that control involuntary functions (such as blood pressure control)

Norepinephrine

A neurotransmitter that functions to mobilize the brain and body for action

Orthostatic

Relating to standing up

MSA

A rare, Parkinson's-like neurological disorder that causes problems with movement, loss of coordination, and malfunction of involuntary bodily functions (such as blood pressure control)

PAF

A very rare, neurological disorder characterized by damage to regions of the nervous system that control involuntary functions (such as blood pressure control)

Autonomic dysfunction

Also known as dysautonomia. A term referring to conditions in which the autonomic nervous system does not function properly