Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine for the Treatment of Orthostatic Hypotension

A woman suffering from orthostatic hypotension visited my clinic in the summer of 2011. She was forced to wear therapeutic pressure stockings because of her condition and the stockings helped ease the problems caused by her condition. She was in her mid 40s and has five children. She really felt uncomfortable wearing the stockings and asked me if Chinese medicine and acupuncture in Linwood can help her with her condition so that she may not need to wear those stockings ever again. After checking her health for about 30 minutes, I discovered that my patient had been suffering from severe fatigue after giving birth to her fourth baby twelve years ago. She hadn’t had much time to recover from her delivery as she had to work immediately after giving birth. Over time, she developed faintness (syncope) in the morning particularly when arising from bed. It was only when she suited on her doctor-prescribed stockings that she was able to perform her daily activities. The other signs and symptoms she manifested included weak blood flow to her legs, black coloration under her eyes, polynocturia (frequent urination at night), lack of concentration, and extreme tiredness during the afternoon. The traditional Chinese medicine diagnosis for her condition was deficiency kidney qi, deficient central qi, and blood stagnation. I gave her weekly acupuncture treatments along with Chinese herbal formulas for 6 weeks. At the end of six weeks, she was able to lessen her pressure stockings from 20-30mg to 15-18 mg. I extended the treatment for a couple of months more. During the course of the treatment, my patient was able to accomplish work and her daily life activities without wearing her stockings for several days. And before the treatment ended, she was able to live her life without needing to wear her stockings ever. What’s more her symptoms gradually improved until she was entirely cured of her condition.

Orthostatic hypotension is a condition in which the blood pressure in the arteries of the brain suddenly drops. This occurs when the body abruptly takes up a vertical position, which causes the blood to accumulate in the lower abdominal veins and the veins in the legs. Blood is pumped by the blood and normally, the amount of blood the heart pumps out is the amount of blood that returns to the heart. But when the volume of retuning blood is reduced the amount of blood pumped out is naturally reduced as well. This change is immediately sensed by the brain which affects its function. To rectify this sudden change in circulation, the person needs to assume a horizontal position. This returns more blood to the heart that in turn boosts blood flow to the brain.

When orthostatic hypotension (also called vasovagal syncope) occurs, those affected may suddenly experience a feeling of lightheadedness to the point that they faint when they when they stand up all of a sudden after having sat or lied down for a long time. This condition can also occur when the person had been standing still for a long time.

According to traditional Chinese medicine, orthostatic hypotension can be caused by neuralgia, post fluid or blood loss, post febrile disease, or mental or physical overexertion among others. These conditions can result in the malfunction of certain internal organs and the inability of the blood vessels and heart to maintain proper blood pressure to enable the body to function normally; and although, not a deadly condition (unless this causes the sufferer to fall, in which case might lead to serious injury), orthostatic hypotension can definitely impact a person’s quality of life. The problem can be cured with Chinese Medicine as this treatment can help the rebalance the function of the affected internal organs.