Morning dizziness: These swaying symptoms may indicate dementia

Feeling dizzy in the morning should not be ignored

Some people find it difficult to get out of bed in the morning, but this is not really unusual. However, if you often feel light-headed or dizzy when you stand up, these could be warning signs of dementia.

In their current study, scientists at Johns Hopkins University in Maryland found that feeling light-headed or dizzy in the morning could indicate dementia.

What is orthostatic hypotension?

If people feel dizzy or feel light-headed after getting up, this indicates what is known as orthostatic hypotension. Orthostatic hypotension occurs when the blood pressure suddenly drops when changing from a seated to a standing position. The results of the study show that middle-aged people with this complaint develop dementia about 1.5 times more often and have a stroke twice as often. The team from Johns Hopkins University in Maryland said the results show a new marker that medical professionals can recognize early to prevent or delay the onset of age-related diseases.

What are the symptoms of orthostatic hypotension?

When you get up after sitting or lying down, the body has to send blood and oxygen to the brain. If this does not happen, your blood pressure can drop significantly, which is the case with so-called orthostatic hypotension, the doctors say. Symptoms of the disease include dizziness, drowsiness, blurred vision, nausea, tiredness and fainting. There are many possible causes, such as age, anemia, dehydration, and certain medications such as beta blockers.

How is orthostatic hypotension treated?

Treatment of orthostatic hypotension depends on the underlying cause. If the condition occurs due to dehydration, doctors will suggest an increase in fluid intake. If a medication is the cause, your doctor may change the type of prescription or dosage. Another treatment is in the form of a compression stocking, which prevents the backflow of fluid in the legs when a person lies down or sits.

Link between orthostatic hypotension and heart disease?

Orthostatic hypotension has been linked to heart disease, fainting and falls, study author Dr. Andreea Rawlings of Johns Hopkins University quoted by BBC News. Therefore, the researchers wanted to conduct a large study to determine whether this form of low blood pressure was also related to brain problems, particularly dementia.

The investigation had more than 11,700 participants

More than 11,700 participants were examined and medically monitored for a period of 25 years for the study. The participants, who were on average 54 years old, had neither stroke nor heart disease at baseline. At the start of the study, the team asked the subjects to lie down for 20 minutes and then stand up quickly. Blood pressure was measured once at rest and five times while standing. The doctors found that about five percent of the group had orthostatic hypotension at the start of the study.

How high was the increased risk of dementia?

Over the course of the study, approximately nine percent of the participants developed dementia and slightly more than seven percent developed an ischemic stroke. This occurs when an artery in the brain is blocked due to a blood clot. The results showed that participants with orthostatic hypotension at the start of the study were 54 percent more likely to develop dementia even when treated compared to people who did not have the condition. Nine percent of participants without orthostatic hypotension developed dementia, compared to 12.5 percent of people with dementia. In addition, people with orthostatic hypotension had twice the risk of suffering from an ischemic stroke, the scientists explain.

More research is needed

Measuring orthostatic hypotension in middle age could be a new way to identify people who should be carefully medically monitored for dementia or stroke, says Dr. Rawlings. Further studies are now necessary to clarify what could cause these compounds and to examine possible prevention strategies. (as)

Author and source information

Video: What you can do to prevent Alzheimers. Lisa Genova (January 2022).