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TCM Can Provide a Cure for Orthostatic Hypotension

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I had a 40 year old patient who was suffering from a condition known as Orthostatic Hypotension. She had to don therapeutic pressure stockings everyday that helped lessen the symptoms of her disorder. Because she felt extreme discomfort wearing those stockings, she asked me if Chinese medicine and acupuncture in Bellingham can help with her condition so she may not need to wear those stockings anymore. I examined her and saw that she was suffering from serious fatigue after delivering her 4th baby twelve years ago. After giving birth, she had to go back to work immediately so she wasn’t able to get adequate recovery time. One day, she woke up and started to feel a fainting sensation all of a sudden. She began to have this problem regularly and only by wearing the prescription pressure stockings was she able to get on with her daily life activities. She began to experience other signs and symptoms including weak blood flow to the legs, dark color developing under her eyes, nocturnal polyuria, poor concentration, and afternoon tiredness. I used traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) diagnostic tools to help ascertain the cause of my patient’s condition which I eventually found out were kidney qi deficiency, central qi deficiency, and blood stagnation. My treatment plan for her was once-a-week treatment of acupuncture and a prescription of Chinese herbal medicine taken twice a month-and-a-half. Over time, the patient was able to gradually reduce her use of pressure stockings. The treatment extended for a couple of months until the patient showed a significant improvement of her symptoms and had no more need to wear the stockings.

Hypotension that is orthostatic means that the brain’s arterial blood pressure has dropped dramatically. This occurs when the body suddenly takes on a vertical stance. Because of gravity, the blood is forced to accumulate in the lower stomach veins and in the legs. As the heart pumps all the blood that circulates throughout the body, orthostatic hypotension tends to lower the amount of blood returning to the heart. As a result, the pumping action is lessened which results in a lower blood pressure in the body. Because of the brain’s sensitivity to a drop in the body’s blood pressure, it begins to function ineffectively. Assuming a horizontal position (lying down) is one way of treating this condition as blood flow to the heart gets better which then helps pump more blood to the brain.

A lot of people have experienced the feeling of lightheadedness that comes all of a sudden that almost causes them to faint. They tend to feel this when they try to stand up after sitting or lying down for a long time. They may also experience this feeling after having stood up for a long time. This sensation is what is known as vasovagal syncope, orthostatic hypotension, or simply low blood pressure.

According to TCM theory, orthostatic hypotension can be the result of various causes. These causes may include neuralgia, significant loss of body fluids or blood, post febrile disease, mental or physical overexertion, etc. They may result in a malfunction of the internal organs and the inability of the blood vessels and heart to maintain a normal blood pressure.

Although orthostatic hypotension is not considered a serious condition the patient can nonetheless still fall and thus can suffer injuries. It can have a significant negative impact on the patient’s life. One can try traditional Chinese Medicine modalities such as herbal medicine, dietary modifications and acupuncture to cure the problem and restore balance to the function of the brain and the other internal organs of the body.

Written by Valerie

October 12th, 2015 at 2:20 am

Posted in Acupuncture

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