Postprandial hypotension

Am J Med. 2010 Mar;123(3):281.e1-6. doi: 10.1016/j.amjmed.2009.06.026.


Postprandial hypotension is both common in geriatric patients and an important but under-recognized cause of syncope. Other populations at risk include those with Parkinson disease and autonomic failure. The mechanism is not clearly understood, but appears to be secondary to a blunted sympathetic response to a meal. This review discusses the epidemiology, risk factors, and pathophysiology of postprandial hypotension in the elderly, as well as diagnosis and treatment strategies. Diagnosis can be made based on ambulatory blood pressure monitoring and patient symptoms. Lifestyle modifications such as increased water intake before eating or substituting 6 smaller meals daily for 3 larger meals may be effective treatment options. However, data from randomized, controlled trials are limited. Increased awareness of this disease may lead to improved quality of life, decreased falls and injuries, and the avoidance of unnecessary testing.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Blood Pressure / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Hypotension* / epidemiology
  • Hypotension* / etiology
  • Hypotension* / physiopathology
  • Incidence
  • Postprandial Period*
  • Risk Factors
  • United States / epidemiology