Postural hypotension in diabetic autonomic neuropathy: a review

Diabet Med. 1995 Mar;12(3):192-200. doi: 10.1111/j.1464-5491.1995.tb00458.x.


Postural hypotension is uncommon in diabetes but can occur secondary to autonomic neuropathy. Symptoms are rare and include dizziness, weakness, blurred vision, tiredness, and loss of consciousness. The pathophysiology of postural hypotension is not clear, but changes in intravascular volume, heart rate, cardiac output, and splanchnic vascular resistance are similar in patients and controls. The main factors producing hypotension are a blunted catecholamine response to standing, and failure of lower limb vascular resistance to increase adequately. Treatment for symptomatic postural hypotension includes avoidance of dehydration, adequate salt intake, and fludrocortisone. Other treatments are reviewed but are less helpful. Patients with postural hypotension have intermittent symptoms over the years but rarely become severely disabled. They have a poorer prognosis than patients with symptomatic autonomic neuropathy without postural hypotension.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Autonomic Nervous System / physiopathology
  • Autonomic Nervous System Diseases / physiopathology*
  • Autonomic Nervous System Diseases / therapy
  • Cardiac Output
  • Diabetic Neuropathies / physiopathology*
  • Diabetic Neuropathies / therapy
  • Female
  • Heart Rate
  • Humans
  • Hypotension, Orthostatic*
  • Leg / blood supply
  • Middle Aged
  • Splanchnic Circulation
  • Vascular Resistance