Eating is a pleasurable time for most, especially when your favorite dishes are on the menu. If you have postprandial hypotension, though, meal time can cause a drop in your blood pressure, causing you to feel dizzy or light-headed. Although no definitive treatment is available, some lifestyle changes can improve this condition.
During digestion, a large amount of blood flows to your digestive tract. To help maintain a normal blood pressure, your heart rate increases and certain blood vessels constrict. If these processes do not occur, your blood pressure drops after you eat
Postprandial hypotension tends to affect older adults; older bodies are unable to manage changes in blood pressure as well as younger bodies. Harvard Medical School adds that age-related changes make it difficult to respond to acute changes in blood pressure. The process of digestion requires the coordination of your circulatory, nervous and digestive systems. Therefore, people with nervous system disorders such as Parkinson’s disease, endocrine disorders such as diabetes and circulatory problems such as pulmonary embolism – a blockage in the artery of the lungs – are all at risk for postprandial hypotension.
Certain medications can increase your risk of postprandial hypotension, according to the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute. These include blood pressure medications such as diuretics, calcium channel blockers, nitrates and beta-blockers. These drugs may lower your blood pressure too much if the dosing is not correct. Other substances such as alcohol, over-the-counter medications and some prescription drugs may adversely react with high blood pressure medication, resulting in a sudden drop of blood pressure after eating.