Orthostatic Intolerance: A Disorder of Young Women


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Abstract

Orthostatic intolerance (OI) is a cause of significant disability in otherwise healthy women seen by gynecologists. Orthostatic tachycardia is often the most obvious hemodynamic abnormality found in OI patients, but symptoms may include dizziness, visual changes, discomfort in the head or neck, poor concentration, fatigue, palpitations, tremulousness, anxiety, and, in some cases, fainting (syncope). It is the most common disorder of blood pressure regulation after essential hypertension, and patients with OI are traditionally women of childbearing age. Estimates suggest that at least 500,000 Americans suffer from some form of OI, and such patients comprise the largest group referred to centers specialized in autonomic disorders. This article reviews recent advances made in the understanding of this condition, potential pathophysiological mechanisms contributing to orthostatic intolerance, and therapeutic alternatives currently available for the management of these patients.Target Audience:Obstetricians & Gynecologists, Family PhysiciansLearning Objectives:After completion of this article, the reader will be able to describe the common signs and symptoms associated with idiopathic orthostatic intolerance, to identify the various conditions that have similar presentations as idiopathic orthostatic intolerance and to describe potential treatment options.

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