Postural hypotension with a decline of 20 mm Hg or more in systolic blood pressure on standing is considered a potentially dangerous hypotensive response. Postural dizziness is often strongly associated with postural hypotension. However, there is conflicting evidence, and previous studies have been confined to the elderly, not specifically to patients with diabetes. Thus, we evaluated the association between postural hypotension and postural dizziness, and determined the factors most likely related to postural hypotension in patients with diabetes.
The subjects were 204 consecutive non–insulin-dependent patients with diabetes and 408 age- and sex-matched control subjects. Postural hypotension was defined as a decline of 20 mm Hg or more in systolic blood pressure 1 minute after standing. Postural dizziness was any feelings of dizziness, light-headedness, or faintness that occurred while standing during the examination.
The prevalence of postural hypotension and postural dizziness in patients with diabetes was higher than in control subjects. Those patients with both diabetes and postural hypotension were older and had higher supine systolic blood pressures and higher plasma glycosylated hemoglobin and fasting glucose levels. They had higher prevalence of postural dizziness, hypertension, and cerebrovascular disease, and lower standing systolic blood pressures than those without postural hypotension. They also were more often being treated with antihypertensive agents. Only 32.8% of patients with diabetes with postural hypotension suffered from postural dizziness. Postural dizziness, hypertension, cerebrovascular disease, and plasma glycosylated hemoglobin levels were independently associated with postural hypotension in patients with diabetes.
Postural dizziness, glycemic control, hypertension, and cerebrovascular disease were important determinants of postural hypotension in patients with diabetes. Postural hypotension was associated with postural dizziness, but it cannot be determined clinically just from the presence of postural dizziness because the sensitivity for diagnosis of postural hypotension is low.