ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Living With Chronic Orthostatic Intolerance

Updated on April 23, 2016

How Does OI Feel?

I was playing outside the first time I noticed the symptoms. The world seemed to spin in a long, slow circle around me. Noises that had been normal and close were muffled as if I had dunked my head underwater. Walking the few steps to my mother, my legs felt heavy and didn't want to move. I told my mother I felt sick. Before I heard her response, my vision grew dark on the edges, and then I went blind.

I woke up on the ground. Two men I didn't know stood over me. I was wearing a mask over my face. My clothes were soaked through with perspiration. One of the men pointed at my mother and asked me if I knew who she was. When I opened my mouth to answer, they told me not to speak. They carried me into the back of an ambulance, and my mother came in as well. There were tears on her face but she was smiling. She held my hand and told me that we were in an ambulance, which was really cool because it meant we could drive through red lights.

I was three years old.

By the time we got to the hospital, I felt fine. They weren't letting me sit up, but I wanted to. When the doctors checked me over, they couldn't find anything wrong with me. They told my mother I'd probably gotten a little dehydrated and not to worry.

As the years went on, this became common. I would pass out a few times a year, but by the time we got to a doctor, I was always fine. Eventually we stopped going to the doctor, knowing they wouldn't be able to find anything wrong with me. I wasn't diagnosed until I was thirteen years old.


What is Orthostatic Intolerance?

Stories like the one above are not uncommon with Orthostatic Intolerance, which is caused by a quick drop in blood pressure which typically occurs when a person stands up. Other triggers can include:

  • Climbing a Flight of Stairs
  • Running
  • Heat, or Sudden Changes in Temperature
  • Staying in the Same Position for Too Long
  • Dehydration
  • Stress

Most people have experienced some form of orthostatic intolerance. For example, standing up quickly after sitting for a long period of time can cause a feeling of "head rush" and in an extreme situation a person might pass out. This is called acute orthostatic intolerance. However, for people with chronic orthostatic intolerance, these situations occur a lot more often.

Treating Orthostatic Intolerance

The doctors told me to lay down whenever I felt dizzy. When I was fourteen years old, my family went on a Caribbean cruise. As I tried to get back onto the ship from a port, the combination of the Caribbean heat and the tight crowd made me dizzy. I began to lose my eyesight. I told my mom that I wasn't feeling well, and she told me to lie down right there. The guards didn't know what was happening and were concerned, as I lay down in the middle of the terminal, that my family was trying to distract them so that we could do something criminal.

Although Orthostatic Intolerance can be treated, and treatment options are relatively simple compared to those of a lot of chronic illnesses, the condition can still have a dramatic impact on a person's life.

Medications can help. Common medications include:

  • Fludrocortisone
  • Midodrine
  • Pyridoscimine

Your doctor can best help you determine if medication is right for you.

Changing behaviors can also help people with orthostatic intolerance better live full lives with the condition. Some tips include:

  • Drink plenty of water
  • Lie down when you feel dizzy
  • Keep your feet propped when you're sitting at a desk
  • When standing up, do so slowly
  • Exercise, but pay attention to your body when doing so
  • Communicate with friends and family about the best ways to handle things if you do pass out


Submit a Comment

No comments yet.


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)