Hypovolemia contributes to the pathogenesis of orthostatic hypotension in patients with diabetes mellitus


      PURPOSE: To investigate whether body sodium content and blood volume contribute to the pathogenesis of orthostatic hypotension in patients with diabetes mellitus.
      SUBJECTS AND METHODS: Exchangeable sodium, plasma and blood volumes, and catecholamine, renin, and aldosterone levels were assessed in 10 patients with Type II diabetes mellitus who had orthostatic hypotension and control groups of 40 diabetic patients without orthostatic hypotension and 40 normal subjects of similar age and sex. In subgroups, clinical tests of autonomic function and cardiovascular reactivity to norepinephrine and angiotensin II infusions were performed.
      RESULTS: In diabetic patients with orthostatic hypotension, mean (± SD) supine blood pressure was 165/98 ± 27/12 mm Hg (P <0.05 compared with other groups) and mean upright blood pressure was 90/60 ± 38/18 mm Hg. Compared with controls, diabetic patients with orthostatic hypotension had a 10% lower blood volume. They also had less exchangeable sodium than patients with diabetes who did not have orthostatic hypotension (P <0.01). Compared with both groups of controls, diabetic patients with orthostatic hypotension had decreased 24-hour urinary norepinephrine excretion and a reduced diastolic blood pressure response to handgrip (P <0.05). Moreover, they displayed reduced products of exchangeable sodium or blood volume and sympathetic function indexes. Cardiovascular pressor reactivity to norepinephrine was enhanced (P <0.01) and beat-to-beat variation decreased (P <0.01) in both groups of diabetic patients. Microvascular complications were more prevalent in the diabetic patients with orthostatic hypotension (90% vs 35%).
      CONCLUSIONS: Patients who have Type II diabetes mellitus and orthostatic hypotension are hypovolemic and have sympathoadrenal insufficiency; both factors contribute to the pathogenesis of orthostatic hypotension.
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