Parkinson's Disease and Neurogenic Orthostatic Hypotension
(Neurogenic OH or NOH)

Parkinson's disease overview

Parkinson's disease is a progressive neurologic disease that affects movement.

  • Symptoms may include tremor or shaking, slowed motion, rigid muscles, and balance problems
  • Parkinson's disease most often affects adults older than 50
  • Parkinson's disease is more common in men than in women
  • At least 500,000 people in the US have Parkinson's disease

What is the connection between Parkinson's disease and Neurogenic OH?

Parkinson's disease affects the brain and the autonomic nervous system (the system that controls involuntary actions and works to regulate blood pressure).

  • Parkinson's disease causes damage to nerves
  • When nerves are damaged, they may not be able to tell your blood vessels to squeeze to raise blood pressure when you stand up
    • This leads to the potential for a prolonged drop in blood pressure when you stand and for symptoms of Neurogenic OH (dizziness, lightheadedness, or fainting) to occur
  • Approximately 18% of people with Parkinson's disease also have symptoms of Neurogenic OH

How do I know what is causing my symptoms?

It may be hard to tell the exact cause of symptoms since some of the symptoms of Parkinson's disease may be similar to those of Neurogenic OH. Additionally, you may be taking medications for Parkinson's disease or other health conditions that have side effects similar to the symptoms of Neurogenic OH. If you are experiencing symptoms of dizziness, lightheadedness, or fainting when you stand up, talk to your doctor to help determine the cause so he or she can manage your symptoms appropriately. Click here to take the interactive Symptom Assessment Questionnaire.

Parkinson's disease symptoms Neurogenic OH symptoms Side effects from common Parkinson's disease medications
Motor symptoms Dizziness Involuntary movements
Tremors Lightheadedness Low blood pressure when standing
Slowed motion Fainting/blacking out Sleepiness
Muscle stiffness Fatigue Water retention
Impaired balance and coordination Blurry vision Hallucinations
Loss of automatic movements (blinking, smiling) Weakness Compulsive behavior
Trouble walking Trouble concentrating Confusion
Difficulty swallowing Pain or discomfort in the head and neck Headache
Loss of movement   Dizziness
Change in speech    
Non-motor symptoms    
Problems sleeping    
Orthostatic hypotension    

Additional information about Parkinson's disease is available at:
American Parkinson Disease Association
National Parkinson Foundation
Parkinson Alliance
Michael J. Fox Foundation
Parkinson's Disease Foundation
Parkinson's Resource Organization