The symptoms of orthostatic hypotension may be ignored or go unnoticed and may predispose some diabetic or elderly people to repeated falls and trauma, leading to immobility and prolongation of rehabilitation. The present investigation is concerned mainly with testing the reaction of the cardiovascular system in response to physiological stimuli, such as, standing upright from a supine position before and after meal intake in diabetic patients and the healthy Saudi population.
Materials and Methods:
Seventy-five healthy and 49 diabetic patients were selected for this study. Parameters of heart rate, systolic and diastolic blood pressures, and electrocardiograms (ECG) were obtained for each subject by Dinamap (an automatic recorder), after 10 minutes of rest in the supine position and then after one and two minutes of standing. All parameters were taken before and after an intake of a standard meal. The results were compared between the diabetic and non-diabetic groups, and between the elderly diabetic and the healthy elderly ≥ 65 year olds, and between the young adults ≤ 40 year olds and the elderly ≥ 65 year olds.
The postural changes of blood pressure and heart rate between the diabetic and non-diabetic groups, and between the elderly diabetic and the healthy elderly groups, were not significant. However, a highly significant postural drop in blood pressure, and an increase in the resting heart rate were recorded before and after a meal intake in the elderly compared to the young adults.
The highly significant postural drop in blood pressure and increase in the resting heart rate in the elderly diabetic and healthy elderly people can be attributed to a defect in the arterial baroreceptors control of blood pressure and parasympathetic control of heart rate in this population.