Should I be concerned that I sometimes have trouble walking after waking up?

A fellow caregiver asked...

Sometimes when I up in the middle of the night, I have have a hard time walking. I seem to fall to one side. I asked my doctor about it and he said that can happen with age if you get up suddenly. Should I be concerned? I'm only 38 years old.

Expert Answer

Jennifer Serafin, N.P. is a registered nurse and geriatric nurse practitioner at the Jewish Homes for the Aged in San Francisco.

Being 36 years old myself, I would be concerned if this was happening to me too!  Several things to think about:  Are you dizzy when this happens?  Does this go away after you have been up for a few minutes?  Do you always have problems with the same side?   I would try to keep track of these things because it may help your doctor figure out what is happening.

My first thought when I read your question was that your blood pressure is probably low when you wake up, and when you get up suddenly it takes you body some time to adjust to that.  I would suggest that when you awake in the night and want to get up, you should do so slowly.  Sit on the edge of the bed for a minute or so before you get up, and see if that helps.  My guess is it should.  However, if the problem continues, perhaps you can ask your doctor to refer you to a neurologist to get checked out.