Study looks at how space travel affects blood pressure

A brand new study released Friday details how space travel affects human blood pressure and how the negative effects can be prevented.

Astronauts have a history of fainting during routine movement when they return to Earth. The longer they spend in space, the greater the risk.

Dr. Benjamin Levine at the UT Southwestern Medical Center designed a specific set of exercises that work for astronauts and then supplied them with IV fluids upon their return. That helped prevent astronauts from experiencing dizziness or fainting.

"One of the biggest problems astronauts have had is when they come back to Earth after being in space, they can't stand up. About two-thirds of them can't even stand up for 10 minutes. In medical terms it's orthostatic intolerance or fainting. It's quite a serious problem on Earth as well as in space," he said.

Dr. Levine noted that astronauts lose 1% of the muscle mass in their heart per week in space.