Many of us have had the experience of feeling lightheaded when getting up from a sitting position too quickly or maybe after skipping breakfast or lunch. Usually it passes quickly, and we forget about it. Feeling lightheaded may be nothing serious, but let’s look at these 6 frequent causes, and when you should be concerned.
Vertigo is an inner ear imbalance which makes you feel like the room is spinning, or you think you are doing the spinning. In either case you feel dizzy, and it seems to become worse when you move you head. It is also known as benign paroxysmal positional vertigo, or BPPN.
BPPN is triggered by sudden movements of the head, and is often caused by a head injury, getting older, a tumor, or side effects from an antibiotic. Those who have frequent migraines can also be prone to episodes of vertigo.
If it doesn’t subside relatively quickly, vertigo can cause someone to lose their balance and fall. It is best to have symptoms checked by a specialist like Davidson Family Medicine to determine their underlying cause.
When your body does not get enough water, your brain doesn’t get the amount of blood it needs. This can occur when you’re ill and not getting enough fluids, or if you get overheated during exercise. Drink water or orange juice for an added kick of sugar and it should pass. If that doesn’t help, you may want to seek medical care.
Drop in Blood Pressure
Usually our nervous system controls our blood pressure when we move from a sitting position to standing up. Aging can cause this system to deteriorate, and older adults may find that they become lightheaded when they stand up. Prescription medications can easily treat this issue, so see Davidson Family Medicine if these symptoms persist and happen frequently.
Low Blood Sugar
When your blood sugar drops, it makes it difficult for your body to sustain normal functions, and you can feel lightheaded. Some orange juice should quickly reverse the symptoms, but it could be a sign that you need your blood sugar levels checked more frequently.
Sudden drops in blood sugar could also be hypoglycemia, which is common if you have diabetes. If you have not been diagnosed with diabetes, but continue to feel lightheaded, it may be time complete a few simple blood tests at Davidson Family Medicine to determine why.
Heart Attack and Stroke
This obviously is the most serious cause of feeling lightheaded. In older adults, lightheaded sensations may be the only noticeable symptom of a heart attack, and so it is crucial to monitor these abnormal symptoms closely and seek appropriate care if they do not improve.
Other symptoms of a heart attack that can accompany feeling lightheaded include:
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
- Pain in the arm, back, and jaw
With a stroke, watch for a sudden headache, numbness, vision changes, slurred speech, and trouble walking.
Side Effects from Drugs
Certain medications both prescription and over-the-counter can cause you to feel lightheaded. This is especially true if the drug lowers blood pressure or makes you urinate more frequently, as this can result in feeling light headed. A simple change in dosage of type of medication should correct the issue.
Contact Davidson Family Medicine if you have frequent bouts of lightheadedness to discover what the cause may be.