Lightheadedness or dizziness can have severe underlying causes. If you frequently experience lightheadedness, you need to get the possible causes diagnosed.
Lightheadedness is the feeling that you are about to fall, i.e., a sensation of dizziness. It can occur recurrently or suddenly. It is similar to vertigo.
Low Blood Pressure
When the blood pressure of a person drops significantly, there is a temporary shortage of blood to the brain, as adequate oxygen-rich blood does not reach the brain. This affects normal functioning of the brain, and hence, the person feels dizzy and lightheaded. Most of the time, it is observed that low blood pressure is a side effect of hypertension medications. When the blood pressure lowers, other symptoms like sweating, nausea, vomiting, chest pain, etc., are also observed.
Low Blood Sugar
Sometimes, the sugar level in the blood drops suddenly. This is known as hypoglycemia. The inadequate supply of glucose results in temporary impaired function of the brain, which results in lightheadedness and sweating. Although common in diabetics, it can also be observed in case of non-diabetics.
Cardiac arrhythmia is the abnormal heart muscle contraction, i.e., irregularity in the heart beats. When the symptoms of lightheadedness occur in recurrent episodes, there is a high possibility of the presence of heart related illnesses. Sometimes, it can also be a symptom of a heart attack.
When a person has less amount of hemoglobin in blood, he is said to suffer from anemia. Anemia occurs when the red blood cell (RBC) count of blood decreases. As hemoglobin carries oxygen in the blood, lack of hemoglobin results in reduced amount of oxygen in the blood, which can result in lightheadedness.
When a person consumes alcoholic drinks, his blood sugar level falls too low, which can result in hangover symptoms like dizziness and headaches.
Similarly, people may also experience lightheadedness if they rise very quickly from a lying or sitting position.
Dizziness or lightheadedness during pregnancy is very common, and nearly all women experience it. The growth of blood vessels and pressure of the uterus on these vessels can make a pregnant woman feel lightheaded. In order to overcome it, a woman should have regular meals and also avoid being in a standing position for a long time.
If you feel lightheaded consecutively for more than 2 days, or have recurrent episodes of it, you should immediately visit your doctor. As it can be a symptom of serious and chronic illnesses, it should be treated soon. Low blood pressure can be treated with supplements or by changing diet. Low blood sugar can be brought to the normal level by immediately administrating dextrose sugar, glucose, or carbohydrate foods. Similarly, anemia, if mild, can be treated through supplements and iron rich diet. On the other hand, if it is severe, blood transfusion may be required. Lightheadedness, if caused due to heart related illness, can be treated only thorough hospitalization.
There are a few preventive measures that can help in precluding lightheadedness up to some extent. For e.g., eating regular meals and avoiding a large interval between two meals can prevent hypoglycemia or low blood sugar. Similarly, alcohol consumption should be avoided.
Lightheadedness can be a warning symptom of a severe disease. Therefore, one should have its causes and symptoms evaluated by the doctor as early as possible.
Disclaimer: This article is meant only to provide information. It should not be substituted for medical consultation and advice.