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Lightheadedness When Standing

Lightheadedness When Standing

Sometimes, the commonest symptoms that we tend to ignore can become a major cause of concern. Experiencing lightheadedness when standing is one such example. This HealthHearty article explains the causal factors associated with this symptom, and more.
HealthHearty Staff
A feeling of lightheadedness can hit you out of nowhere. More often than not, the onset is sudden and unexpected, and you may find yourself in need of support to stay standing. Many of us brush this feeling aside, since it's obviously not imminently life-threatening. After all, we're all busy, hurtling through life at breakneck speed, what's a little lightheadedness in the midst of all that?
Well, the bad news is, it could be a symptom of an underlying condition that needs to be addressed. The good news is, a little attention and care can help you arrest it, provided it is diagnosed in time.
Causes
The causes can be linked to a number of conditions. These can range from simple to complex. The simplest way to understand one of the basic reasons of this occurrence is by applying the principle of gravity. When you stand up suddenly, gravity causes your blood to rush to the lower half of your body, as a result of which, the blood supply to your brain decreases. This lowered blood perfusion is the reason why you experience lightheadedness. However, our body is designed to counteract this problem, and that is the reason why most of us don't even realize the lowered blood pressure at the time of standing. The following are the reasons that may be attributed for our body not being able to counteract this problem anymore.
Orthostatic Hypotension
The medical term for the condition that causes this symptom is Orthostatic hypotension. It is also known as postural hypotension. Here, the blood pressure of the body lowers down when it is suddenly moved from a resting position. Therefore, when a person with this condition tends to stand suddenly, he or she experiences lightheadedness. This condition may be caused due to dehydration, heart problems, diabetes, old age, nervous system disorders, etc.
Lowered Calorie Intake
Insufficient nutrition levels, particularly over long periods, can give rise to the feeling of dizziness. Certain crash diets, which drastically lower calorie intake can lead to a head rush. Conversely, you may also experience lightheadedness after eating, which could be linked to what you've eaten, or at what pace you have eaten.
Hypovolemia
This is a condition characterized by a lowered volume of blood in the body, which is most commonly caused by bleeding due to an injury. It can also occur due to excessive loss of fluids in the body, which could result from severe diarrhea, vomiting, excessive sweating, etc.
Others
When the blood supply to the brain is decreased by sudden motion, it is normally corrected by the involuntary nervous system, much like a reflex action. Other than the causes listed above, there can be cases where orthostatic hypotension can also be a symptom of a serious medical condition including Parkinson's disease, Addison's disease, abnormal heart rhythms, anemia, and multiple system atrophy (MSA).
Symptoms
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Head rush
  • Visual impairment
  • A ringing sound in the ears (tinnitus)
  • Paresthesia, or numbness in the extremities
  • Loss of consciousness (in extreme cases) 
Avoid sudden movements, especially when getting up from a seated or supine position. Try to get up slowly. Incorporate some exercises in your daily routine. Try to move your calf muscles before getting up from a resting position. Keep yourself well hydrated by drinking enough water throughout the day, and consume multiple small meals. Avoid excessive intake of caffeine and alcohol too, as it may worsen the situation.
As mentioned earlier, many of us tend to neglect simple symptoms till they surpass the point beyond which they transform into a serious health condition. Listen to your body and pay heed to the warning signs. Get in touch with a trusted healthcare specialist as soon as you experience any abnormality in the ability to do something as routine as standing up. After all, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is meant for informational purposes only and should not be considered as a replacement for expert medical advice.