Experiencing lightheadedness? Know the 5 potential reasons behind it

By  ,  Onlymyhealth editorial team
Apr 11, 2017
Quick Bites

  • 90 Percent of people who have passed out are absolutely fine.
  • An underlying health condition has been the cause for the rest 10 percent.
  • Feeling dizzy and feeling lightheaded is not same.

Have you ever fainted or by any chance have ever been around when suddenly someone else passed out?  It is terrifying to be in either of the situations or both.

But, 90 percent of people who have ever passed out are absolutely fine. While for the remaining 10 percent, an underlying health condition, like an abnormal heart rhythm, might have caused them to faint out, hinting towards a serious health concern down the road.

Regardless of the reason, fainting is the result of decreased supply of blood supply to the brain for a short period of time. Surprisingly, your low blood pressure, slow heartbeat and some neurologic reasons of the heart may cause you to faint out.  

While in some cases, cause of slow heart rate and drop in blood pressure are not worrisome but in some cases, more evaluation is needed to find out the cause.
Even if the aforementioned changes do not cause you to pass out, chances are drop in blood pressure or slow heart rate can still make you feel lightheaded, that very specific yet hard to describe feeling you've when you pass out.

Note : some people confuse feeling lightheadedness with dizziness. However, dizziness can include lightheadedness, but it also comes with the feeling that everything around you is spinning. It is as tricky as it gets, to realise whether you are fainting or just feeling lightheaded, if the cause is some serious concern.

Here are some potential reasons why you could be feeling lightheadedness

You’re not keeping yourself hydrated

Summer time calls for taking extra care of your well-being as the hot weather can leave you dehydrated due to loss of fluids in the form of sweat. While some people may manage to beat the heat others may succumb to the harsh effects of sun and heat wave, one of the leading causes of death during summer season.

It's imperative to drink plenty of water or other fluids in order to keep yourself hydrated. Heat triggers a pathway in the nervous system that results in drop in blood pressure, causing you to feel lightheaded.

What you can do

If you feel lightheaded because of dehydration, lie down and rest, this will resupply the heart and brain with blood. This will make you feel better quickly.

You stood up too quickly

At first, it may seem little hard to comprehend that something as harmless as getting up from a seated position could result in feeling lightheadedness, but it is not so hard to follow once you know there is actually a condition known as orthostatic hypotension, where a sudden drop in blood pressure occurs when you hop up too quickly from your seat and as a result end up feeling lightheaded or seeing black spots in your vision.

Although, it is not a big issue but if happens a lot with you, it is worth telling your doctor.

You might have an abnormal heart rhythm

Onset of symptoms caused by surprise related fainting are relatively slower than the ones caused by heart related fainting, where you might not even notice any lightheadedness.

An irregular heartbeat, called an arrhythmia, means your heartbeats are either too slow or too fast, which in turn can affect the blood supply that reaches your brain, causing you to faint without any warning.

The abnormal heart rhythms may cause you to pass out all of a sudden and you may wake up on the floor without remembering feeling anything beforehand.

Your medications are to be blamed

Do you know why you feel dizzy post popping a pain killer or anti anxiety pill? Well, these medications can produce dizziness or lightheadedness, as they affect your brain directly and may even slow your heart rate or lower your blood pressure in a way that can provoke those symptoms.

You skipped lunch

Your busy schedule or work deadline may require you to put all your time and effort in to something very important but skipping meal will not help you in any way. Rather, being hard on your stomach may make you feel lightheaded as your brain is not getting the fuel it needs, glucose that is. Grabbing a bite to eat whenever you can will resolve your symptoms. But for a diabetic, feeling lightheaded might be a sign of dipping blood sugar levels, which can lead to seizures and unconsciousness.


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