Lightheadedness: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment
Lightheadedness is a common unpleasant sensation. It is also called
presyncope. Almost everyone has or will experience lightheadedness in their life, which may be brief, long-lasting or recurring. It is typically caused by a temporary reduction in blood pressure or shortage of blood flow to the brain causing the passing out or fainting feeling. Lightheadedness is different from vertigo, both types of dizziness. Vertigo pertains to a sensation of movement, specifically a whirling or spinning sensation, of the environment when it is not. Majority of cases of lightheadedness are not serious and can disappear on their own or cured with minor treatments.
Causes of Lightheadedness
Lightheadedness is usually an indication of momentary shortage of either oxygen or blood to the brain. Some of the common causes of lightheadedness include:
- Drop in blood pressure
- Quick dehydration from vomiting, diarrhea or fevers
- Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)
- Hyperventilation (deep, rapid breathing)
- Use and abuse of alcohol, nicotine and illegal drugs
- Certain medications
- Flus and colds, from viral illnesses
- Panic attacks – stress and anxiety
- Playing a wind instrument
- Standing up too quickly
- May be a symptom for an underlying disease
- Pulmonary embolism
- Bleeding (possibly even from heavy menstrual bleeding)
- Heart attack
Symptoms of Lightheadedness
Although lightheadedness can be readily felt by a person, it may also have accompanying symptoms.
- Nausea and vomiting
- Fainting feeling or actually fainting
- Chest pain, change in vision or speech are usually present with underlying diseases
**If one experiences increased nausea and vomiting, fainting or irregular heartbeat, it may be time to seek medical help.
Treatment for Lightheadedness
- Lie down for a minute or two to allow more blood to flow to the rain. Slowly sit up and remain in this position for another minute or two before gradually standing up.
- Take a lot of rest. If lightheadedness is due to viral illnesses, resting a lot may prevent episodes of lightheadedness.
- Drink lots of fluids to stay hydrated. It may be best to take clear fluids, such as water, fruit juices and sports drinks. Dehydration can lead to increased lightheadedness.
- Before pursuing other activities, make sure that one no longer feels lightheadedness to avoid fainting. Moreover, avoid driving a motor vehicle or operating any equipment while still lightheaded.
- Avoid taking substances that may affect circulation such as caffeine, alcohol, illegal drugs and nicotine.
Lightheadedness can be easily treated at home to prevent avoidable injuries. First aid training teaches how to administer proper treatment in cases of medical scenarios. Through first aid classes, symptoms can be recognized easily and treatment can be given immediately to prevent further damage from befalling on persons treating lightheadedness.