Lightheadedness is pretty common in the elderly. If you have ever felt the feeling suggesting you are going to pass out or faint after a bout of dizziness, then you know what it means.
Want to know more about the topic? We know you do that's why in this article today, we are going to explain what is lightheadedness. What are its symptoms and causes? How can you treat lightheadedness or better, prevent it from troubling you?
We will also answer some frequently asked questions so that you are left with no doubt on the topic after reading this article.
Causes of Lightheadedness
Do you know what can cause lightheadedness? People keep asking about the causes of lightheadedness after exercise and causes of lightheadedness when standing up. Why these particular situations? And what are the real causes? Read on to know.
Here are the three primary causes of lightheadedness
1. Positional change
The most basic cause of lightheadedness occurs in the moments you quickly move from a seated/lying down position to a standing position. As you stand on your feet, the blood flow rushes down, leading to less blood flow to the top region of your body i.e., the brain.
The phenomenon can lead to a decrease in blood pressure which may make you feel like you are going to pass out.
If it happens, try to sit back or lie down, so that the blood starts flowing towards your brain.
Dehydration triggers the same aspect of blood pressure we just talked about. When you are sick, overheated and are not consuming a significant amount of fluids, the volume of your body lowers down. Thus, lowering the blood pressure which may cause you to faint. The problem with less blood pressure is that your brain doesn’t get enough blood flow and thus, oxygen and glucose, which are transported through the blood, doesn’t reach the brain enough.
If you suddenly feel faint, the best option is to quickly drink a couple of glasses of water. However, severe dehydration will require intravenous injections of fluid in the blood.
3. Heart attack and stroke
Heart attack or stroke talks about the possibility of some blockage in the arteries. It is a sign that your heart isn’t pumping blood like it usually should. This means your brain doesn’t get enough blood flow like in other cases. Thus, leading to less oxygen and glucose and more chances of passing out.
Since heart attacks and strokes are more common in elders due to their advancing age, elders must take special care.
Lightheadedness is one of the most common symptoms in the elderly, which implies the danger of heart attacks and stroke. It must be taken care of to ensure the elder stays away from them.
However, heart attacks and stroke are emergencies, and one must always stay ready for them. These are what causes severe lightheadedness. Download the Emoha app on your elder’s phone, which gives the ability to notify the family and experts at Emoha whenever the elder is in an emergency.
Apart from these, the other common causes of lightheadedness in elders are
- Low blood sugar
- Use of alcohol, tobacco, or illegal drugs
- Some medications
- Cold and flu
- Sickness because of heights
- Hyperventilation (very deep or fast breathing)
- Stress and anxiety
- Internal bleeding
Now that you know the reasons for lightheadedness, it’s time to know how to identify the trouble as it comes. The following are the common signs of lightheadedness.
Shortness of breath
Chest pain/pressure in the chest
Excessive unexplained sweating
Face drooping on one side
A feeling of loss of balance
Lightheadedness Treatment - Get Rid of Lightheadedness
So, how to overcome lightheadedness? The simplest way is to increase the blood flow to your brain. This can be done by lying down, drinking more water, drinking sugary fluids, or getting injections of fluids that are passed to your bloodstream through your veins.
Drinking fluids which have electrolytes is also seen to be quite effective.
If these tricks don’t work, then you can go for the following treatment methods. Doctors use these when the condition is severe.
- Medications for anxiety
- Medications for nausea
- Medications for migraine
- Water pills
- A low-salt diet
- Balance therapy which includes vestibular rehabilitation (these are exercises which help make your body’s balance system stronger and less sensitive to sudden motion)
Sometimes it is a problem with the inner ear that causes balance problems. Doctors suggest getting antibiotic injections in the problematic inner ear.
They may also recommend getting a removal done of the sense organ that is a part of the inner ear. The process is called labyrinthectomy. With the sense organ removed, the function of that inner ear is disabled.
The best way to prevent lightheadedness is to keep drinking enough water regularly. Especially if you are sick. Also, avoid getting overheated in the sun.
Stay clear from illegal drugs, alcohol and tobacco as they are one of the significant causes of lightheadedness. Avoid medications that may result in lowering your blood pressure. Also, never discontinue or take medications without consulting a doctor who knows your medical history.
Frequently Asked Questions about Lightheadedness
Q 1. Can indigestion cause lightheadedness?
Ans. Yes. Indigestion can lead to acid reflux which may further irritate the inner ear. The inner ear is the organ that keeps your balance system intact. If it gets irritated, you might feel a loss of balance and thus lightheadedness.
Q 2. Can wrong glasses cause lightheadedness?
Ans. Yes. That’s because, with glasses with wrong prescriptions, your eyes don’t get the right signals from the brain. The conflicting signals do not allow the vision to be clear. Misalignment thus created can lead to lightheadedness.
Q 3.What is lightheadedness a symptom of?
Ans. Lightheadedness can be a symptom of vertigo (inner ear problem), heart attacks, stroke and low blood pressure.
Q 4: Can neck problems cause lightheadedness?
Ans. Yes, problems with neck alignment can cause cervical vertigo. This affects your sense of balance and may cause lightheadedness.
Q 5: Can stress cause lightheadedness?
Ans.That’s right! Stress can cause lightheadedness. It is one of the primary causes in the elderly. The reason is that the hormones which are released as a response to stress, are known to narrow down blood vessels and raise the heart rate. They affect your respiratory and cardiovascular system - the ones that primary impact blood pressure. Thus, leading to lightheadedness. It is more common in the elderly because their age brings them a lot of stress.
Q 6: Can vitamin B12 deficiency cause lightheadedness?
Ans.A deficiency of vitamin B12 can lead to lightheadedness because low levels of b12 restrict the flow of blood to the brain. It doesn't get enough oxygen and is thus isn’t able to control your body. B12 is one of the most commonly suggested vitamins for lightheadedness.
Q 7: Can lightheadedness be serious?
Ans. No lightheadedness can rarely be serious. However, if it disrupts the way of living, you must get it checked. Also, it might be a sign of something as serious as a heart attack. That’s why elders must take it seriously.
Q 8: Can tinnitus cause lightheadedness?
Ans. If you ever feel like something’s ringing in your ears or perceive some noise, which actually doesn’t exist for other people, your condition may be that of tinnitus. It signifies a problem with the inner ear that keeps in check your balance system. Problems with that are sure to make your feel lightheaded as it messes with your brain a little. Elders must be cautious as tinnitus can be a sign of age-related hearing loss.
Q 9: Can anxiety cause lightheadedness?
Ans.Yes, anxiety can cause lightheadedness. Research says that people who experience the condition are seen to have at least one or more anxiety disorders.
Q 10: Can eye strain cause lightheadedness?
Ans.Yes, because it can mess up with the brain's signals.
Q 11: Can heartburn cause lightheadedness?
Ans. Yes. That's because heartburn can lead to vomiting, which can cause a loss of fluids. Lack of fluids i.e., dehydration is as you know a primary cause of lightheadedness.
Q 12: Can esophageal spasms cause lightheadedness?
Ans. Yes. The spasms can cause chest pain and difficulty breathing, which can lead to lightheadedness. However, it is not very common.
Q 13: Can clogged sinuses cause lightheadedness?
Ans.Yes. A clogged sinus implies your inner ear gets a lot of pressure to bear than usual. This pressure can irritate it and cause balance problems. Thus, causing lightheadedness.
Q 14: Can diarrhoea cause lightheadedness?
Ans. Yes, it can. That’s because diarrhoea can make you dehydrated.
Q 15: Can food poisoning cause lightheadedness?
Ans. Food poisoning can lead to frequent vomiting. The expelling out of contents from the body causes dehydration which leads to low blood pressure and less flow of oxygen and glucose to your brain.
Q 16: Can lack of sleep cause dizziness and lightheadedness?
Ans. Yes. Sleep deprivation can make you less alert throughout the day and dizzier.
Q 17: Can cataracts cause lightheadedness?
Ans. The medications used in the treatment of cataracts can cause lightheadedness.
Q 18: Can diabetes cause lightheadedness?
Ans. Yes. That's because Diabetics have a condition called polyuria in which they urinate more often. More urination means more loss of fluids from the body. Thus, leading to lightheadedness.
Q 19: Can hunger cause lightheadedness?
Ans. It can. Hunger can imply a lack of glucose in your body if you don't have enough glucose reaching your brain cells, they won't work efficiently and may cause loss of balance.
Q 20: Can iron supplements cause lightheadedness?
Ans. No. in fact, some experts say that iron can relieve you of lightheadedness. Talk to your doctor for more information on this.
Q 21: Can low blood sugar cause lightheadedness?
Ans. Yes. Low blood sugar is a sign of lack of glucose in the bloodstream. This means the brain doesn't get enough food to work which leads to lightheadedness.
Q 22: Can migraines cause lightheadedness?
Ans. Yes. Migraines can affect your brain's ability to keep the body in balance.
Q 23: Is lightheadedness a sign of anxiety?
Ans. Yes, it is.
Q 24: Is lightheadedness a sign of high blood pressure?
Ans. NNo. It’s a sign of low blood pressure.
Q 25: Is lightheadedness a sign of high blood pressure?
Ans. NNo. It’s a sign of low blood pressure.
Q 26: Is lightheadedness a sign of high blood pressure?
Ans. No. It’s a sign of low blood pressure.
Q 27: Is lightheadedness a sign of pregnancy?
Ans. While pregnant women may feel lightheaded, lightheadedness doesn't need to imply to the person being pregnant.
Lightheadedness is not a serious condition but can degrade the quality of your life. For the elderly, it may cause bouts of fainting. This is not good at all, because elders may have other diseases which may get worse because of fainting and lightheadedness.
For example, you don't want your diabetic elder to faint in the bathroom one day. Diabetics need to take their medicines on time and eat healthy food every 2 to 3 hours. If the elder is alone in the house and faints, it will be pretty problematic.
That’s why it is suggested to have a caregiver with your elder at all times, especially during the day if not night. The caregiver not only provides the elder with the physical support they need but also emotional support.
You can also download the Emoha app. The elder can take advantage of the numerous features we have on the app. These include the emergency button feature which allows the elder to notify us and the family members if they need any help suddenly,
Check out our plans here or call us at the toll-free number 1800-123-44-5555 to know more.