Lightheadedness is not the same as dizziness. Dizziness is a sensation of spinning around and feeling weak and unbalanced. During lightheadedness, people feel that they might faint. There exist a sensation of nausea, unsteadiness, blurred vision, body heaviness, and sweating. The person may feel as if the head is weightless. It can last briefly, for long, or rarely recurring.

Feeling light-headed is not something to worry about and it disappears on their own or could be treated easily. The sensation of light-headedness goes away or decreases when you lie down. If you frequently feel lightheaded, while there’s nothing serious about it, it can still affect your daily routine life. It’s better to consult your physician to clear your doubts.

Light-headed symptoms

Lightheadedness symptoms include -

  • Feeling of faintness
  • Dizziness and giddiness
  • Nausea
  • Weakness
  • Confusion
  • Trouble hearing
  • Unbalanced body
  • Blurred vision
  • Body heaviness
  • Sweating
  • Heart palpitations
  • Slurring of speech
  • The sensation of heavy head

Symptoms associated with heart problems include -

If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms and they are interfering in your daily life activities, then don't wait.

Causes of lightheadedness

There could be many reasons for feeling lightheaded and dizzy. They are as follows -

  • Temporary insufficient supply of blood or oxygen to the brain due to a decrease in blood pressure.
  • Severe dehydration resulting from vomiting, diarrhea, fever, and other health problems.
  • Parkinson’s disease and multiple sclerosis
  • High altitude sickness
  • Common cold and flu
  • Allergies
  • Ill-health
  • Anemia
  • Low blood pressure
  • (Hypoglycemia) low blood sugar
  • Hyperventilation (deep or rapid breathing)
  • Stress or panic attacks
  • Postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome
  • Heart attack
  • Arrhythmia (abnormal heart rhythm)
  • Stroke
  • Pulmonary hypertension
  • Pulmonary embolism
  • Shock (circulatory)
  • Internal bleeding
  • Severe blood loss
  • Drugs side-effects
  • Nicotine or tobacco products for inexperienced users
  • Usage of drugs
  • Inner ear problems

Lightheadedness treatment

Lightheadedness treatment is determined by the cause or the underlying problem. The problem of light-headed can be solved by the below-given options -

  • Drinking lots of water or other fluids. Avoid intake of water in case of water intoxication.
  • Drink fluids containing electrolytes
  • If drinking is not possible due to feeling of nausea or vomiting, then intravenous fluids such as Ringer's Lactate is recommended.
  • Try to eat or drink something sugary and lie down or rest for some time.
  • Avoiding sudden changes in posture when sitting or lying
  • Avoiding bright lights

For more severe cases of lightheadedness, or if the feeling of light-headed stays for a long time; then the following treatment may be needed -

  • Medications for anxiety, nausea, or migraine
  • Water pills
  • A low-salt diet
  • Balance therapy such as vestibular rehabilitation (exercises to keep your body’s balance system proper and less sensitive to sudden motion).
  • Psychotherapy to minimize anxiety disorder
  • Labyrinthectomy

At times, inner ear problems can also lead to balance problems. Antibiotic injections are suggested for the problematic inner ear.

How to prevent lightheadedness?

  • Standing up slowly and avoiding sudden posture changes.
  • Consume plenty of water if you are ill or when you engage in heavy workouts.
  • Avoid bright lights and wear sunglasses
  • Avoid substances like alcohol or tobacco, antihistamines, sedatives, and antinausea medications responsible for lightheadedness
  • Eat nutritious food to boost immunity
  • Get proper sleep
  • Practice de-stressing techniques such as deep breathing, yoga, and meditation.
  • Keep away from certain lifestyle habits that may trigger light-headed problems within you.

When to visit a Doctor?

Lightheadedness including heart problem symptoms should be treated on time. These symptoms include:

  • Nausea
  • Facial drooping on one side
  • Pressure or pain in the chest
  • Breathlessness
  • Sweating
  • Vomiting

If you are experiencing the above-given symptoms then don't travel to the hospital alone. Instead, call an ambulance for your safety.

If your lightheaded and dizzy sensation stays for more than a week or has resulted in an injury, vomiting, nausea then consult your doctor. Also, seek medical help if your light-headed symptoms get worse over time.


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Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can anxiety lead to lightheadedness?

Lightheadedness and anxiety are very much related to each other. Lightheadedness is a common anxiety symptom, especially during panic attacks.

2. Can wearing of wrong glasses induce lightheadedness?

Yes, wrong prescription glasses disrupt the right signals from the brain to reach the eyes. The conflicting signals cause blurred vision and lightheadedness.

3. Can stress-related factors cause lightheadedness?

Yes. Stress does cause light-headed feelings. Stress results in hormonal changes which in turn affect the respiratory and cardiovascular system leading to lightheadedness.

4. Can neck disorders cause lightheadedness?

Neck alignment problems cause cervical vertigo. This affects our sense of balance and lightheadedness.

5. Can Vitamin B12 deficiency trigger lightheadedness?

Vitamin B12 deficiency can result in light-headedness because low levels of B12 restrict the blood flow (or oxygen) to the brain making a person unsteady and faint.

6. Can lightheadedness be serious?

Feeling light-headed is not something to worry about and disappear on their own or could be treated easily. If lightheaded and dizzy sensation stays for more than a week or has resulted in an injury, vomiting, nausea then consult your doctor.

7. Can heartburn induce lightheadedness?

Yes. Heartburn causes vomiting, as a result, there will be a loss of fluids. Lack of fluids i.e., dehydration a primary cause of lightheadedness and nausea.

8. Can diabetes give rise to lightheadedness?

Yes. That’s because diabetic people suffer from polyuria in which they frequently urinate. Frequent urination means more loss of fluids from the body and thus bringing about lightheaded and dizzy sensations.

9. Can a pregnant lady feel light-headed?

It’s possible for a pregnant lady to feel light-headed symptoms, but it’s not a specific symptom of pregnancy.