Ever felt like your head was light as a feather – only to wake up later on not knowing what just happened? It could be fainting, which begins with you feeling lightheaded and then suddenly everything goes black. Of all fainting incidences, 10 percent are attributed to an underlying health condition, so it’s important to get checked to avoid the risk of future complications.
Fainting is often due to restricted blood supply to the brain for a short period of time. There are many reasons for this, from dehydration to heart issues.
Lightheadedness is often the first sign of the upcoming fainting. Take a look at some of the factors that make your head feel like it’s floating.
You’re dehydrated: Sweating too much or inadequate hydration can cause some fluttering sensations in your head. A quick fix is to lie down and drink some water.
You’re scared or surprised: If someone jumps out in front of you –to scare you or shout “surprise!” for example – it can send your nervous system into overdrive, leading to sudden lightheadedness.
You stood up too quickly: Ever got up and felt as if you had to sit back down? This phenomenon is known as orthostatic hypotension, which is a sudden drop in blood pressure due to standing up too quickly. No need to worry if it happens once in a while, but if the condition occurs frequently or doesn’t go away after standing for a few minutes, go see your doctor.
You have an abnormal heart beat: A heart arrhythmia, or irregular heartbeat, is when the heart is beating too quickly or too slowly. This can negatively impact the blood supply to the brain, resulting in fainting without warning.
You have a problem with your heart valve: Having a heart valve problem can restrict blood flow to the brain, causing lightheadedness and dizziness. This may be more noticeable when you exercise or do any physically demanding work.
You’re on meds: Your medications, such as painkillers or anti-anxiety pills, may be causing your lightheadedness. This is because these medications could be slowing down your heart rate or blood pressure. Lightheadedness brought on by medications may also indicate an allergy. In either case, you may wish to see your doctor with regards to this side effect.
You’re having a stroke: Lightheadedness and muscle weakness may signal a stroke in which case medical intervention is immediately required. Think of the acronym FAST: droopy face, ask the person to raise both arms, listen for slurred speech, and time to call 911.
You skipped a meal: You may have been so engulfed in a project that you simply forgot to eat, but your body will surely warn you that you skipped your lunch. When your blood sugar begins to drop, you may experience dizziness, lightheadedness, even a slight tremor, along with fatigue. Finding something to eat right away can help alleviate the symptoms.
You’re sick: Lightheadedness, loss of appetite, and overall bad feeling could be an indicator of the flu or other illness that your body is trying to fight off. Drink plenty of fluids and get some rest to get back to normal.
As you can see, there are many reasons why you may feel lightheaded. If it occurs once in a while, you don’t need to fret, but if it becomes a chronic occurrence, make an appointment with your doctor to have it checked out.