If you’ve ever stood up and felt the room spin, or turned your head and needed to sit down, you know how frightening a sudden bout of dizziness is. It can leave you in a cold sweat feeling shaky, sick and scared
The questions kick in immediately:
- What’s happening to me?
- Am I going to fall down? Pass out?
- Is something wrong? How serious is it?
Experts estimate that over 40 percent of Americans experience dizziness at some point in their lives. And if you’re 65 or older, your chances of feeling dizzy from time to time shoot up to 70 percent.
Dizzy? 6 reasons the room may be spinning
It’s natural to worry that your heart is behind unexplained dizziness. But the good news is feeling lightheaded isn’t always connected to your heart. In fact, there’s often a simple, and easily treatable, explanation behind those episodes.
You should always let your doctor know if you’re feeling lightheaded or faint, of course. But following are six common triggers for dizziness that aren’t caused by a hidden heart problem.
1. You’re dehydrated or overheated:
When you become overheated, your built-in cooling system can become less efficient as well. This can lead to sudden changes in your blood pressure that end up making you feel faint. And if you’re a senior, you’re even more likely to overheat.
Dehydration is a risk too. Because while most folks know to be on the lookout for extreme sweating or thirst, the truth is, the symptoms of dehydration aren’t always that obvious. Something as simple as standing for too long in a warm room can trigger overheating or dehydration.
Be sure to keep drinking throughout the day, especially in the warm weather months. And keep your home and work environments comfortable with air conditioning or fans if possible.
If you ever start to feel overheated or faint, find a cool spot to sit down, and a glass of water to sip on. The combo could be all you need to feel better.
2. A reaction to a new medication:
Drugs, whether they’re prescription or over-the-counter, are a common cause of lightheadedness. Some can affect your brain, while others can interfere with your blood pressure or heart rate.
If you’ve recently started on a new medication and start to feel dizzy, it very well could be a side effect. Speak to your doctor or pharmacist if you suspect your dizziness could be connected to a drug you’re taking.
3. An inner ear infection:
Vertigo or dizziness is often the first sign of an inner ear infection. While ear infections are less common in adults, they do still happen.
If an ear infection is behind your feeling lightheaded, other symptoms such as ear congestion and pain will probably develop in a day or two. If you suspect an ear infection, get in touch with your doctor to find out the best way to treat it.
4. Your blood sugar is low:
Low blood sugar is one of the most common reasons for people to feel the room spin. If you skipped a meal, your blood sugar may be bottoming out. And surprisingly, for some folks filling up on sugary snacks can lead to a blood sugar crash later in the day.
To keep your blood sugar steady as she goes munch on a snack that includes both protein and healthy carbs, such as apple slices with cheese. If your glucose has dipped too low, it will help bring it back up and keep it stable until your next meal.
5. You have labyrinthitis:
If you just can’t keep your balance and you’re feeling dizzy no matter what you do labyrinthitis could be to blame. Labyrinthitis is a condition caused by an inflamed nerve in your inner ear.
The good news is with treatment your symptoms will likely resolve within a week or so, and you should be fully recovered in a few months. Your doctor can diagnose you and put you on the road to recovery.
6. Vitamin B12 deficiency:
Vitamin B12 deficiency alone can lead to lightheadedness. But running low on B12 can also cause low blood pressure and circulation problems, which can trigger dizziness too.
In other words, if you’re deficient in this essential vitamin, you’re probably feeling a bit woozy. And as we age, our bodies become a bit less efficient at absorbing the vitamin from our food which means seniors have an even greater risk of running low.
A simple blood test can confirm if a B12 deficiency is behind your dizziness. You can raise your B12 levels by eating more fatty fish such as trout and salmon, red meat, poultry, dairy foods and eggs. If your doctor determines you’re deficient, he may recommend a daily supplements or monthly shot as well.
Feeling off balance and like your world is spinning is only fun when you’re in love. If you’ve been dealing with dizziness before you assume it’s a heart problem talk to your doctor about other less sinister explanations. There could be a far less serious cause for your symptoms. And the solution may be closer than you think.