Feeling a little lightheaded, having the odd dizzy spell and feeling off-balance is something that can occur to any of us at any point in life. While dizziness is a symptom for many illnesses, it doesn’t usually mean there is a severe problem.
Most feelings of dizziness can be attributed to something relatively simple and will pass on their own fairly quickly. You can prevent most of the common causes of dizziness with a few small adjustments and by being aware of the problem. With a little self-care and attention, you can help the dizziness itself, too. Of course, you should always remain mindful of how your body feels. If you are experiencing something unusual or are worried, you should always seek medical advice.
Common Causes for Dizziness and How To Prevent Them
Dizziness can be a symptom of many things. Health issues, nutritional imbalances or simply because you are generally feeling under the weather can be a cause. So, with so many potential reasons for a dizzy spell, let’s find out more about the common causes and how to prevent or live with them.
A surprising cause of a dizzy spell can be as simple as not having drunk enough water. Water is necessary for our bodies to be able to function well, so make sure you are drinking enough. As well as feeling dizzy, you might notice you are urinating less than usual or that your urine is unusually dark. You might notice you are feeling thirsty, too. If the weather is hot or you are exercising, make sure you are drinking an adequate volume of water to prevent dizziness.
Infections and Illnesses
Dizziness can be a symptom of many other illnesses and diseases. It is especially common with ear infections as these can affect your balance. Your doctor can help you with any underlying illnesses. In general, you can help yourself by staying well hydrated, getting plenty of rest and being careful when moving around, so you don’t fall.
Stress and Anxiety
Both stress and anxiety can be an underlying cause of dizziness and to help, you need to work on the underlying causes. A great start is to practice some mindfulness or meditation, especially in times of high stress. This can reduce your anxiety levels enough to be able to cope with your stress without ending up feeling unwell.
An iron deficiency can result in dizziness. Other symptoms are fatigue, shortness of breath, pale skin or even heart palpitations. A blood test can confirm or rule out iron deficiency anaemia as a potential cause of these types of symptoms. You can help avoid anaemia by ensuring you are eating foods that provide you with your recommended iron intakes. Taking supplements can also help keep your iron levels balanced.
Low Blood Sugar
One of the first signs of low blood sugar can be dizziness or headaches. So, if you are feeling unsteady or dizzy reasonably often, it is worth getting this checked out. Your doctor can give you some tests to rule out any blood sugar issues. However, you can also suffer from dizziness if you haven’t eaten in a while or you have over-exercised. So, a healthy and balanced diet and ensuring you eat and snack at regular intervals could help to keep your blood sugar stable. This could help relieve your dizziness.
Vertigo is an unpleasant feeling of the world spinning around you and can affect your balance. For vertigo sufferers, this feeling is worse than just mild dizziness. An attack can occur either because of a particular movement or for no apparent reason at all.
If you have mild symptoms, you can usually manage them yourself by taking care of yourself when having an attack by doing the following.
- Sit or lie still until the attack subsides.
- When you are going about your daily life, take care when moving.
- Don’t change position from sitting or lying to standing too quickly.
- Move your head slowly and carefully when you do move.
Some people have much more severe vertigo with attacks lasting for hours, days or even weeks. If it is affecting your daily life to this extent, your doctor may have some solutions for you in addition to those mentioned here.
How to Treat Dizziness
Mild dizziness is usually something that will subside on its own. Often, a little patience and self-care are all that is required to make yourself more comfortable and to ensure your safety while feeling dizzy.
When you feel the onset of a spell of lightheadedness, try the following to see if it alleviates your symptoms.
- Lie down (but not 100% flat). This can help you feel a little better and will ensure you don’t cause yourself an injury while feeling dizzy. It can help to have the light dimmed or even dark. Lying flat can cause any spinning feelings to worsen, so make sure you have a couple of pillows to lift your head a little.
- Have a drink of water. Staying hydrated is vital, and dehydration may well be a factor that caused the dizziness to start with. Drinking water is best, and you should be careful of holding onto any hot liquids in case your balance is affected.
- Rest and relax. Have a nap or listen to some calming music for a little while. Relieving tiredness, anxiety, and stress can help a lot.
- Avoid caffeine, nicotine, alcohol or any other non-prescribed drugs. These can cause or make dizziness worse.
In addition to all the things that can help dizziness, there are a few definite ‘don'ts’ when it comes to dizziness.
- Don’t get up from a sitting or lying position too quickly. Sudden changes in position can make it worse.
- Do not bend over or pick anything up too suddenly. If you are feeling dizzy, your balance is likely to be affected, and you could quickly lose balance and fall.
- Avoid driving, too much walking, operating machinery or climbing ladders or stairs. All of these could cause you to fall and injure yourself.
In most circumstances, mild dizziness isn’t something to be concerned about and will pass. It is something that you can manage and treat by doing the following.
- Sit down and rest until the dizzy episode has passed.
- Make sure you move slowly and carefully.
- Be careful lifting, bending or operating any equipment.
- Don’t drive or operate any machinery until your dizziness has passed.
- Drink water and have a healthy snack.
- Avoid nicotine and alcohol.
In some cases, attacks of ongoing dizziness can be a sign of underlying medical issues. If your dizziness is continuing, or you are getting lots of bouts of dizziness, then your doctor can help you pinpoint any problems and provide further advice on how to manage and treat these.