Why the world spins
We can all experience dizziness once in a while. Maybe the world spins for a few brief seconds because you got up too quickly, or perhaps you had an intense workout and didn’t hydrate properly. There are also more serious or chronic causes for that unsteady feeling that can grip your mind. Here are a few of the more common conditions that can cause dizziness, and some possible solutions and treatments that can help make the world stop spinning.
Low blood pressure
Hypotension – otherwise known as abnormally low blood pressure – can make you feel lightheaded, particularly when going from lying down to sitting or standing. You can have abnormally low blood pressure for many reasons, such as pregnancy, infection, a severe allergic reaction, or medication. For example, if you have high blood pressure and are taking medication, you can end up with pressure that is too low if the dosage is incorrect.
And then there’s orthostatic hypotension: a common problem where blood pressure drops temporarily when you go from a horizontal to vertical position, triggering dizziness. “When you get up too quickly from a seated or lying position and your blood doesn’t travel as quickly up to your head, you can experience a ‘head rush’ feeling,” says Dr Sherry A. Ross. To avoid the head rush, take your time when changing body positions. Also, talk to your doctor about possible issues with your circulation, medication, or other health conditions.
Keeping your body hydrated makes it easier for your heart to pump blood through your blood vessels, helping your muscles work more efficiently. Not surprisingly, a lack of proper hydration can cause blood pressure to drop quickly which, in turn, can cause dizziness, according to Health direct Australia. “A blood pressure reading reflects the force or pressure exerted by circulating blood on the walls of the arteries and veins,” adds Dr Ross. “When you are dehydrated, there is less fluid and less volume in your body causing your blood pressure to drop since there is less force being exerted.”
The good news? You have to be truly dehydrated to experience this sort of dizziness. “Being a little dehydrated doesn’t cause dizziness unless blood pressure is on the low end to start with,” says neurologist Dr Dhasakumar Navaratnum.
How much water should you consume to avoid any level of dehydration? If you perspire heavily, you’ll need to drink more than someone who doesn’t. Certain medical conditions, such as diabetes or heart disease, may also require you to drink up. Same goes for medications that act as diuretics, causing the body to lose more fluid. The easiest way to know if you’re dehydrated: pay attention to the colour of your urine. If it’s pale, you’re well hydrated; if it’s dark, you need to drink more fluids.