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Some people feel dizziness more often than others, but it can happen to anyone — and it may be worth checking with your doctor.

If you’ve ever had that feeling of dizziness when standing up too fast, you may wonder what’s going on. 


Depending on the cause, it may not be a long-term problem. But if you feel faint or actually lose consciousness, talk to your doctor as soon as possible.

“The feeling that you’re about to faint is called ‘presyncope,’” says Lia F. Crispell, certified registered nurse practitioner at ConvenientCare in Wilkes-Barre. “It happens when the brain doesn’t get enough blood, oxygen or glucose to function properly, even momentarily.”


The common causes of lightheadedness


People who experience presyncope usually dismiss it and move on with their day. “This isn’t a good idea since some of the causes can be serious. It’s always best to get a diagnosis from a doctor,” says Crispell. Especially because dizziness can be a symptom of an underlying medical condition.


Potential causes of presyncope include:


Orthostatic hypotension

Also called postural hypotension, this is the head rush you sometimes feel when you stand up. It can happen to anyone — and it tends to happen more often if you’re taking certain medications and as you age.


Heart arrhythmia

This condition (also known as an abnormal heart rate) is when your heart beats too fast, too slow or in a way that causes a sudden decrease in the blood supply to your brain. Any of these can make you feel faint.



Medicines prescribed for pain, heart conditions and high blood pressure can affect your circulatory system and — you guessed it — feeling dizzy. If it happens a lot, talk to your doctor about adjusting your dosage.



Not drinking enough fluids can cause nausea, weakness, dizziness, low blood pressure and fainting. The good news: Rehydrating will alleviate your symptoms quickly.



Anemia is a lack of healthy red blood cells or hemoglobin in your blood, which carry oxygen to your organs — including your brain. The hallmark of anemia is tiredness, but it can also cause you to feel faint and dizzy.


Autonomic neuropathy

This nerve disease disrupts electrical signals between your brain and heart, blood vessels and sweat glands. Feelings of faintness come from its effect on your heart rate and blood pressure.


Stress and panic attacks

Ever had an anxiety attack? You probably breathed more rapidly and deeply, both of which can lead to lightheadedness and dizziness.


What to do if you feel faint


When you get that lightheaded feeling, lie down or sit down and place your head between your knees. 

“The most important thing to do if you feel faint is to get to a safe place,” says Crispell. “By doing so, if you do lose consciousness, you’ll avoid injury from falling or bumping your head.”

After the fainting spell passes, contact your healthcare provider as soon as possible for a checkup. A trained medical professional can pinpoint the exact cause of your presyncope.



Next steps:


Meet Lia Crispell, CRNP

Urgent care, primary care and emergency care: What's the difference?

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