What are the Most Common Causes of Dizziness and Lightheadedness?

Jessica Ellis
Jessica Ellis
Jessica Ellis
Jessica Ellis
Riding a roller coaster can cause dizziness.
Riding a roller coaster can cause dizziness.

Dizziness and lightheadedness are common medical symptoms that may be caused by a variety of factors. Often, these symptoms are brief and harmless, but dizzy spells that persist, worsen, or result in loss of consciousness may be symptoms of a more serious underlying condition. The most common causes of dizziness and lightheadedness include blood pressure shifts, side effects of medication, pregnancy, and certain diseases.

Resting may help relieve feelings of dizziness.
Resting may help relieve feelings of dizziness.

Frequently, temporary blood pressure shifts can lower blood supply to the brain, resulting in dizziness and lightheadedness. These may be caused by improper nutrition, common illnesses, dehydration, and blood loss. Some people may have chronic low blood pressure due to an existing illness or other factor, and may experience frequent dizzy spells as a result. Proper nutrition and hydration can help prevent dizzy or lightheaded episodes that come from acute low blood pressure.

Certain neurological conditions may cause dizziness and lightheadedness.
Certain neurological conditions may cause dizziness and lightheadedness.

Many prescription medications are known to cause these symptoms as well, particularly those that alter blood pressure or heart function. Beta blockers, erectile dysfunction medications, and nitroglycerides are among the most common forms of medication that may cause dizziness. Diuretics may also cause dizzy spells, as they increase dehydration. Usually, dizziness or lightheadedness associated with medication is not considered to be a serious or dangerous side effect, but many medical experts recommend consulting with a doctor about any side effect concerns.

People with a cold may experience dizziness.
People with a cold may experience dizziness.

Diabetes and endocrine-related illnesses are common causes of dizziness and lightheadedness. Hypothyroidism, which is caused by a low-producing thyroid gland, is very commonly linked with spells of dizziness or a feeling of floating and loss of balance. The appearance of frequent dizzy spells may be a possible indication of many diseases. If dizzy spells worsen or crop up regularly, a doctor should perform diagnostic tests to determine if a serious condition is behind the symptoms.

Dizziness might be caused by drinking too much alcohol.
Dizziness might be caused by drinking too much alcohol.

Neurological conditions and diminished sensory capacities may lead to instances of dizziness. Spinal cord abnormalities and hydrocephalus are both commonly associated with loss of balance and feelings of dizziness. Diminished sight and depth perception may also cause a general unsteadiness that may result in feeling lightheaded.

Several other common causes of dizziness and lightheadedness are related to temporary conditions. Dizzy spells, along with nausea, may be one of the earliest signs of pregnancy. Alcohol consumption is known to create loss of balance and dizziness, which may last until the alcohol is properly absorbed by the body. Additionally, inner ear infections are capable of throwing off balance perception, giving a sensation of unsteadiness or dizziness.

Jessica Ellis
Jessica Ellis

With a B.A. in theater from UCLA and a graduate degree in screenwriting from the American Film Institute, Jessica is passionate about drama and film. She has many other interests, and enjoys learning and writing about a wide range of topics in her role as a writer.

Jessica Ellis
Jessica Ellis

With a B.A. in theater from UCLA and a graduate degree in screenwriting from the American Film Institute, Jessica is passionate about drama and film. She has many other interests, and enjoys learning and writing about a wide range of topics in her role as a writer.

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Discussion Comments

aviva

@babylove - First of all spending long periods of time out in the sun is very dangerous as it could cause skin cancer. Be sure to wear plenty of high SPF sunscreen before you go out.

Too much exposure to the sun can cause symptoms of dizziness and lightheadedness. It is imperative that you stay well hydrated both before and during your time outdoors.

The sun can also zap the energy right out of you so make sure that you are also well nourished with plenty of fruits and vegetables.

The next time you feel like you are going to pass out get out of the sun immediately and find a nice cool shady place to rehydrate yourself.

babylove

After I've been out in the sun for long periods of time I feel the dizziness and nausea come over me to the point where I think I'm going to pass out.

I'm only sixteen and I love being outdoors in the Summer and being in the sun is all part of it. What's causing this dizziness and lightheadedness? What can I do about it?

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    • Riding a roller coaster can cause dizziness.
      Riding a roller coaster can cause dizziness.
    • Resting may help relieve feelings of dizziness.
      By: lightwavemedia
      Resting may help relieve feelings of dizziness.
    • Certain neurological conditions may cause dizziness and lightheadedness.
      By: Doreen Salcher
      Certain neurological conditions may cause dizziness and lightheadedness.
    • People with a cold may experience dizziness.
      By: jinga80
      People with a cold may experience dizziness.
    • Dizziness might be caused by drinking too much alcohol.
      By: William Casey
      Dizziness might be caused by drinking too much alcohol.
    • Dehydration can cause dizziness and lightheadedness.
      By: Maridav
      Dehydration can cause dizziness and lightheadedness.
    • A low-producing thyroid gland has been linked with spells of dizziness and a loss of balance.
      By: nerthuz
      A low-producing thyroid gland has been linked with spells of dizziness and a loss of balance.
    • An individual who experiences dizziness with sunburn should see a medical professional immediately.
      By: Amy Walters
      An individual who experiences dizziness with sunburn should see a medical professional immediately.
    • Fluctuations in blood pressure can contribute to a dizzy or lightheaded sensation.
      By: dambuster
      Fluctuations in blood pressure can contribute to a dizzy or lightheaded sensation.
    • Donating blood may cause a person to feel lightheaded temporarily.
      By: Gina Sanders
      Donating blood may cause a person to feel lightheaded temporarily.