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Lightheadedness and Nausea

Anything you do seems to bring on the symptoms. You stand up too quickly and feel dizzy. Then the waves of nausea set in. You wonder what is causing all of this and you just want to feel some relief. There are a few different conditions that can cause these two symptoms together. Some are minor and simple to fix, while others can be a sign of something more serious and you may want to get checked by your doctor. This article will help you understand more about the two symptoms and what to do when you feel them.

Why Am I Experiencing Lightheadedness and Nausea?

It can be caused by something as simple as an ear infection, or it could be something more serious. Let’s take a look at some of the causes:

1. Anemia

Anemia is a condition where there is not enough iron and red blood cells in the body to carry critically necessary oxygen and nutrients where they are needed.

Symptoms: Anemia symptoms include: feeling dizzy, fatigue, nausea, headache, pale skin, and feeling cold.

What to Do: If you suspect you may be anemic, see your doctor. You may need tests to look for a low red blood cell count including:

  • Complete blood count (CBC)
  • Iron and ferritin levels

Make sure you are eating plenty of iron rich foods such as blackstrap molasses, lean red meats, spinach, and iron fortified cereal and bread.

2. Pregnancy

Two of the most common symptoms of pregnancy are nausea and feeling lightheaded. Nausea is caused by hormonal changes in the body and lightheadedness can be due to the rapid changes in blood and fluid volume to support you and your baby.

Symptoms: Symptoms of pregnancy include: nausea, missed period, tender and sore breasts, lightheadedness or feeling dizzy, bloated abdomen, feeling very tired, and others depending on how far along you are.

What to Do: If you do not have a diagnosed pregnancy, try a home pregnancy test and see your doctor to confirm. If you are diagnosed with pregnancy, try drinking extra fluids and nibble on crackers when you first wake up.

3. Lyme Disease

Lyme disease occurs when you are bitten by a tick infected with the Borrelia Burgdorferi bacteria. It happens in wooded areas, mostly where deer live. The tick burrows its head under your skin and infects your blood.

Symptoms: The symptoms of Lyme include: red bullseye rash (not always present), fever, lightheadedness and nausea, headache, rash, joint pain, mood swings, brain fog, and muscle pain.

What to Do: If you see the head of a tick under your skin, remove it immediately by backing the tick out with tweezers. Make sure you get the entire head as if you break the body offthe head will continue to transmit bacteria. Rash or no rash, you need to see a doctor.

4. High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure occurs when the walls of the blood vessels lose their elasticity and become stiffened. This means the heart has to work harder to pump blood to the organs.

Symptoms: High blood pressure can cause lightheadedness and nausea, especially if it rises suddenly too high. It can also cause headaches, fatigue, blurred vision, swelling, and fast heart rate.

What to Do: If you are nauseous and dizzy or lightheaded with no other explanation, check your blood pressure. If it is over 120/80 then you should have things checked by a doctor.

5. Middle Ear Infection

There are nerves in the middle ear canal that may react to inner ear pressure with nausea, lightheadedness, and a woozy feeling. This can either be caused by a bacterial infection, allergies, and viral infections.

Symptoms: Middle ear infections can cause lightheaded feeling, nausea, ear pain, headaches, fever, and a feeling of fullness in the ear.

What to Do: If you have symptoms of an ear infection, see your doctor. In the meantime, try a warm hot compress or some warm olive oil in the ear canal to help relieve the pain.

6. Drug Reaction or Allergy

An adverse reaction or allergic reaction to medications may cause you to become lightheaded or nauseous. This can also be caused by a drug interaction with something else you are taking or from taking a medication on an empty stomach.

Symptoms: Drug reactions can include the following symptoms: nausea, dizzy feeling or lightheadedness, rash, fainting, irregular heartbeat, muscle weakness, vomiting, or diarrhea.

What to Do: Always make sure your doctor knows your drug allergies and other medications you are taking. If you experience the above symptoms after adding a new medication, call your doctor right away.

7. Motion Sickness

Flying, boating, or riding in a car can cause lightheadedness and nausea if you are prone to motion sickness.

Symptoms: Nausea, lightheadedness, vomiting, headache, and breaking out in sweats.

What to Do: There are medicines you can take prior to riding in a car, plane, or boat. These include: antihistamines (Benadryl), anti-nausea patches, or a band you can wear. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for recommendations.

8. Stroke

A stoke occurs when the blood vessels to the brain are blocked. This causes sensitive brain tissue to die off and can be fatal if not treated quickly.

Symptoms: Sudden paralysis in the limbs, face, tongue. Loss of speech and slurred words. Lightheadedness, vomiting, nausea, or loss of bowel control.

What to Do: If you or someone you know has symptoms of a stroke, call 9-1-1 without delay. Immediate treatment may prevent severe complications or death.

9. Dehydration

Dehydration happens when your body is severely depleted of fluids that it needs to function. Thirst is actually one of the first signs and should never be ignored.

Symptoms: Feeling dizzy, lightheadedness and nausea, dry mouth, confusion, lack of sweat or tears, and even unresponsiveness.

What to Do: Someone who is responsive should sip on electrolyte replacement or even water if available. Anyone who is unresponsive, call 9-1-1 immediately.

10. Heart Attack

A heart attack occurs when the blood supply to the heart is cut off due to blockage in a blood vessel. This causes part of the heart muscle to die off and can be fatal if not immediately treated.

Symptoms: Chest pain, shortness of breath, and feeling lightheaded. Some can also feel nausea, back pain, and pain that radiates from the chest up into the jaw or neck area.

What to Do: Try to stop what you are doing and rest. If the pain or other symptoms do not go away, call 9-1-1 right away or have someone drive you to the nearest emergency room.

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