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Lightheadedness is the feeling that you may faint, but you do not. Your heartbeat may be fast or feel like it flutters. Lightheadedness may occur when you take certain medicines, such as medicine to lower your blood pressure. Dehydration, low sodium, low blood sugar, an abnormal heart rhythm, and anxiety are other common causes.


Return to the emergency department if:

  • You have sudden chest pain.
  • You have trouble breathing or shortness of breath.
  • You have vision changes, are sweating, and have nausea while you are sitting or lying down.
  • You feel flushed and your heart is fluttering.
  • You faint.

Contact your healthcare provider if:

  • You are lightheaded and feel faint when you stand up.
  • Your heart beats faster or slower than usual.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:

You may need more tests to help find the cause of your lightheadedness. The tests will help healthcare providers plan the best treatment for you. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.


Talk with your healthcare provider about these and other ways to manage your symptoms:

  • Lie down when you feel lightheaded, your throat gets tight, or your vision changes. Raise your legs above the level of your heart.
  • Stand up slowly. Sit on the side of the bed or couch for a few minutes before you stand up.
  • Take slow, deep breaths if you start to breathe faster because of anxiety or fear. This can help decrease the feeling that you might faint.
  • Ask if you need to avoid hot baths and saunas. These may make your symptoms worse.

Watch for signs of low blood sugar:

These include hunger, nervousness, sweating, and fast or fluttery heartbeats. Talk with your healthcare provider about ways to keep your blood sugar level steady.

Check your blood pressure often:

You should do this especially if you take medicine to lower your blood pressure. Check your blood pressure when you are lying down and when you are standing. Ask how often to check during the day. Keep a record of your blood pressure numbers. Your healthcare provider may use the record to help plan your treatment.

Keep a record of your lightheadedness episodes:

Include your symptoms and your activity before and after the episode. The record can help your healthcare provider find the cause of your lightheadedness and help you manage episodes.

© 2016 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.