Feeling Sick and Dizzy

If you feel sick and dizzy, it can happen due to a number of things. It is never easy to identify the exact cause of dizziness, but if you're feeling sick and dizzy, you should do a few things to avoid getting hurt and improve your condition. You can always hurt yourself if you feel lightheaded and lose your balance. It is always a good idea to go see your doctor to discover you're experiencing this. Keep reading to learn more about the causes and some tips to help overcome your dizziness.

Why Do I Feel Sick and Dizzy?

There can be a number of reasons behind the symptom of feeling sick and dizzy. For instance:

1. Inner Ear Problems

The combined input from your eyes, inner ear, and sensory nerves determine your sense of balance. Your eyes tell you where your body is in space and your sensory nerves signal your brain about your body movements. Your inner ear has sensors that help detect back-and-forth motion and gravity. Any inner ear disorder many signal your brain that your surroundings are spinning. This is called vertigo and it makes you feel dizzy. The following issues may also lead to dizziness and a feeling of being sick:

  • Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo: The condition causes a false sense of movement. Though the sense prevails for a very short time, it is often quite intense. A rapid change in head movement usually leads to this condition. A blow to the head may also cause this type of vertigo.
  • Infection: Vestibular neuritis, which is the outcome of an infection of the vestibular nerve caused by a virus, can cause constant vertigo.
  • Meniere's Disease: The excessive buildup of fluid in your inner ear is the result of this disease and it often leads to sudden episodes of vertigo that may last for several hours. You may also experience ringing in the ear, fluctuating hearing loss, and the feeling of a plugged ear.
  • Migraine: If you have migraines, you are more likely to experience episodes of vertigo. You may feel dizzy even when you don't have a severe headache. The dizziness may last for hours.

2. Circulation Problems

The symptom of feeling sick and dizzy may also be due to some underlying circulation problems. For instance:

  • Drop in Blood Pressure: Your systolic blood pressure refers to the higher number in your blood pressure reading. If it drops suddenly, this will result in a feeling of faintness or lightheadedness. It may happen when you stand up too quickly. It's also known as orthostatic hypotension.
  • Poor Blood Circulation: You may experience dizziness due to conditions like heart attack, cardiomyopathy, transient ischemic attack, or heart arrhythmia. A decrease in blood flow to your brain may also result in dizziness.

3. Other Causes of Dizziness

  • Multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease and some other neurological conditions can lead to progressive loss of balance.
  • You may experience dizziness due to the use of certain medications such as antidepressants, anti-seizure drugs, tranquilizers, and sedatives. Blood pressure lowering medications can sometimes cause dizziness.
  • Panic attacks and a fear of being in open spaces may cause lightheadedness.
  • Anemia or low levels of iron in blood may produce several symptoms, including weakness, fatigue, pale skin, and lightheadedness.
  • Hypoglycemia or low blood sugar can cause dizziness in people who have diabetes and use insulin. Sweating and anxiety are other common symptoms of hypoglycemia.
  • Dehydration or overheating can be the underlying cause of your dizziness. Not drinking enough fluids and taking heart medications make you more susceptible to symptoms such as feeling sick and dizzy. 

4. Pregnancy

You may feel a bit dizzy when you're pregnant.  Your cardiovascular system experiences several changes during pregnancy. Your heart rate will increase to pump enough blood throughout your body. At the same time, your blood vessels may dilate to keep your blood pressure in check. Sometimes, your blood pressure drops due to dilation and this makes you feel dizzy. This usually happens in mid-pregnancy, but your blood pressure will start moving up again at the end of your pregnancy. The cardiovascular and nervous systems work together to handle these changes, but sometimes, the change is so sudden that they cannot adjust to the change and this result in you feeling lightheaded for some time.

When to See Your Doctor

It is not uncommon for people to feel dizzy for no apparent reason. If you're feeling sick and dizzy, it doesn't always mean you have a disease or there is something wrong. However, you need to consider other symptoms as well to know if you need medical assistance. For instance, you should go see your doctor if you feel dizzy and experience issues like vomiting, double vision, or trouble using your legs and arms. It is also a good idea to consult with your doctor if you experience any sensation of spinning with prolonged feeling of being off-balance. Seek immediate medical attention if your dizziness is accompanied by a change in heart rate, chest pain, or a severe headache.

What Should I Do If I Feel Sick and Dizzy?

Here are a few tips to help you understand how to handle the symptom of feeling sick and dizzy.

1. Sit Down Immediately

Sit down if you're standing, and lie down if you're sitting. Avoid moving around when you're feeling dizzy. Put your head between your legs to increase blood flow to your brain. Don't move for a couple of minutes or until you don't feel dizzy.

2. Drink Some Water

Dehydration is one of major cause of dizziness. Drink some water when you're feeling dizzy. If you find it difficult to drink plenty of water, you can consider drinking other fluids such as hot tea with some sugar, energy drinks, diluted fruit juices, and soups and broths.

3. Eat Something

If you're diabetic, your dizziness may be the outcome of low blood sugar levels. A quick snack will do the trick. Try eating something that's high in sugar or carbohydrates.

4. Take Deep Breaths

An anxiety attack may be the underlying cause of your lightheadedness. Taking deep breaths may make you feel better.

5. Avoid Bright Lights

Don't go in bright lights and, if possible, avoid light from a laptop or TV while you're feeling dizzy. Bright light can make you feel disoriented. Spending some time in a dark room may help.

6. Home Remedies

You can try some home remedies to overcome the feeling of being sick and dizzy.

  • Try ginger: Ginger improves blood flow to your brain and helps stop dizziness. You can take ginger supplements, drink ginger tea, or simple chew on a small slice of ginger root for relief.
  • Try cider vinegar with honey:  Celery juice can help reduce the feeling of dizziness if caused by low blood pressure. You can make celery juice at home or buy at a health food store.
  • Take an iron supplement: If iron-deficient anemia is the underlying cause of your dizziness, taking an iron supplement is your best bet. You will notice other signs of iron deficiency such as shortness of breath, tiredness, and headaches.
  • Take feverfew: You can take feverfew supplements in tablet, capsule or liquid extract form to treat dizziness caused due to migraines and inflammation in your inner ear.
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