Northamptonshire | Switch Location

Dizziness

Dizziness can take many forms (e.g. light headedness, spinning, etc.) but it is never normal regardless of age.

It can occur for many reasons, e.g:

A drop in blood pressure when changing position (e.g. standing up from a chair) 

  • If you feel dizzy when you first stand up, change position slowly and exercise your arms & legs before rising
  • Sit back down again if you feel dizzy and wait until it passes 
  • Stand still or walk on the spot when you first get up to give your blood pressure time to stabilise
  • Don't rush
  • Keep active- little and often is best

If your dizziness does not resolve, contact your GP. You may be asked to monitor your sitting and standing blood pressure, to see if a drop in your blood pressure is contributing to your falls risk.

How to monitor your postural blood pressure:

  • Sit down for at least 5 minutes then take your blood pressure. Record this reading.
  • Stand up and immediately take your blood pressure again. Hold on to furniture or a walking aid if you do normally. Record this reading and note any symptoms such as dizziness.
  • You may be asked to take readings for 3 days. Take them all at a similar time in the day.

Medications

Dizziness is sometimes a side effect of various medications. If you think this is the cause discuss your symptoms with a community pharmacist if you are taking medication, particularly related to blood pressure. 

Dehydration

  • Make sure you drink plenty of fluids during the day (6-8 cups per day)
  • Drink regularly throughout the day
  • Reduce caffeine and alcohol intake
  • Also make sure you eat regularly throughout the day, do not miss breakfast.

Inner ear disorders / vertigo

Vertigo is a condition affecting the inner, deeper part of the ear. This can cause a spinning sensation, like the world is moving or spinning. It can also be associated with nausea, vomiting and visual or hearing disturbances. It is often triggered by a change of position, such as reaching up over head or rolling in bed. Vertigo can also affect your ability to balance and increases your risk of falls. It can be managed by medications or with specialist manoeuvres or exercises that are prescribed by your GP and other health professionals.

Medical conditions (e.g. diabetes, COPD)

  • Consider whether your condition is well managed, or if dizziness may be a side effect of this, and discuss with a health professional if you need further advice. 

Anxiety

  • Anxiety can give a sensation of light headedness. Try some relaxation techniques such as mindfulness or deep breathing . Contact your local mental health teams, such as changing minds IAPT (tel: 0300 999 1616/ www.nhft.nhs.uk/iapt ) , about managing your anxiety or discuss with your GP if your symptoms are severe.