Why do I feel dizzy when I stand up?

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Many people experience dizziness or light-headedness when they stand up after sitting or lying down for a while. There are different causes behind this phenomenon and is most often nothing to worry about.

Why do I feel dizzy when I get up?

Generally speaking, causes of dizziness can be divided into 6 categories:

  1. Low blood pressure. When sitting or lying down for a while, blood accumulates away from the head in other parts of the body, such as the legs. In such cases, the body just needs a little time to regulate blood flow. This type of dizziness is nothing but a mild and temporary inconvenience.
  2. Cervical vertigo. The neck plays a key role in balance and coordination, so if the cervical spine is inflamed or injured it may produce a feeling of dizziness or imbalance.
  3. Ear pathologies. Several ear disorders such as Meniere’s disease, benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV), or vestibular neuritis can cause dizziness.
  4. Pregnancy. Pregnant women suffer hormonal alterations that can cause a drop in blood pressure and dizziness.
  5. Low heart rate. In a similar way to low blood pressure, a low heart rate, common amongst fit and young people, is another cause of dizziness when standing up.
  6. Other. Other causes include high blood pressure, diabetes, anxiety, dehydration or certain medications.

When is dizziness serious?

As mentioned above, experiencing dizziness when standing up is usually nothing serious, just a short-lived inconvenience. However, they can sometimes be symptomatic of a serious pathology such as diabetes or Parkinson’s. If such spells occur frequently or take longer than 3 minutes to disappear, it is best to go to see a doctor.

In addition, dizziness becomes alarming and may require urgent medical care when accompanied by the following symptoms:

  • Very dark (almost black) coloration of the stool
  • Loss of balance or difficulty walking normally
  • Fainting or passing out
  • Chest pain

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