What Causes You To Get Dizzy When Standing Up – This often happens when you get up from your desk or bed. Suddenly you get up and face the feeling of boredom. In some cases, your vision becomes blurry or you have to hold on until the dizziness passes – which happens every few seconds.
Experts have a name for this short condition: primary orthostatic hypotension (OH). If you experience this from time to time – and research suggests that many people do – rest assured that, in most cases, it’s harmless.
What Causes You To Get Dizzy When Standing Up
“These symptoms occur because there is a temporary decrease in the amount of blood and therefore oxygen supplied to the brain,” said Dr MA Ikram, OH researcher and head of epidemiology at the Erasmus University Medical Center in Rotterdam, Holland.
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It can be helpful to think of your body and the blood flowing through it as a bottle full of water. When a water bottle is placed on its side, the liquid inside is distributed evenly. But turn the water bottle upside down and all the liquid will flow down. The same thing tries to happen every time you wake up. “Gravity pulls more blood to the legs and lower body, making the heart and blood vessels work harder to deliver enough to the brain,” explains Ikram.
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Dr. Phillip Low, professor of neurology at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, conducted research examining the causes and treatment of HO. “The heart is a pump, and if you stand up suddenly, the amount of blood going to the heart decreases,” he said. “This can cause a temporary drop in blood pressure and it takes a short time for the repair mechanisms to kick in and repair.”
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Anything that lowers your blood pressure can make you more likely to develop OH, says Dr. Rebecca Gottesman, professor of neuroscience at Johns Hopkins University. He points out that young women and people in good physical condition—such as those who train and compete in endurance events—tend to have lower blood pressure levels and therefore may be more vulnerable to OH symptoms.
Dehydration can increase your risks. “If you’re dehydrated, your blood volume may be low, and therefore your blood pressure may be low,” explains Gottesman. If you sweat a lot during exercise and don’t eat enough salt—which helps your body retain water and keep the right volume in your blood vessels—this is the perfect recipe for post-exercise dizziness. Certain medications, as well as pregnancy, are also associated with HO, Gottesman said.
The good news: if your rash or spots disappear in a matter of seconds – and especially if you’re under 30 – you probably have nothing to worry about. Both Low and Ikram say that HO is often a critical situation. Studies also show that, although common among teenagers and adults, the incidence of HO tends to disappear with age.
A recent study of middle-aged adults — ages 44 to 66 — linked orthostatic hypotension to an increased risk of falls, fractures, and death from all causes.
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Low wrote a commentary on this study. He says it’s not clear why HO would lead to higher risks of death, but it could be as simple as dizziness causing more falls and fractures. Several studies have linked fractures – and the resulting loss of mobility – to higher mortality rates in the elderly.
Another study by Gottesman also linked middle-aged OH to higher risks of dementia and cognitive decline. But he says a big unanswered question is whether OH causes dementia, or if OH is just a symptom of another underlying condition — such as damaged blood vessels — that can lead to dementia and cognitive difficulties. “It’s possible that if the brain doesn’t get enough of what it needs” – oxygen – “it can contribute to dementia,” he explains. But now that is just an idea. Additional studies have linked OH during middle age with an increased risk of heart failure. But again, organizations are confused.
If you are over 40 and feel dizzy after standing up, there is no need to rush to the doctor. But you should bring it up at your next meeting, says Gottesman. Your doctor may perform regular blood pressure tests to make sure you are in good health.
Regardless of your age, if dizziness lasts longer than a few seconds and is accompanied or followed by altered thinking, headache, palpitations, sweating or weakness, you should make an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible. Your HO may be caused by a serious medical condition, including a neurological disorder or some type of blood flow problem, says Low.
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If the dizziness lasts for a while and you don’t notice any other symptoms, standing up slowly and drinking a little water can help. But there’s probably nothing to worry about. A white circle with a black border around an upward chevron. It says ‘click here to return to the top of the page’.
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Here’s Why You Feel Dizzy When You Stand Up
This article was reviewed by William Buxton, MD, a neurologist and director of Neuromuscular and Neurodiagnostic Medicine and Falls Prevention at the Pacific Neuroscience Institute at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, California.
Our stories are reviewed by medical experts to ensure you get the most accurate and useful information about your health and wellness. For more information, visit our medical review board.
If you feel dizzy after waking up, don’t force it. Take a moment to sit or lean against a wall for support until you feel ready to walk. Pormuratdeniz/Getty Images
Have you ever stood up quickly and suddenly felt so dizzy that you had to grab a wall or sit down right away?
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In fact, it is very common to feel dizzy when you stand up. This feeling is usually caused by orthostatic or postural hypotension, a type of low blood pressure associated with a change in posture.
But dizziness that lasts longer than a few seconds may be a sign of something more serious, says Dr. Harikiran Chekuri, chief medical officer at ClinicalSpots Holistic Healthcare.
Dizziness when standing up can affect anyone, but is more common in people over the age of 65, as blood vessels weaken with age.
Weakened blood vessels mean brain cells don’t get enough oxygen, which can cause dizziness and fainting, says Nancy Mitchell, a registered nurse and contributing writer for AssistedLivingCenter.com.
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Read on for seven reasons why you might feel dizzy while standing, and the top signs that it’s time to contact a health professional.
Your heart needs more effort to pump blood through your body when you stand up compared to when you are lying down.
In fact, blood pressure naturally changes based on your environment to maintain homeostasis, a state of balance that allows many of your body’s systems to function properly.
When your body is used to working in a certain environment, changing the environment can shock your system, so to speak, starve your brain.
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Because of gravity, blood slowly fills your lower body when you stand up, and it can take seconds, even a minute, for your body to adjust. Until blood continues to circulate throughout the body, blood pressure can fluctuate, causing dizziness.
Note: If you’ve recently spent any time on bed rest, you may feel light-headed when you wake up, as your body adjusts to waking up and moving around more.
What to do next: If you often experience vertigo and dizziness when standing up, these tips may help:
Important: It is best to take extra care after bed rest due to injury, illness or pregnancy. Move slowly and rest as needed between movements when transitioning to sitting or standing.
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If you don’t drink enough water, especially when it’s hot outside, you can overheat and become dehydrated. When the ambient temperature rises, the blood pressure naturally decreases, which leads to
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