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Light-headed/Dizzy when standing up?


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Hi all -

Has anyone experienced light-headedness or dizziness after standing up due to caloric restriction?  I'm eating 1250-1300 calories a day and have been pretty dizzy when standing up consistently for the past few days.  Are there any foods that I should eat to prevent this from happening?  Or maybe drinking more water?

I know 1250-1300 calories is pretty low, but I also lead a pretty sedentary life and my burn meter is 1790.

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I've been having issues with this for the last couple of weeks, but I don't think it's due to caloric restrictions, since I'm at around 2000 calories per day (close to my maintenance calories).  Not sure what's causing it, but I'll be seeing a doctor if it continues much longer.  I'm looking forward to hearing responses to your situation.

Seems to me this is possibly caused by low blood pressure.  I should get mine checked and see.

Clint

if i start to feel light headed i usually have some sugar (usually fruit form) or chicken broth helps

I experience this regularly -- it is called orthostatic hypotension and it is, indeed, a form of low blood pressure.  I haven't heard of it being caused by a caloric deficit, but perhaps that is one possible cause.  I think that dehydration, too little salt in your diet, or a reaction to a medication of some sort are more likely culprits. 

Edit: Digging around a bit more on ole' Google Scholar, it looks like there may be some kind of association between very low calorie diets and this particular condition.  Your intake doesn't really qualify, though, as VCLDs are diets with 400-800 kcal/day.  You might try eating a bit more and seeing if it doesn't improve, though.

For me, that's the weird thing.  I've noticed it when I've bumped up my intake from 1650 calories per day (averaged over a week) to 2000 calories per day.  Ah, well, I'm going to stop by and get my blood pressure tested sometime soon, though.  When I was a teenager, I remember this happening, and I actually fainted.  I remember coming to, with my Dad looking down on me as I lay on the kitchen floor.  But it hasn't been like this for a long time.

Clint

How's your caffeine intake? I have low pressure (always has been naturally) and experience none of these dizziness symptoms associated with it. But the last couple weeks when I was drinking coffee every other day, along with Crystal Light Energy packets in my water (added caffeine), I became faint and dizzy. I had some strong heart palpitations too. Almost passed out at work once. I've since then cut out the caffeine and I feel better for it.

That's a really interesting point, actually.  My caffeine intake is considerably high.  I generally have a large coffee in the morning, and the 2-3 diet sodas during the afternoon.  Grad school has enabled me to have a fairly high tolerance for caffeine, but maybe with the recent decrease in food it's causing my symptoms...

Try it. I advise cutting out ALL caffeine for a few days and see if the symptoms go away. It only took me 1 1/2 days of being "sober" before I noticed the symptoms were gone. I, too, thought it was from my intake, but by process of elimination... ta da! lol

I'll try...I get some serious headaches from caffeine withdrawal, so I might try this upcoming weekend for a "recovery" buffer :)  At least I'm not hitting the mega-sized red bulls I usually am during finals yet!

Caffeine increases blood pressure (which is why those with high blood pressure are often instructed to avoid caffeine by their doctors) and orthostatic hypotension is characterized by low blood pressure.  Indeed, caffeine is sometimes recommended to treat orthostatic hypotension, so I don't think that is an especially promising lead. 

Is it possible that you have actually been using less caffeine than usual?  That would make more sense as an explanation.

Maybe it's from cutting carbs and sugar from your diet? I know when I was eating under 100 grams of carbs a day I would get pretty light headed/dizzy, with headaches and low energy, especially during a busy day rushing around on my feet.

After this happening on and off for several months, I read up some more on low/restrictive carb diets and found that they lower your blood pressure and insulin levels which can cause you to experience light-headness, confusion, headaches, insomnia, nausea etc. Most sites say that this is true of the initial stages of low carb diets, but I had these symptoms on and off for a few months and my carb levels weren't even as low as the suggested amount for Atkins or South Beach etc. Anyway low carb diets might be okay short-term but obviously eating too little carbs will find you lacking in nutrients the body needs. Moderation and all. Not to mention good carbs (low GI) provide us with sustained energy during the day.

After reading all this, I went and uped my carbs to between 100-150 grams a day and have had no more problems and continued to lose just as much weight. I read somewhere that less than 135 grams a day is not good for most people long-term, but can't find that now sorry. It depends on the individual I guess, but maybe your carbs are too low in relation to your activity level etc?

If eating a little more doesn't solve the problem, try eating bananas. Low potassium levels can cause this.

Hmmm... For me, I cut out all caffinated beverages about 3 months ago, and the light-headedness is only in the last 2 weeks or so.  The only source of caffiene I can think of is a small square (10g) of chocolate I have about once per day.  None of this is a recent change.

I'm averaging over 230g of carbs per day (for a 175 pound guy), and 83g of sugar (which is higher than recommended, I think).  I'm well hydrated (drinking my 8 glasses of water per day), not taking any medications besides vitamins, flax seed oil, and ginkgo bilbo pills.  I haven't given blood for awhile (I think I'm about half way between donations), and I never have an issue passing the hemoglobin tests.  My blood pressure at the clinics is ok as well (119/66 on the last one)

If it continues, I guess a trip to the doc might be in order, just to rule out anything funky.  I guess I could also go back to drinking coffee, and see how that goes for me.

Clint

This happens to me due to allergies. I get "water" in my ears that messes with my equalibrium. Also a stuffy nose will do it.

If you think it's due to food, try eating every 2-3 hours so your blood sugar doesn't drop. Blood sugar and low blood pressure are a doozy.

have you lost much weight yet? I have found that, along with being a lightweight at the bar now, caffiene affects me more. Sugary stuff affects me more (more due to the healthier aspect of my diet now, I crash afterwards which never bothered me before)

my hormones are making my cycles (everything in them) multiply.

And i've only lost 12 lbs! (i'm 21 from my goal)

I used to have a double tall mocha and not even notice the caffiene. Now I'm all shaky. Then the crash. So even if I give myself the calories for it, I can't really have my favorite drink much anymore. :(

#15  
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I am a cardiologist and I'm appauled that no one here is telling you to just go see your doctor.  This could very well be a benign condition.  BUT there are MANY things that cause lightheadedness and dizziness.  Some are not dangerous and easily solved and others are not.  Please do not rely on a blog to answer something that is this important. 

The only one who can diagnose what is going on and make sure that it is not something more serious is your physician after a careful and detailed history and exam.  Please give her/him a call and make an appointment to go see them.  You may be completely reassured and I'm hoping that this is a simple issue that will resolve quickly.  But please don't rely on a blog to answer medical questions.

We as doctors get calls constantly regarding much more mundane questions.  This is something you should feel completely comfortable calling your physician about. 

 

Original Post by coreyander:

I experience this regularly -- it is called orthostatic hypotension and it is, indeed, a form of low blood pressure. I haven't heard of it being caused by a caloric deficit, but perhaps that is one possible cause. I think that dehydration, too little salt in your diet, or a reaction to a medication of some sort are more likely culprits.

Edit: Digging around a bit more on ole' Google Scholar, it looks like there may be some kind of association between very low calorie diets and this particular condition. Your intake doesn't really qualify, though, as VCLDs are diets with 400-800 kcal/day. You might try eating a bit more and seeing if it doesn't improve, though.

Hmm. I've had this since I was a kid. I was told it was vertigo and was perfectly normal (by my parents), and when I went to the doctor he couldn't set it off so he assumed it was nothing. Interesting to find out it's low blood pressure. (Although now that I'm exercising more, I find it happens less frequently.)

I get like this when I don't get enough sodium... chicken broth works great (like someone mentioned above).

Original Post by jdcoh:

I am a cardiologist and I'm appauled that no one here is telling you to just go see your doctor.  This could very well be a benign condition.  BUT there are MANY things that cause lightheadedness and dizziness.  Some are not dangerous and easily solved and others are not.  Please do not rely on a blog to answer something that is this important.

Pshhh. One would assume that the OP already knows that forums aren't substitutes for doctors. We'd have to preface every post with "you should see your doctor for a confirmation but it could be..." if we were to be that PC.

As a side note, I'm surprised that anyone who qualified as a cardiologist can't spell "appalled".

hahahahaha.

 

owned.

Original Post by peasmum:

 

Maybe it's from cutting carbs and sugar from your diet? I know when I was eating under 100 grams of carbs a day I would get pretty light headed/dizzy, with headaches and low energy, especially during a busy day rushing around on my feet.

After this happening on and off for several months, I read up some more on low/restrictive carb diets and found that they lower your blood pressure and insulin levels which can cause you to experience light-headness, confusion, headaches, insomnia, nausea etc. Most sites say that this is true of the initial stages of low carb diets, but I had these symptoms on and off for a few months and my carb levels weren't even as low as the suggested amount for Atkins or South Beach etc. Anyway low carb diets might be okay short-term but obviously eating too little carbs will find you lacking in nutrients the body needs. Moderation and all. Not to mention good carbs (low GI) provide us with sustained energy during the day.

yep

I have been on a low carb diet just about 10 days now and am feeling  bit light headed esp in the morning.

I have a very low dose of BP med for not too high BP which I monitor at home as I read this diet can lower BP so i am watching it.

I know my sodium intake has really dropped from what is was as I eat zero prepared food and do not add salt to cooking.

I am not counting calories but my maintenance calories are about 2000/day (190/5'8")and I am roughly watching for about 1700 .

 

I just have  sense for me that is a blood sugar adjustment..my body being used to the quick high glycemic pick me up and I tend to go long hours without eating so have to consciously eat more frequently.

Eating usually helps.

 

 

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