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We’ve all had the experience of standing up too fast and getting a little lightheaded and dizzy, but is this normal? And is it because of our hearts or our heads?  

When you get lightheaded from standing up, or even sitting up too fast, that dizziness might be coming from your heart. As we change positions, our hearts must adjust our blood pressure to make sure that your blood is able to pump back up (against gravity) from your feet. When your blood pressure doesn’t adjust fast enough, your brain’s blood supply, and therefore its oxygen supply, dips below normal and that gives you a lightheaded feeling. Typically, this should resolve within seconds, shouldn’t cause loss of consciousness, and shouldn’t be chronic. If you are experiencing loss of consciousness or if this happens every time you come from lying down to sitting or sitting to standing, you should talk to your primary care doctor or cardiologist about your symptoms. This can also happen after you have been bending over to pick something up, gardening, putting your shoes on, etc.  

This isn’t the only dizziness that can be affected by your heart. For example, Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV) is a vestibular disorder from displaced ear crystals in the inner ear. Studies have found a high correlation between recurrence of BPPV and some cardiovascular diseases such as high blood pressure (or hypertension) and high cholesterol (or hyperlipidemia).i Arteriosclerosis has also been indicated to have a high correlation with BPPV.ii Current theories suggest that blood flow interruptions to the anterior vestibular artery, the inner ear’s blood supply, causes inner ear dysfunction including a higher incidence of ear crystals becoming dislodged from the gel on which they are embedded and cause BPPV. Compromised blood flow to the inner can also result in a specific type of hearing loss.iii 

Cardiovascular disease can affect many – or even all – body systems due to its effect on blood circulation. The inner ear is no exception! Identifying the cause or causes of dizziness requires a thorough understanding of several types of dizziness, how symptoms and specialized testing help identify the cause and recognize that you may be experiencing distinct types of dizziness. 

If you are experiencing dizziness and you have a history of cardiovascular disease, come in to 360 Balance & Dizziness for an evaluation. We will work with your primary care provider as well as other specialists such as ENTs, cardiologists, and neurologists to determine the most effective plan of treatment for you!