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70 years old. Experiencing nausea and weakness during flying. What is the cause?

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Emergency Medicine Specialist
Practicing since : 2006
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while flying on occasion i have gotten weak,nausea and very clamy and on one occasion i have passed out this only happens while flying and not alll the time what causes this i m a very healthy seventy year old woman the only thing I have is low blood pressure
Posted Fri, 1 Mar 2013 in General Health
Answered by Dr. Sheeba Stephen 27 minutes later
Hello and welcome to Healthcare Magic. Thanks for your query.

These symptoms which you experience only during flying or likely to be due to an inner ear problem called Vertigo - more specifically Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV). The body's balancing apparatus (the vestibular system) is located in the inner ear. When there are sudden changes in ear pressure or body position (which happen during flying), this can result in vestibular hyper-stimulation, and result in vertigo (where you have symptoms like nausea, dizziness and sometimes even passing out).

Since this happens only when you are flying and you are alright otherwise, you don't have to worry too much about this. There are medication called "vestibular suppressants" which can be taken before flight trips to prevent your problem from occurring.

Wish you all the best.

Dr. Sheeba Stephen
Emergency Medicine Specialist
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