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Dr. Andrew Rynne
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Dr. Andrew Rynne

Family Physician

Exp 50 years

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What causes lightheadedness and black out?

Answered by
Dr.
Dr. Olsi Taka

Neurologist

Practicing since :2004

Answered : 3650 Questions

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Posted on Wed, 24 Aug 2016 in Brain and Spine
Question: I have been light headed for 3 days. First day almost passed out. Never had this before. I am 73 and in good health. Have no idea what brought this on. I have no pain.

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Answered by Dr. Olsi Taka 45 minutes later
Brief Answer:
Read below.

Detailed Answer:
I read your question carefully and I understand your concern.

Lighheadedness is a very common symptom and is not very specific, meaning it may have different causes.

One possible cause is a heart arrhythmia which may lead to low blood pressure and light headedness.

Another possible cause would be anemia or a metabolic alteration in the levels of glucose, electrolytes etc

Inner ear disorders may also lead to balance disruption, but usually in the form of vertigo, a sensation of spinning movement which doesn't seem to be your case.

A common fear of my patients is also the possibility of stroke. While it cannot be excluded it usually has other symptoms such as slurred speech, visual symptoms, bad movement coordination, weakness or numbness of body or face, headache, nausea and vomiting. So unlikely from that description.

So I would recommend a medical visit, if the appointment with your primary physician takes too long even at the ER given the persistence of the symptoms. That is to check blood pressure, heart rhythm through EKG, some simple blood tests like blood count, erythrocyte sedimentation rate, glucose, liver and kidney function, electrolytes (routine tests to screen for markers of anemia, infections and metabolic alterations).

As for how long it takes for an answer, once us doctors pick a question we have an hour to think and write an answer. If you have follow up questions that depends on when do you make those question, usually when they are asked right away I answer inside the hour, but when the question comes at later times when I may happen to be asleep or be too busy at the hospital work I may have to answer later (we have a 24 hours limit for follow up questions)

I remain at your disposal for other questions.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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