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Causes of Light Headedness and Weakness

author image Janelle Vaesa
Janelle Vaesa received her Master of Public Health degree in 2008 and Bachelor of Science in health and human performance in 2006, both from the University of Louisville. Vaesa has worked in a variety of settings, focusing on improving the health of clients. Vaesa began running in 2000 and in 2005 began racing in triathlons.
Causes of Light Headedness and Weakness
A woman holding her head. Photo Credit: Tharakorn/iStock/Getty Images

There can be many reasons why a person can feel weak and light-headed. Most of these can be treated quickly and aren't serious; however, sometimes these symptoms can signal a more serious condition. Treatment will depend on the reason for these symptoms. Always seek medical treatment if someone becomes unconscious.

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Hypoglycemia is the medical terms used to describe low blood sugar. According to the, hypoglycemia most often occurs in people with diabetes. Signs and symptoms include weakness, light-headedness, double or blurred vision, confusion, unconsciousness, anxiety, sweating and hunger. Treatment includes consuming high-sugar foods that will raise blood sugar levels or taking prescribed medications for diabetes. Diabetics should follow their doctor's instructions on how to prevent hypoglycemia. For those who do not have diabetes, consuming small, frequent meals throughout the day can help prevent hypoglycemia. If the condition does not improve, medical attention may be needed.


Anemia occurs when there are not enough red blood cells in the body. According to Medline Plus, red blood cells are made in the bone marrow and contain hemoglobin, the protein that carries oxygen to the blood, making the blood red. Signs and symptoms of anemia include light-headedness, headaches, fatigue, chest pain, constipation, shortness of breath and difficulty concentrating. Anemia can be caused by pregnancy, poor diet, large amounts of blood loss, some medications, cancer and kidney failure. Treatment will depend on the cause of the anemia, but generally consists of supplements of iron, B-12 vitamin, folic acid, corticosteroids and sometimes blood transfusions.

Anxiety Disorder

Each year, 40 million Americans are affected by an anxiety disorder, reports The National Institute for Mental Health. Anxiety disorders last at least six months and may require medical treatment or therapy. Anxiety disorders include panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, social phobia and others. According to the, signs and symptoms can include excessive worrying, feeling restless, fatigue, trouble concentrating, muscle aches, shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and light-headedness. Most treatments include psychotherapy to talk about the issues causing stress, and an antidepressant or an anti-anxiety medication.

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