Feeling faint or lightheaded without losing consciousness is called presyncope. The condition may cause you to feel nauseous and clammy as well as lightheaded. Presymcope usually is caused by a drop in blood pressure or a heart arrhythmia that reduces the amount of blood pumping from your heart. Lightheadedness that occurs before or after eating may be a sign of hypoglycemia and can be prevented by changing some of your eating habits.
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If you have reactive hypoglycemia, you can control the symptoms by paying attention to the timing and content of your meals. According to MayoClinic.com, reactive hypoglycemia rarely requires medical attention. Lean sources of protein such as egg whites and fish may reduce your lightheadedness. Non-meat sources of protein such as cheese, milk, yogurt and soy-based products seem to reduce the symptoms significantly. Don't wait longer than three hours between eating to avoid symptoms.
When you have too much insulin and not enough sugar in your blood, you may undergo lightheaded symptoms if you have diabetes. If you skip meals or don't eat enough, you may start feeling lightheaded, shaky and anxious. Untreated, you could develop double vision, seizures or slurred speech. According to MayoClinic.com, you can raise your blood sugar quickly by eating five or six pieces of hard candy.
You want to find something that will enter your system quickly if you feel lightheaded, whether you have diabetes or are just having a reaction to skipping a meal. Liquids often are the quickest way to get sugar into your bloodstream. Just 4 oz. of a sugary soft drink may relieve the symptoms quickly. Fruit juice is a common alternative and can be carried with you if you undergo the symptoms often or expect to miss a meal. Additionally, dehydration can lead to lightheadedness and using fluids to raise your blood sugar also will help relieve the dehydration that only exacerbates your condition.
Honey is a quick acting carbohydrate that can lessen your lightheadedness and get you through a crisis until you can eat a meal or take your insulin if you are diabetic. A tablespoon of pure honey is one of the most effective foods for raising blood sugar levels in a hurry, according to MayoClinic.com. A tablespoon of sugar-laden jelly also may alleviate symptoms.