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What Causes a Head Rush?

Have you ever gotten up too quickly and experienced a head rush? Here’s what causes this condition and what you can do about it.

You may have heard the term “head rush” and wondered what this expression means from a medical standpoint. A head rush is a term used to describe a brief fall in blood pressure that occurs when a person stands up too quickly or changes position suddenly. The symptoms of a head rush may include a momentary sensation of dizziness, dimming of vision, lightheadedness, or in rare cases, actual fainting can occur. As you might expect, this sensation can be frightening to those who experience it.

What Causes a Head Rush?

The symptoms of a head rush arise from the brief, but rapid fall in blood pressure. When in a sitting or squatting position, blood can pool in the feet and ankles. When moving from a sitting to a standing position quickly, the body may not adjust quickly enough to the reduced blood volume and the result can be a brief sensation of lightheadedness and dizziness. Although a head rush can occur in a normal person on occasion, especially in warm weather or immediately after eating, if it happens frequently it can indicate a medical problem.

Factors That Cause a Head Rush

In a healthy person, certain underlying factors increase the risk of developing symptoms of a head rush. Not drinking enough fluids or getting inadequate amounts of electrolytes such as sodium and potassium can cause dehydration which lowers blood volume and can lead to a head rush. This is more common when it’s hot outside. Drugs such as blood pressure medications, heart medications, diuretics, anti-depressants, and marijuana are another common cause. The symptoms of a head rush are more common in the elderly and those who have been on prolonged bed rest.

Medical Causes

More serious causes of a head rush include decreased blood volume due to anemia, certain types of heart and neurological diseases, diabetes and Addison’s disease. If symptoms occur more than occasionally, medical attention may be needed. Most isolated episodes of head rush that occur infrequently are not due to underlying disease.

How to Prevent a Head Rush

The symptoms of a head rush can usually be prevented by getting up slowly from a lying or sitting position, particularly in warm weather and after eating a large meal. Drinking electrolyte rich fluids such as Gatorade in the summer can also be helpful. Eating regular, small meals rather than larger ones helps to prevent the drop in blood pressure that occurs after eating. If medications are a factor, they may need to be adjusted by a doctor.

Taking these steps can help to reduce the chance of experiencing a head rush, but if the symptoms persist, it’s best to see a doctor.

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  1. excellent article. i get head rushes time to time.

  2. I am 14 and get head rushes just about every time I stand up I have fainted over 5 times I’ve been to the hospital and they gave these like compresses salt pills to md that I have to take every day (I have stopped taking them like a week after starting they did nothing I don’t think) and well this article tells me every thing I was told by the doctors which is very good.

  3. i am 17 and have had head rushes since i was about 13 and i found my cure. Exercise. doing cardiovascular workouts seem to strengthen my heart and prevent the head rushes. when i work out, i dont get them and when i stop working out( running, lifting, elliptical machine) i get head rushes again.

  4. Wow. I really thought that my symptoms were an extreme problem, but after reading this article, I feel better know that I have a name for the issue and a list of symptoms and solutions. Thanks.

  5. k, i literally just stoop up and allmost fainted, I heard a loud ringing noise, had to grab somthing to not fall over, and i couldn’t see… but this really helps thanks!

  6. Sometimes when I have headrushes i always end up fallin over or hittin something. This imformation is extremly helpful.

  7. I got up to turn off my lights and I started to feel a head rush coming on. I have them quite often but this time during my head rush I woke up on the floor. I think I fainted actually I’m pretty sure I fainted I don’t remember falling on the floor and I couldn’t have been on the floor for more than 5 minutes because the show I was watching before I fainted was still on. I’m 16 and play volleyball and I’m pretty healthy. This article answered alot of my questions but should I be frightened about my fainting?

  8. I am 16 and I have head rushes more than frequently. I haven’t been to the hospital and was wondering if I should plan a visit

  9. I have had Fibromyalgia for almost 20 years and many many unexplained fainting spells (I’ve had to use a wheelchair to go some places, if i stand up i just pass out). No doc took it seriously to really diagnose anything (or they just dind’t know and were too arrogant to honestly say “I just don’t know”) Now i am having the “head rushes” & they are lasting way too long. I want to go get exercise but i’m scared i’ll pass out again… so i might be in a vicious circle. It’s just scary and depressing.

    Thank you for the article, it is nice to be able to Google this question and find that it’s not just me, although i wish everyone here didn’t have to deal with scary or nervous-making health problems.

  10. “How to Prevent a Head Rush”

    Prevent it? I welcome it. It’s *awesome*!

    This reminds me of a cartoon I saw showing a Puritan preacher,
    “If it feels good, don’t do it!” :-)

  11. they happen to me too
    one time (more than once) i had it soo bad one time. i ddidnt even remebr how i fell cuz i tried to walk it off. next thing i knew i was on the floor, i was behind my dad, he turned around and was like how did that happen
    i turned around, and saw all the chairs fell on me
    my foot must have gotton caught and i couldnt see nuthin so i couldnt balance myself

  12. Please help me. Everytime I sit up from a lying down position or stand up from sitting down I get this ‘tingling’ feeling in the front of my head, my vision becomes clouded and black (I can bearly see!) and my legs become weak and I find hard to keep my balance. This happens no matter how slowly and carefully I sit up or stand up. Also I don’t know if this is related but everytime I am standing still I cannot seem to keep my balance and I sway; it feels like I am going to fall over and I have to hold onto something. (This happens when I have not just got up and can happen anytime and everytime I am standing still.) This is really starting to affect my life. Please can someone tell my what this is and what I can do to stop it happening. If this helps i am a 13 year old girl.

  13. I have been getting head rushes my whole life. In short, the feel great. For me, a head rush is a huge stress reliever.

    Like many of you here, my head rushes started at about 12 years old. At this time I was playing tennis at an extremely competitive level which I believe caused extremely low blood pressure in me. Again, like many of your here, every time I stood up I would experience a head rush – which always consists of loosing balance and sometimes eyesight. My worst head rushes would obviously include fainting and this happened about 12 times total. The longest I was out was about a minute but when I woke up I felt great. By the age of 17 my head rushes were much less frequent.

    I am 21 years old now and still get the occasional head rush – which is why I am writing this right now. I just almost lost consciousness after taking a tour hour plane ride and standing up aha.

    Head rush frequency will decrease with age, I can’t say this because I have any sort of medical background, just from my 9 years of personal head rush experience.

    I noticed that I suffer from more head rushes in high altitude dry areas . ie Calgary AB Canada.

    Anyways hope this gives some people answers they were looking for.

  14. this website and all ur comments helped me so much. i got a severe head rush twice after a big night out partying. I woke up walked to kitchen and all of a sudden vision started to go and a severe ringing in my ears occured. my vision didnt come back for like 60 seconds. so scary!!! but reading this i feel so much better. just need to drink more water and not so much vodca! haha thanks to everyone for your comments, you made me relax

  15. this website and all ur comments helped me so much. i got a severe head rush twice after a big night out partying. I woke up walked to kitchen and all of a sudden vision started to go and a severe ringing in my ears occured. my vision didnt come back for like 60 seconds. so scary!!! but reading this i feel so much better. just need to drink more water and not so much vodca! haha thanks to everyone for your comments, you made me relax

  16. Well today i got up to quick to see what was cooking and i fainted and it was scary. and im 15 and it scares me for the rest of the day. i checked this website cause i was google\’ing about head rush to see if it can cause it.

  17. very helpfull so i now no not to race my alarm clock in the mornings :L

  18. thanks for the info but my head rush usally come when i am sick is that normal ??

  19. Wow. This has been happening to me for probably 3 years now and once it was so bad I fell and hit my head on a table. But I never fainted. Sometimes it happens even when I get up slowly too. I went to the doctor and my doctor just laughed at me and said that they never heard of anything like that happen, so I never brought it up again. This article really helps.

  20. I am 9 and I have at least 20 times every month yesterday I got up and I couldn’t see about an hour later I woke I just fainted. My mom splash water over me then at that time I searched and found this very helpful. Thanks!

  21. I am 9 and I have at least 20 times every month yesterday I got up and I couldn\’t see about an hour later I woke I just fainted. My mom splash water over me then at that time I searched and found this very helpful. Thanks!

  22. I started when I was 5

  23. I started having them when I was 5

  24. I have them more than once a day and i drink but not sure if its enough.Should i drink more energy drinks ive had them for about 2 years but now im 13 It seems to be getting worse:/

  25. my head hurts wen i move and i get a headach on the right side of my head and my blood flow is irregular and i often get heart burns
    am 16

  26. i get head rush all the time but should i go to a docter or not??

  27. I fainted just today in a gas station due to what I think was a headrush. I am anemic but I was not laying and quickly sprung up. It’s like 9 degrees outside and I think moving from the cold to the hot caused a hot flash that caused the headrush. Either way, people were confused when I went limp as a noodle and then just sat quietly on the dirty floor.

  28. I am 15 and head rushes are nothing new to me but in the past 1-2 weeks or so I have been experiencing them very frequently and much stronger than usual and it seems that they are getting worse. I now not only get them from standing up but often just at random when I’m doing nothing. My average head rush usually lasts about 3-5 seconds and lately they have been getting up to as long as 10-20 and have been happening anywhere from 3-5 times an hour. I do get mild ones and severe ones but it seems I am haveing severe ones more than anything, when they are severe my hands and face tend to go numb and I have a difficulty breathing hearing and seeing. In this 1 or 2 week period I have also had other problems that I am unsure wether they are somehow connected with these head rushes or not, such as frequent urination about once every 1-2 hours, constant mild hallucinations (I can’t focus on anything, walls and objects seem to be morphing/moving), slight confusion (I’m having trouble comprehending/understanding anything I read or any conversations I have), slight stutter and mild slur of speech, acheing joints/muscles such as my thighs and lower back, and a constant hunger but I feel like I will puke if I eat, I don’t feel nausious but the taste or smell of fresh food makes me want to gag and I have a hard time eating a decent ammount only very small portions. I have lost almost 30 pounds in the last week and for the last 2 days I have had a strange pain in my chest that I only feel upon the peak of my inhale, I’m not sure if the pain is in the bone or in my esophogas but it runs from about the bottom of my sternum to just above my collar bone and feels deep. I am not the doctor visiting type person so if anyone has any insight i’d apprecitate the help.

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