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Heart & Cardiology/Light Headed after laborious activities


Hi Dr. Richardson,

I'm 40.  Often when I get my heart rate going through labor around the house, or elsewhere (not labor as in L&D), I will get light headed.  I run 5 times a week, usually about 2-3 miles a day.  I don't notice it at all during my runs.  Today for example I was working the Xmas tree--hardly a strenous activity.  Yet it was just enough to accelerate my HR a little.  Then the sensation hit--eyes felt heavy and I get light headed/floaty feeling.  It slowly subsides after 15-30 minutes.  

1- Does this sound heart related.

2- If not, do you have any idea, as an MD, what's causing this?  

All my life this has never happened, but it's been on ongoing thing for about 6 months now.  It won't happen every time I do laborious activities, but it will occur semi often.  

3- Is it possible it's related to general fatigue from either lack of good sleep or over exercise?


Hello Meghann,

Light headedness can be caused by overbreathing, by low blood pressure, by very fast heart rates or very slow heart rates.  Your heart rate seems to be okay.  Pay attention to your breathing and breathe slowly and shallowly.  If necessary, breathe through a tube about 12 inches long and 1 inch in diameter.  If you're standing when lightheaded, get your blood pressure measured while sitting and then while standing quietly for 1,3 and 5 minutes.  If BP gets below 90, that's the cause of you giddiness.  Eat lots of salt and drink lots of water.

Please write back if this doesn’t answer all your questions.

David Richardson

Heart & Cardiology

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David Richardson


Adult heart function and disease. Not very good about children lesss than 12. Hypertension is o.k. Heart rhythm a special interest.


Certified in cardiology by the American Board of Internal Medicine. Was chairman of division of cardiology at the Medical College of Virginia. Am now mostly retired.

Fellow of American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology and member of American Physiological Society..

Circulation, American Heart Journal, Hypertension.

M.D. from Harvard Medical School. Residency training at Yale Uhniversity School of Medicine and Medical College of Virginia.

Awards and Honors
Gold Heartt Award from American Heart Association in 1995.

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