A person can experience dizzy spells immediately after eating or a couple of hours afterwards. Different situations can lead to the different time frame noted. There are a couple of causes of this situation where conservative measures can be followed in order to help resolve this issue.
Post-prandial hypotension is defined as a drop in blood pressure after eating and can occur within minutes. After a meal is consumed, the heart rate increases and blood is diverted from other areas of the body to the gut. The arteries in the peripheral areas of the body (arms, legs and head) narrow so as to try and maintain the normal blood pressure of the body which makes sure that the brain has blood and oxygen during this time.
Now, due to genetic factors which would affect younger persons and due to age-related changes of the arteries in the elderly, this compensatory mechanism doesn't work so well. The arteries that are supposed to narrow don't and this then causes a drop in blood pressure which can cause the dizzy symptoms experienced by the affected individual. Other associated symptoms can also include nausea, disturbed vision and facial flushing.
The following suggestions are made to try and reduce the chances of post-prandial hypotension from occurring:
- Drink around 8-16 ounces/250-500ml of water 15 minutes before a meal as this will help to reduce the chances of your blood pressure dropping.
- Eating a large meal will cause a larger amount of blood to rush to the gut so it would be better to change from 3 meals a day to 6-7 smaller meals throughout the day.
- Refined foods, sugars and carbohydrates pass quickly from the stomach to the intestines and will thus cause a quick flow of blood to the gastrointestinal tract. Changing to lower GI foods such as beans and more proteins as well as slowly digestible whole grain products will help possibly eliminate this issue.
The following suggestions are made to better control glucose levels and to try and avoid future occurrences of this issue:
- Eating small meals and snacks about every 3 hours.
- Avoiding or limiting sugar intake.
- One should exercise regularly as this increases sugar uptake which decreases excessive insulin release.
- Eating a variety of foods including meat, poultry, fish or non-meat sources of protein such as whole-grains, fruits, vegetables and dairy products.
- Consuming high-fibre foods.
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