If you're dizzy, you may feel lightheaded or lose your balance. If you feel that the room is spinning, technically you have vertigo, a related condition.
Dizziness can be caused by a sudden drop in blood pressure or from being dehydrated. If you get up too quickly from a sitting- or lying-down position, you might feel lightheaded. Some women feel dizzy while they're having a hot flash.
Several breast cancer treatments can cause dizziness:
- Herceptin (chemical name: trastuzumab), a targeted therapy
- some hormonal therapies:
In addition, some antihistamines, antiseizure medications, antidepressants, and tranquilizers can cause dizziness. Many pain medications can also make you dizzy.
In most cases, dizziness caused by medicine to treat breast cancer usually goes away by itself after you've received the medicine a few times. If it doesn't, talk to your doctor. You may be able to take another medicine. If your dizziness is caused by something else, you may be able to do exercises or change your diet to help.
Other tips to manage dizziness:
- Sit or lie down immediately when you feel dizzy.
- Ask for help if you need to be somewhere and feel dizzy.
- Avoid rapid changes in position, especially from lying down to standing up or turning around from one side to the other.
- Avoid moving your head quickly, especially from side to side, or moving it as far as it will go up or down or from side to side.
- Remove clutter from areas where you spend the most time.
- Avoid driving a car or operating heavy machinery when you feel dizzy.
- Keep areas well-lit so you can see clearly. It's especially good to have a bright lamp near your bed in case you have to get up at night.
- Use a cane or walker for stability.
- Wear sturdy shoes to avoid tripping and slipping.
- Avoid using caffeine, salt, alcohol, and tobacco. These substances all can restrict your blood vessels and worsen any feelings of dizziness you may have.
- Carry a cell phone or cordless phone with you in the house in case you fall and need help.