Dizziness is when you feel lightheaded, unsteady, or faint. If you’re dizzy, you may also experience a sensation of spinning that’s called vertigo.

Many things can cause dizziness. It can also be accompanied by a variety of different symptoms, one of which is sweating.

So what does it mean when dizziness and sweating occur together? Keep reading as we explore the potential causes of dizziness and sweating, and when to seek medical attention.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the most likely causes of dizziness and sweating, and why these symptoms may happen at the same time.

Hypoglycemia

Hypoglycemia is when you have low blood sugar. This condition is a potential side effect of diabetes medications like insulin. It can also happen due to skipping meals, not eating enough, or being ill.

The symptoms of hypoglycemia typically come on suddenly and can vary from one person to the next. In addition to dizziness and sweating, other symptoms you may experience include:

You can often raise your blood sugar by consuming foods or drinks that contain carbs when you begin to feel symptoms. Examples include fruit, fruit juice, crackers, hard candy, or sodas.

Hyperthyroidism

Hyperthyroidism is when your thyroid produces too much thyroid hormone. Thyroid hormone is important for your metabolism, digestion, and heart.

An increase in sweating is a symptom of hyperthyroidism. Dizziness may also occur due to a rapid or irregular heartbeat. Some other symptoms of hyperthyroidism may include:

Some of the treatment options for hyperthyroidism include medications and radioactive iodine treatment. In some cases, a doctor may recommend a surgical procedure in which all or part of the thyroid is removed.

Heat exhaustion

Heat exhaustion happens when your body overheats. This can be due to prolonged exposure to heat or overexerting yourself in hot weather.

Heavy sweating and dizziness are both signs of heat exhaustion. Other symptoms to look out for include:

You can help ease heat exhaustion by taking measures like moving to a cooler place, removing excess clothing, and applying cool compresses. Sipping water to rehydrate can also be beneficial.

Heart attack

A heart attack happens when blood flow to the heart is blocked. This is a medical emergency. If you or someone else experiences symptoms of a heart attack, call 911.

The main symptom of a heart attack is chest pain. However, cold sweats and dizziness can also occur. Other signs of a heart attack include:

  • pain or discomfort in other areas, such as the jaw, neck, back, and arms
  • shortness of breath
  • nausea or vomiting

It’s important to know that symptoms can vary between men and women. While chest pain is the main symptom for both, women are more likely to have other symptoms prior to a heart attack, such as:

  • sleep disturbances
  • anxiety
  • unusual or sudden fatigue

Heart attacks are treated with medications, and sometimes with surgery, such as stent placement or bypass.

Motion sickness

Motion sickness happens when your brain gets conflicting information about your body’s motion and position. It can often occur during travel via car, boat, or plane.

Symptoms can include dizziness and cold sweats, as well as nausea and vomiting.

Both over-the-counter and prescription medications can be used to treat motion sickness. You can also take steps to try to prevent motion sickness by:

  • sitting toward the front and facing forward on trains, buses, or boats
  • sitting in the front of a car, not in the back seat
  • not reading in a moving vehicle

Hot flashes

Hot flashes are sudden, short-lived increases in body temperature. They’re a common symptom of menopause. Hot flashes happen due to decreases in the hormone estrogen.

The increase in body temperature can lead to flushing and sweating. Additionally, heart rate can increase during a hot flash, which may lead to feelings of dizziness.

Hormone replacement therapy may help some women who experience hot flashes. Home remedies such as keeping cold water or an ice pack on hand and wearing easily removable layers may also help.

Panic attack

Panic disorder is a type of anxiety disorder. People with panic disorder have panic attacks, during which they experience intense feelings of fear or anxiety. Panic attacks typically come on suddenly and can last for several minutes or more.

Dizziness and sweating are both physical symptoms of a panic attack. Other symptoms include:

Panic disorder is usually treated by a mental health professional. Treatment typically involves medications, psychotherapy, or both.

Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV)

BPPV is a condition that affects the inner ear. People with BPPV experience severe feelings of vertigo when they change the position of their head, such as bending over or turning quickly. Episodes of BPPV typically last less than a minute.

There are crystals in your inner ear that monitor the positioning of your head. BPPV happens when these crystals become dislodged. This can cause an intense dizzy spell that seems to come out of nowhere.

Some people with BPPV may also sweat while enduring feelings of dizziness or vertigo. Other symptoms may include:

Treatment for BPPV involves the Epley maneuver, which can help reposition the dislodged crystals in your ear. In some cases, surgery may be recommended.

Fainting

Fainting is when you temporarily lose consciousness. You can faint if your brain isn’t receiving enough oxygen. This most often happens due to a sudden drop in blood pressure.

Prior to fainting, a person may experience feelings of dizziness or lightheadedness. In some cases, sweating may also occur. Other symptoms to be aware of include:

  • rapid or irregular heartbeat
  • nausea
  • changes to vision or hearing

Many times, fainting isn’t a cause of concern. However, in some cases, it may be a sign of a more serious underlying condition. Treatment involves addressing the specific cause of your fainting.

Dumping syndrome

Dumping syndrome is a condition in which the contents of your stomach empty too rapidly. The most common cause is surgery involving the esophagus or stomach. Other potential causes include diabetes and duodenal ulcers.

Sweating and feeling dizzy or lightheaded can be symptoms of dumping syndrome. Other symptoms may include:

Dumping syndrome can be treated with medications, and sometimes with surgery. Your doctor may also recommend changes to your diet, such as eating smaller meals, fewer carbs, and more fiber, protein, and fat.

If you experience dizziness and sweating that’s unexplained, happens frequently, or begins to interfere with your daily activities, see your doctor. They can help determine what may be causing your symptoms.

Seek emergency medical care for dizziness and sweating that occurs with the following symptoms:

In order to diagnose the cause of your dizziness and sweating, your doctor will first:

  • Ask about your symptoms. Your doctor will ask you to describe your symptoms, when they began, and how long they’ve lasted.
  • Take your medical history. This can include getting information on any medications you’re taking, underlying conditions you may have, or health conditions that run in your family.
  • Perform a physical examination. This may include taking your temperature, blood pressure, and heart rate.

Sometimes, your doctor may be able to diagnose your condition based on your symptoms, medical history, and a physical examination. However, they may also perform additional tests. This may include:

  • Blood tests. Blood tests can help indicate any underlying issues with blood sugar levels, thyroid hormone levels, and heart health.
  • Electrocardiogram (ECG). An ECG measures the electrical activity of your heart and can be used to help diagnose or rule out potential heart conditions.
  • Imaging tests. These can give your doctor a detailed picture of what’s going on in your body. Examples include X-rays, CT scans, and MRI scans.
  • Hearing and balance tests. If your doctor suspects a condition that affects balance or equilibrium, they may assess eye and head movement or perform tilt-table testing.

There are times when dizziness and sweating can occur together. There are a variety of conditions that can cause these symptoms. Some conditions aren’t serious. However, other conditions, such as a heart attack, require immediate medical attention.

Make an appointment with your doctor if your symptoms recur, affect your day-to-day activities, or can’t be explained by an existing condition.

Always seek emergency care for dizziness and sweating that occur with other symptoms like chest pain, trouble breathing, or severe headache.