What are the causes of dizziness?

causes of dizziness

Dizziness refers to feeling lightheaded, woozy, & unbalanced. Dizziness often affects the sensory organs, usually the eyes & the ears, & it can cause fainting. Vertigo isn’t actually a disease, rather always a symptom of some underlying illness.  Most people often confuse vertigo with dizziness, however, the two are very different conditions.  While dizziness causes generalized fainting, loss of balance, & unsteadiness, vertigo is known for causing a spinning sensation that often makes a patient feel like their surroundings are spinning or moving.

Some people with vertigo might also experience motion sickness, especially if they lean to one side. To differentiate between the two conditions, it’s important to remember that while vertigo causes a spinning sensation, & a feeling of being generally unbalanced, dizziness causes a fainting feeling, & a sensation that you’re lightheaded.

Dizziness is quite a common condition, & the underlying cause usually isn’t serious. However, if you experience dizziness on a regular, frequent basis, & if it is interfering with your everyday activities, you should visit a doctor & get yourself checked out. Causes of dizziness usually include any infections, weakness, deficiencies, &/or a reaction or side effect of certain medications. In certain cases, dizziness often has no diagnosable causes.

What are the causes of dizziness?

There are a lot of causes of dizziness. Some common causes of dizziness include a migraine, medications, & alcohol. Inner ear problems are also causes of dizziness, as the inner ear controls the body’s balance. Vertigo is often also a cause of dizziness. The most common one being Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo(BPPV), which causes sudden dizziness, spinning sensations, & a feeling of being disoriented. BPPV is caused by tiny calcium crystals in the middle ear, breaking loose from their original position and depositing in the semicircular canal of the inner ear.

BPPV causes short, sudden bursts of dizziness, a spinning sensation, & general unsteadiness. Patients with BPPV also feel nauseous, sick to their stomach, & feel motion sick when they move their head in certain directions. In fact, head movements can sometimes act as triggers for patients with BPPV. Movements like sitting up too quickly, lying down quickly, & rolling over to one side in bed, are all examples of movements that can cause dizziness in BPPV sufferers.

Other causes of dizziness include Meniere’s Disease, which is an inner ear disorder that is caused by excessive amounts of fluid inside the ear, labyrinthitis, which is caused by an infection of the labyrinth inside the inner ear, & vestibular neuritis, an infection of the vestibular nerve inside the inner ear.  An acoustic neuroma, which is a benign tumor that occurs on the vestibular nerve, is also a cause of dizziness in some people.

Some other possible causes of dizziness include:

  • A sudden drop in blood pressure, also known as hypovolemia

  • Heart muscle disease

  • Decrease in blood volume

  • Anxiety disorders

  • Anemia, an iron deficiency in the blood

  • Hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar

  • Ear infections of any kind

  • Dehydration

  • Heatstroke

  • Performing excessive, heavy exercises

  • Motion sickness

In some rare cases, multiple sclerosis, which is an auto-immune nervous system disorder that causes dizziness & vertigo, can also be a cause of dizziness in some people. Similarly, a malignant tumor, or any other kind of brain disorder, can also be the cause of dizziness.

What are dizziness symptoms?

People report feeling a variety of symptoms when they suffer from dizziness. It’s possible that no two people feel the same dizziness symptoms, however, it is also possible that a group of people experience similar symptoms.

Some of the most common dizziness symptoms include:

  • Feeling lightheaded or feeling faint

  • A false sense of movement, or a spinning sensation

  • A general feeling of unsteadiness

  • Loss of balance

  • A feeling of either floating away or swimming around

Some patients with dizziness might also feel nauseous, vomiting, motion sickness, migraine headaches, & fainting.

When should you worry about dizziness?

Although dizziness is usually nothing to worry about & goes away on its own, there are some instances where you need to get yourself professionally checked out by a doctor.  As a general rule, remember to call your doctor immediately if you experience dizziness along with:

  • A head injury

  • A headache

  • A neck ache

  • A high fever

  • Blurred vision

  • Hearing loss

  • Difficulty speaking

  • Numbness or tingling in any part of your body or joints

  • Drooping eyes or mouth

  • Loss of consciousness

  • Chest pain

  • Ongoing vomiting

Dizziness that occurs along with these symptoms could be cause for concern, so you should always get it checked by your doctor to avoid any serious consequences. Your doctor will likely take your complete medical history, any recent trauma or injury you might have experienced, any medications that you might be taking, & any recent illnesses that you might have had. In most cases, your doctor will reach a conclusion based on the severity of your symptoms, their intensity, frequency, & their duration. However, in some cases, your doctor might ask for a few more tests to ascertain an exact cause of dizziness for you.  They might also suggest that you undergo an MRI scan &/or a CT scan of your head & neck to rule out any other potential causes of dizziness, like a tumor or a structural problem with the brain.

What are dizziness treatments?

Dizziness treatment usually focuses on treating the underlying cause of dizziness. This generally means that dizziness medicines, some dizziness exercises, & a variety of home remedies are the first line of dizziness treatment that’s recommended to a majority of people.

Other common dizziness treatment options include:

  • Inner-ear issues can be easily managed with the help of dizziness medicines & Do-It-Yourself exercises like the Epley Maneuver, the Brandt-Daroff exercises, etc. to treat dizziness and associated symptoms.

  • BPPV can usually be treated with the above-mentioned exercises, & certain medications. However, surgery is also an option for people with BPPV whose symptoms don’t go away with routine dizziness treatment procedures.

  • Meniere’s Disease can be treated with a diet that is low in salt, along with some diuretic medicines(also known as water pills). Injections and surgery are also some treatment options.

  • Migraines can be treated with certain medications and lifestyle changes, such as learning your potential triggers and avoiding those.

  • People with anxiety disorders can be treated with therapy, anti-anxiety medications, and relaxation techniques.

  • For dizziness caused by excessive exercise, heatstroke, or other physical conditions, drinking plenty of water & resting for a while until you feel steady enough, are a few options.

As a general rule of thumb, you should consider a few changes to your life when you suffer from dizziness.

These include:
  • Sit or lie down as soon as you feel dizzy and don’t get up until you feel stable enough. This helps you avoid any untoward incidents and injuries.

  • If you are prone to frequent dizzy spells, try using a cane or a walker to walk.

  • Make use of the handrails when walking up the stairs to avoid losing your balance.

  • Pursue activities that help improve your balance, like Yoga and Tai Chi.

  • Avoid moving or switching your positions suddenly.

  • Don’t drive or operate any heavy machinery if you are prone to frequent dizzy spells to avoid getting into accidents.

  • Reduce caffeine, alcohol, & tobacco usage to avoid triggering your dizziness any further.

  • Drink at least eight glasses of water every day, try to get eight hours of good sleep, & avoid getting into stressful situations.

  • Eat a healthy diet consisting of vegetables, lean protein, & fruits to avoid dizziness.

  • If a medication is the cause of dizziness for you, then try talking to your doctor about switching it or reducing the dose to help prevent dizziness.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.