What Is Dizziness?
Dizziness is a feeling of spinning the objects or the environment around you. It mostly occurs due to underlying neurological or heart related condition. The most common form of the dizziness is vertigo. While occasional dizziness is not concern of worry; repeated or frequent dizziness increases risk of complications such as falls.
Dizziness can be effectively managed by following the certain lifestyle modifications. However, in severe conditions, the dizziness can be treated through effective use of medicines, special therapies or the surgery.
Dizziness is generally described as the lightheadedness, spinning or swirling of head. This generally occurs due to underlying medical condition. Dizziness can present in any of forms:
It produces typical unpleasant sense of the weakness or unsteady feeling. Generally, you may experience lightheadedness when you suddenly wake up from bed or turn around quickly. In some cases, the lightheadedness is observed with rapid and the deep breathing after exercise or strenuous physical work.
Vertigo is most common form of the dizziness that produces feeling of spinning of the objects around you. Vertigo may be experienced while spinning yourself around, but when this occurs without any activity, it is sign of medical condition. Vertigos caused by damage to the vestibular system of the inner ear which is responsible for maintaining the balance.
It is an unsteady or feeling of the imbalance in your feet that produces feeling of loss of balance.
What Causes Dizziness?
Dizziness is a symptom that arises due to underlying conditions such as diabetes, the heart disease or the low blood pressure. The common causes of dizziness are migraines, chronic alcohol consumption, and medication use.
The causes of dizziness can be classified as:
- Dizziness associated with inner ear disorders
- Dizziness associated with the circulatory disorders
- Other common disorders associated with the dizziness
Dizziness associated with Inner ear disorders include:
Benign positional vertigo (BPV):
It is the most common type of vertigo related dizziness that occurs when an individual wakes up suddenly after lying down or changes the position quickly. It is observed by the intense false feeling of spinning of the objects around you or your head
Infection: Viral infections affecting ear cause the vestibular neuritis that produces vertigo. When this is associated with hearing loss, it is called labyrinthitis.
It is a common cause of vertigo that is characterized by excessive accumulation of the fluid in inner ears. The condition is associated with the ringing sound in ears (tinnitus), alternating hearing loss, and the plugging of ears. (source)
Some individuals with the migraine suffer from severe headache and vertigo or other forms of the dizziness. While other individuals with migraines do not experience headache but suffer vertigo and light and the sound sensitivity.
Dizziness associated with Circulatory disorders include:
Hypotension (Low blood pressure):
A substantial drop in the blood pressure is concern as it is associated with the lightheadedness followed by short spell of the unconsciousness.
Cardiac conditions such as heart attack, transient ischemia(decreased oxygen to the heart), cardiomyopathy(a condition associated with the increased size of heart), or cardiac arrhythmia decrease blood flow to the brain and the inner ear and cause the dizziness.
Dizziness associated with other disorders include:
Hypoglycemia (Low blood sugar levels):
It is most common cause of dizziness in the type-I diabetic patients. Use of the insulin may result in the anxiety, sweating and dizziness.
Dizziness due to the anxiety disorders occur due to the panic disorders or mental disturbances.
Low iron in blood may produce the dizziness symptoms such as the weakness, fatigue and pale skin.
Dehydration due to overheating:
Dehydration due to the overheating occurs when you consume less fluid or have the prolonged exposure to sun. You may be at an increased risk of the dehydration due to overheating if you are using certain heart medications
Certain neurological conditions such as the Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis cause loss of the balance and dizziness
The use of the certain drugs such as the anti-depressant drugs, anti-seizure drugs, sedatives, the tranquilizers and antihypertensive drugs increase risk of side effects.
What are the Risk Factors for Dizziness?
The factors that increase risk of dizziness include:
Age: Older people have more incidences of the dizziness than adults or youths owing to the balance and vision problems.
Past medical history of dizziness: Individuals who often feel dizzy are at increased risk of dizziness.
What are the Complications of Dizziness?
Dizziness is one most common causes of falls in the elderly. Experiencing dizziness while driving or handling heavy machinery increases the risk of accidents.
How is Dizziness Diagnosed?
The doctor initially asks for the past medical history to check if you had a stroke, or head trauma or suffered a blow on the head. Muscle strength and the walking pattern is assessed to find out if you have balance problems.
The diagnosis of the dizziness is also based on the way you walk or to check whether you seek support to maintain the balance while walking.
The most common tests to diagnose the cause of the dizziness include the following:
Electronystagmography (ENG) or Videonystagmography (VNG):
The test is performed to check the functioning of the nerves that connect the eye and the ear to the brain. Small electrodes (in ENG) or the video cameras (in VNG) are placed around the eye to detect cranial nerve activity. The disruption of nerve activity is a sign of defect of nerves connected to the eye or ear.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan:
MRI scan is performed to detect the changes in the brain which may cause the dizziness.
The test is performed to check for the problems in balance in your body. The doctor suggests you stand barefoot on the platform and checks if you have balance issues.
How is Dizziness Treated?
In most instances, the dizziness often gets better with time. However, the medications, specialized therapies or the surgery may be performed to treat the condition if it is severe
The use of certain medications such as the diuretics, the antihistamine drugs, the anti-nauseating drugs, the anti-migraine and the anti-anxiety drugs are used to treat the underlying conditions causing the dizziness.
The specific therapies retrains brain to recognize certain signals from vestibular system. This helps in maintaining the motion and prevents from the falling or losing the balance.
The procedure is performed to remove vestibular labyrinth of the affected ear. The other ear performs the function of the balance in the body. Surgery is only performed when individual isn’t responding to other treatment options.
Following certain the tips can help you treat dizziness without use of medications. The lifestyle modifications include:
- Avoid waking up suddenly from the bed after lying down or turning around in hurry
- Being aware of possibility of misbalance or fall that helps you keep away the injury
- Turn off light and lie down or sit if you experience vertigo. This makes you feel better
- Reduce taking the salt, the alcohol and the caffeine as it worsens condition
- Do not drive or handle the heavy machinery if you experience frequent dizziness
- Consult doctor immediately if you experience dizziness after taking specific drug
- Avoid direct exposure to heat during the summers as it causes overheating and dehydration
Most cases of the dizziness clear up on their own once underlying cause is treated. In rare cases, the dizziness can be a sign of more serious health problems.
Dizziness may result in complications when it causes the fainting or loss of balance. This can be especially dangerous when a person is driving or operating heavy machinery. Use caution if you feel episode of the dizziness coming on. If you become dizzy, stop the driving immediately or find a safe place to steady yourself until it passes.
For more related articles click below: