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Dizziness: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment

Dizziness: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment

Almost everyone has experienced dizziness at least once in their lives. But is dizziness as commonplace and uncomplicated an occurrence as we have made it out to be? Is it really just a little bit of a headache, a little weakness, which comes and goes in periodic bouts, nothing to be worried about?

Well, dizziness, in the medical world is more of a symptom that can be associated with various diseases and conditions, rather than a disease itself. In this article, we will discuss how medical dizziness can be identified via its causes and risk factors, and how can that be treated.

What is Dizziness?

Firstly, understand that dizziness can affect or be induced by any part of the body; ears, eyes, heart, or more. However, only upon a careful diagnosis and research of your medical history can the doctor pinpoint the reason behind the condition, what is causing it, and what is it indicating medically.

Dizziness is a symptom which affects the sensory organs. The person may often experience a spinning sensation, which may even lead to fainting. Disequilibrium and motion sickness are also its forms.

In most of the cases, this is not harmful. However, if you experience frequent bouts of it, where it’s more than a simple headache or sickness, and there are related episodes that you cannot explain, consult your doctor immediately.

Symptoms of Dizziness

Dizziness is more of a symptom itself than a full-fledged condition. Nevertheless, there are certain signs that one needs to watch out for.

Keep looking out for the following:

  • Lightheadedness or a feeling of floating or swimming
  • The issue with motor skills, loss of balance, and the likes
  • A spinning sensation
  • Fainting spell if the sensations are intense

Extreme cases may experience nausea and vomiting accompanied by swooning or fainting. While small spells are fine and normal, in case someone is experiencing these spells for a longer period and on a periodic basis, medical consultation is required.

Causes of Dizziness

Dizziness can be caused by some common factors, most of them involving either genetic issues or lifestyle choices.

Here are some of the medical conditions that trigger it:

  • Benign positional vertigo can cause dizziness for a short time, especially when there is a sudden change in position.
  • Meniere’s disease can also trigger the condition due to fluid buildup in the ear.
  • Acoustic neuroma, a kind of cancerous tumor that affects the nerve that connects the brain and ear, can also trigger dizziness.

Apart from these medical reasons, here are a few other causes:

The affected person may feel a spinning sensation in the head, often to the point of causing a fainting spell, if it is severe.

Risk Factors of Dizziness

Here are a few risk factors that can escalate the chances of a person feeling dizzy:

  • If you have had a medical history of dizziness which has induced issues such as seizures, you are prone to getting it in the future as well.
  • Genetics may also play a part here. If you have a family history of issues triggered by dizziness, you may inherit them.
  • Senior citizens and older adults are more prone to getting it as there are chances of multiple health conditions that a person experiences with aging.

Diagnosis

A diagnosis and the subsequent treatment usually depend on the type of dizziness a person may be suffering from. Most of the time, doctors ask about the medical history of the patient and also about the symptoms and the specific kind of dizziness that they may be experiencing.

After that, a few balancing and hearing tests are conducted for a better examination:

  • Posturography is a test that determines the most important parts of your balancing system and which are the problematic ones. It is a simple procedure which involves the patient standing bare feet on a platform and trying to maintain balance.
  • Eye movement testing requires a person to track the movements of a suspended object.
  • Eye motion test involves water or air placement inside the ear canal.
  • Rotary chair testing is a procedure wherein the patient sits in a computer-controlled chair that gradually moves to complete a circle.
  • In case there is a possibility of dizziness being a result of vertigo, a head movement test is conducted.

In addition, the doctor may also suggest a few blood tests. If the doctor suspects something severe, MRI or CT scans may be ordered too.

dizziness

Treatment of Dizziness

The treatment for dizziness depends on the intensity and seriousness of it. Most of the time, simple lightheadedness can get cured on its own in a few weeks.

However, in more serious cases when you seek medical attention, doctors usually recommend a few medicines and exercises. In the most severe cases, surgical procedures can be undertaken too.

Therapy

  • In the case of anxiety disorders, psychotherapy is recommended.
  • Balance therapy is recommended so that the entire balance system becomes a little less sensitive to motion.
  • Canalith repositioning or Epley maneuver is used to get rid of dizziness caused due to benign paroxysmal positional vertigo.

Medicine

  • Doctors prescribe certain drugs that can provide relief from dizziness and nausea which stem from vertigo, such as anticholinergics and antihistamines.
  • Some anti-anxiety medications can be prescribed as well, in case dizziness stems from mental health issues.
  • In case the dizziness occurs due to migraine or Meniere’s disease, relevant medicines can be prescribed.

Surgical options

  • Labyrinthectomy of one ear is conducted in case the condition is severe. In such cases, the other ear usually takes up the balance function for both ears.
  • Gentamicin, an antibiotic is inserted in the infected ear to get rid of the balance function in it, so that the other ear can take over the function.

Lifestyle Changes and Home Remedies

As mentioned, dizziness in most cases can get cured on its own. However, it depends on the intensity and severity of the condition. One has to be cautious and observe certain lifestyle changes and home remedies to make sure the dizziness reduces or goes away. Consider the following:

  • Sit down immediately when you experience a spell.
  • Avoid sudden and jerk movements as they can trigger dizziness.
  • Be aware and cautious of your balancing movements.
  • Do not drive when you are experiencing frequent spells of dizziness.
  • Eat a healthy diet and keep yourself hydrated.
  • Make sure you get enough sleep.
  • Avoid any kind of stress.
  • Identify the cause and consult your doctor for the recommended course of action or lifestyle change. For instance, if your dizziness or drowsiness is being caused by medication, ask for a lower dosage. If it is caused by overheating, drink water and rest in a cool place.
  • Try making your home fall-proof. This means, creating a safe home, just in case you lose your balance every now and then due to dizziness. This will ensure your fall doesn’t turn fatal.

The home remedies and lifestyle changes are quite basic and can be easily followed. These can be life-saving. Always consult your doctor if you’re worried that dizziness is a sign of a more serious condition.

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Sources

Dizziness / https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/dizziness/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20371792 Accessed September 13, 2021

Dizziness – Symptoms and Causes

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/dizziness/symptoms-causes/syc-20371787

Accessed September 13, 2021

Dizziness: What it is, causes, and management

https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/symptoms/6422-dizziness Accessed September 13, 2021

Dizziness – Diagnosis and Treatment

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/dizziness/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20371792 Accessed September 13, 2021

Dizziness

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/dizziness/ Accessed September 13, 2021

Vertigo

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vertigo/ Accessed September 13, 2021

Dizziness: A diagnostic approach

https://www.aafp.org/afp/2010/0815/p361.html Accessed September 13, 2021

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Written by Nikita Bhalla Updated 6 days ago
Fact Checked by Bianchi Mendoza, R.N.
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