Dizziness: Symptoms, Causes & Treatment

What is Dizziness?

Dizziness is a broad term used to describe the feeling of being weak, unsteady, lightheaded, etc. It makes one feel as if the surroundings are moving or spinning. It can either be a symptom of general weakness or a severe condition.

What Does it Mean to be Dizzy?

Dizziness can be felt disoriented or room spinning. It is important to note what different sensations may indicate to describe one’s feeling of dizziness correctly.

Disequilibrium

In this case, the person loses his balance and falls; it is termed as disequilibrium. The affected person may move left or right, which is swagger like a drunk. 

There are many conditions associated with disequilibrium. It could either be due to:

  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Guillain-Barre syndrome
  • Peripheral nerve disease
  • Autoimmune diseases of the nerves

Vertigo

The world around you seems like a spinning. It makes you feel nauseated and vomit. This indicates you are suffering from vertigo. 

There are many causes of vertigo. This may include:

  • Meniere’s disease 
  • Migraine
  • Allergy
  • Injury(People who suffer from trauma, injury, or are hit on the skull may suffer from damage of the inner ear. This may lead to nausea, dizziness, and loss of hearing.)
  • Labyrinthitis
  • Vestibular neuritis

Lightheadedness

Also, called presyncope, it is a feeling of sudden muscle weakness and clammy. Most of us may have experienced this after getting up too quickly from the supine position. 

Lightheadedness occurs when the blood supply to the brain is reduced. There are many reasons for feeling lightheaded like:

  • Hardening of arteries or arteriosclerosis
  • Heart diseases
  • Hypoglycemia
  • Anemia
  • Consumption of too much nicotine or caffeine
  • Disorders affecting the autonomic nervous system
  • Stroke
  • Anxiety or emotional stress

Symptoms of Dizziness

Dizziness is a broad term, and every person can have his/her own specific set of symptoms. It is better to describe to the doctor the specific sensation you felt when feeling dizzy. This will help in better diagnosis of the underlying condition. 

Some of the symptoms include:

  • The feeling of motion or spinning
  • Loss of balance or unsteady gait
  • Lightheadedness or fainting
  • Heavy headedness
  • The feeling of floating in the air
  • Severe headache
  • Blurred of vision
  • Stiff neck
  • Chest pain
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Weakness in arms or legs
  • Trouble speaking

Common Causes of Dizziness

There are many causes of feeling lightheaded or dizzy. Some of the common causes of dizziness include:

  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Seizures
  • Low blood pressure
  • Viral flu or cold infection
  • Low blood sugar
  • Dehydration
  • Stroke
  • Internal bleeding
  • Shock
  • Heart attack
  • Brain tumor
  • Arrhythmia

Diagnosis of dizziness

To determine the cause of dizziness, the doctor may suggest a few tests. These tests will require you to tilt your head or sleep in a particular position. Some of the tests include:

  • Eye movement test
  • Balance test
  • MRI

Treatment of dizziness

Dizziness is treated by curing the underlying problems that lead to this sensation.

Some of the treatments include:

  • Treatment of inner ear ailments
  • Medications like diazepam, meclizine, etc.
  • Treating Meniere’s disease
  • Medicines that help in giving relief from migraine
  • Treatment of infections of the ear

Dizziness is not always a sign of something serious. Nevertheless, one should call the family physician if he/she experiencing repeated episodes of dizziness.

Dizziness can lead to injury or accidents. This is because, for a moment, you lose the coordination between your body and mind.

Tests and clinical evaluation will help find the root cause of repeated dizzy spells and their treatment.