Dizziness / Vertigo - Loss of
Dizziness or being dizzy - It's
an odd feeling and one that is hard to explain to someone who
hasn't experienced it. Explaining being dizzy is like trying
to explain what yellow is to someone who has never had sight.
Feeling dizzy is a subjective
experience. While some would explain it as being unsteady,
someone else would explain it in visual terms like they are
spinning. Others would describe feeling dizzy as being
light-headed and ready to faint.
Vertigo is described similarly,
but more like everything else is spinning. Because these
terms are actually fairly vague and man of they symptoms are the
same, we shall group them all together. Both dizziness and
vertigo can be caused by a wide variety of things including being
sick, blood pressure disorders, or blocked ears.
Typical symptoms of dizziness
Additional signs of dizziness
Loss of Balance
Dizziness can be caused by
problems with the inner ear. Inside the ear are canals
filled with liquid. Movement and head position is primarily
measured in the inner ear and this then corroborated by what the
person sees. When the inner ear and the eyes don't agree,
Causes of dizziness
- Inner ear problems -
Dizziness is caused by problems in the inner ear in about half
of all cases of "persistent dizziness". Inner ear
disorders that cause people to be dizzy include Meniere's
disease, benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV),
vestibular neuritis, labyrinthitis and acoustic neuroma.
- Anxiety - About 15
percent of cases of dizziness are caused by anxiety issues,
including panic attacks and phobias.
- Brain (neuro and vascular)
disorders - Brain problems account for about five per cent
of dizziness cases. Brain disorders that can cause dizziness
include stroke, migraine, Parkinson's disease, and brain tumors.
- Medical conditions -
Dizziness can also be caused by medical conditions like as low
blood pressure, infection, hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) and
some heart problems (such as cardiac arrhythmia). Medications
that are used to treat conditions such as epilepsy, coronary
heart disease and high blood pressure can also cause dizziness
in some people.
- Other factors - While
the above factors are the largest contributors to dizziness,
other factors include motion sickness, marijuana use,
withdrawing from alcohol, fibromyalgia, and being over-heated.
- Unknown causes - in
about a quarter of cases, a cause isn't found.
Depending on the reason for
dizziness, the cause may be diagnosed using a variety of methods:
- Personal medical history and
intensive question and answer about health and lifestyle
- Physical examination
- Hearing tests
- Fasting blood glucose test
- Tests to check the structures
of the inner ear
- CT or MRI scans of the brain,
if conditions such as stroke or tumor are suspected
- Angiogram to check blood flow
to the brain
- Electroencephalogram (EEG), if
epilepsy is suspected (not a biggie for seniors
Treatment for dizziness depends
on the cause of the problem. If it is an inner ear
infection, antibiotics would probably be prescribed. The
prescription for emotional issues would include counseling and
perhaps some anti-anxiety medications. In cases where a cause for
the dizziness can't be found, treatment options may include:
Things to remember
- Bed rest
- Medications to reduce the
dizziness or the effects
- Anti-nausea and anti-inflammatory
- Most cases of dizziness are
caused by problems of the inner ear, brain, or nerves that
connect the inner ear to the brain.
- Causes of dizziness include
viral or bacterial infection of the inner ear, nerve
inflammation, stroke, and anxiety disorders such as panic
- In about a quarter of cases, a
cause for dizziness isn't found.
End - Dizziness / Vertigo -
Loss of Balance