Dizziness is a symptom that is characterized by a sensation of unsteadiness or loss of balance, and can affect sensory organs, especially eyes and ears. In some cases, it can lead to fainting, but it must be noted that dizziness is not a disease in itself, but a symptom of other health problems, often insignificant.
Possible Causes of Dizziness
The most common causes of dizziness include internal ear disorders, taking certain medications, or excessive alcohol consumption. Episodes of short-term dizziness can also be caused by benign paroxysmal vertigo, a condition resulting from the accumulation of residuals in the inner ear.
Also, dizziness and feeling of unsteadiness may also be symptoms of Meniere’s disease, migraines, or acoustic neurinoma, a benign brain tumor that develops on the vestibular nerve. In rare cases, dizziness and vertigo may be the consequences of a stroke, cerebral haemorrhage, multiple sclerosis or other neurological disorders.
Other causes of dizziness can be:
- A sudden drop in blood pressure;
- Heart diseases;
- Lowering blood pressure;
- Neurological disorders;
- The adverse effects of certain drugs;
- Anxiety disorders;
- Anemia (iron deficiency);
- Hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar);
- Ear infections;
The symptoms of dizziness
Dizziness can be recognized relatively easily by these symptoms:
- Loss of balance;
- Feeling like “floating”;
- Feeling your head very heavy
Sometimes, dizziness can be accompanied by excessive sweating, nausea, vomiting, pallor or, in rare cases, loss of consciousness.
Physical examination is usually the most common tool used by doctors to determine the diagnosis of dizziness. Your doctor will ask you questions about when you feel dizzy, what symptoms you experienced and their severity. Also, your doctor may examine your eyes and ears, but also your posture, to check your balance.
Depending on the suspected cause, the doctor may recommend a computed tomography or an MRI. In most situations, however, the underlying cause of dizziness is not severe, so treatment usually involves changes in lifestyle and administration or avoidance of certain drugs.
When dizziness can be a medical emergency
If dizziness episodes occur frequently and are accompanied by sore throat, headache, blurred vision, hearing loss and motor impairment, loss of consciousness or chest pain, seek emergency medical attention. These symptoms may indicate a serious health problem.
Complications of dizziness
Dizziness can lead to serious complications, especially when it causes fainting or loss of balance. This can be particularly dangerous, especially if the person experiencing it is driving. If you feel dizzy, immediately stop the car and either call someone or wait until you feel ready to go.
To prevent dizziness, it is advisable to rest properly, follow a balanced diet and avoid excessive coffee, tobacco and alcohol consumption.
How to treat dizziness
Generally, dizziness disappears on its own without specific treatment. Within a few weeks, the body adjusts to the factors that triggered dizziness, and this symptom disappears. Sometimes, dizziness is treated according to the cause that triggered it – for example, Meniere’s syndrome is treated with diuretic drugs that will reduce dizziness.
Antihistamines can also be used to treat dizziness, but they have the side effect of sleepiness. Anxiolytics, as well as headache pills, can also be used to treat this symptom.