Dizziness: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments
From time to time everyone experiences bouts of dizziness. Symptoms include an unsteady or spacey feeling, lightheadedness, and/or loss of balance. While dizziness sometimes comes from something as simple as standing up too quickly, it can also result from a number of health problems, ranging from minor to serious. Knowing what causes dizziness helps people access proper treatment and put an end to uncomfortable episodes.
Not getting enough fluids throughout the day can cause dizziness. Dehydration can result from a strenuous workout, extra-warm weather, or just forgetting to replenish fluids. The solution is as simple as rehydrating by drinking an adequate amount of water and a little rest. If the feeling hasn't subsided within 15 minutes, people should contact a medical professional.
Hypoglycemia occurs when low levels of glucose in the blood affect normal function. Episodes produce a range of symptoms like intense hunger, anxiety, sweaty or clammy skin, and dizziness.
Hypoglycemia is a common occurrence among people with diabetes. According to a review study published in the Public Library of Science, people with type 2 diabetes experience an average of 19 mild episodes and one severe bout of hypoglycemia each year. Drinking a glass of juice or eating complex carbohydrates like toast and jam help restore blood sugar levels quickly, making feelings of dizziness and other symptoms subside.
Benign Positional Vertigo
When people get out of bed and the room spins, they are most likely experiencing benign positional vertigo, or BPV. Due to changes in the inner ear, this condition becomes more common with age. In fact, according to the Vestibular Disorders Association, BPV is responsible for roughly 50% of the episodes of dizziness in people over the age of 50. To realign calcium carbonate crystals in the ears, doctors may suggest repositioning techniques for the head. Anti-nausea medication may also provide relief.
Stroke or Heart Attack
In addition to dizziness, people who have a stroke or mini-stroke may experience weakness on one side of the body; loss of movement, vision, hearing, or speech; blackout or memory loss; and/or severe headache. Individual experiencing a heart attack may feel chest pain or have profuse sweating; discomfort in the neck, jaw, or arm; and/or nausea.
People who experience any of these symptoms in combination with dizziness should get immediate medical help. Treatment for stroke or mini-stroke includes anticoagulants to break up clots and medications to lower blood pressure. Serious stroke may require surgery and/or additional treatment. Depending on the seriousness of a heart attack, treatment may include lifestyle changes, rehabilitation, medication, stents, or surgery.
Additional conditions that may cause dizziness include:
- Certain medications
- Ear Infection
- Low Blood Pressure
- Meniere’s Disease
Not a disease in itself, dizziness is a symptom of an underlying health problem. Occasional dizzy feelings are common and causes are usually not serious. However, people should seek medical help immediately if they experience any symptoms of stroke or heart attack, or if they experience recurring episodes of dizziness with no known cause.