Dizziness refers to any sensation of unsteadiness. A person experiencing it might feel weak, faint, or woozy. It is often accompanied by a feeling of movement, either one of spinning or floating, despite the lack of any actual movement. Dizziness is a symptom of many conditions, a few of them serious but the majority, minor.
What Causes Dizziness?
When the body’s balance and sensory systems transmit false signals to the brain, it incorrectly interprets a sense of movement, resulting in dizziness. These signals originate in the inner ear, eyes, or sensory nerves, and are affected by conditions such as low blood pressure, anemia, dehydration, heart disorders, bleeding, and medications (e.g. beta blockers or nitroglycerin). A person may feel lightheadedness or faint. Vertigo – a false perception of motion – is another common experience. Dizziness may be accompanied by confusion, disorientation, nausea, or vomiting.
Some of the more common conditions that can cause dizziness include high blood pressure, hypotension (a lack of blood to the head when getting up from a lying position), hyperventilation, heart conditions, and endocrine system disorders such as diabetes, Thyroid disease, and Addison’s disease.
How is Dizziness Treated?
It is important to evaluate the condition that is causing dizziness, keeping in mind that it’s a symptom rather than a disease. A thorough physical exam and a series of diagnostic tests may be needed to determine the exact cause. Treatment could involve medication, surgery, physical or occupational therapy, or vestibular rehabilitation. Sometimes, successful treatment entails making a few simple lifestyle changes.