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Common Causes of Dizziness

Common Causes of Dizziness
Dizziness is a very broad term, and is mostly seen as an indication of an underlying malady. This article explains the reasons behind the occurrence of dizziness.
Marian K
Last Updated: Feb 7, 2018
Dizziness is a condition that is mostly defined differently by different people. Besides the usual fainting spells, symptoms of dizziness include lightheadedness, nausea, temporary loss of vision, sweating, etc. Diagnosing the reason behind dizziness requires a careful study of the symptoms.
Therefore, doctors mostly rely on the description of the fainting spell to diagnose the exact reason causing it.
In most cases, a dizzy spell is brought upon due to a decrease in blood supply to the brain. In others, it could be less complicated, like dehydration. These factors, along with others are described below.
Factors Causing Dizziness
A dizzy spell can cause many people to panic, as it may indicate the presence of an underlying condition. However, there are times when one feels dizzy as a result of something as simple as being exhausted, or having missed a meal. Therefore, it is necessary to identify the cause in order to begin the right course of treatment.
Low Blood Pressure
A sudden dip in the systolic blood pressure can lead to a sensation of lightheadedness. In order to function normally, the brain requires a constant supply of oxygen. A drop in the blood pressure level causes the brain to be deprived of oxygen, and results in a fainting spell. Low blood pressure can be a symptom of an underlying problem, such as anemia.
Dehydration
Dehydration is characterized by loss of water in the body. There are several reasons that cause dehydration, including excessive sweating, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, etc. Severe dehydration can cause a person to faint, so it is necessary to keep consuming fluids like water, juices, and health drinks at regular intervals. Prolonged dehydration may require hospitalization.
Vertigo
Vertigo is characterized by a spinning sensation or a feeling of imbalance. It is usually caused by a disorder of the inner ear or vestibular system, which leads to a disruption of the body's equilibrium. Vertigo may be accompanied by vomiting, nausea, and loss of balance. Other causes of vertigo include vestibular migraine, Meniere's disease, and acoustic neuroma.
Stroke
Dizziness is one of the foremost symptom of a heat stroke. Prolonged exposure to extreme heat, high humidity, or vigorous exertion under the sun can lead to a heat stroke in many. While a heat stroke is a serious medical emergency, milder forms of the illness called heat exhaustion or heat cramps also cause dizziness.
Cardiac Problems
When the heart beats either too quickly (tachycardia) or too slowly (bradycardia), it leads to an irregular supply of blood to the brain, causing dizziness. Feeling faint is also a symptom of cardiomyopathy, a disease that affects the muscles in the heart.
Side Effects of Medication
Certain medications block the adrenaline receptors in the heart, which may limit the heart rate from increasing, thus causing dizziness. Blood pressure medications, certain antibiotics, sedatives, pain relievers, tranquilizers and antidepressants list dizziness as a possible side effect. Consuming diuretics can cause dehydration, slow the heart rate, and induce a fainting spell.
Hypertension
Dizziness in people with hypertension can be alarming, especially if it is accompanied with a rise in the blood pressure and chest pain. This may be an indication of a stroke or a heart attack. Emergency medical services must be summoned at the earliest in such situations.
Diabetes
Hypoglycemia or low blood sugar levels can cause a diabetic person to faint. The low levels of glucose interfere with the functioning of the brain, and lead to dizziness and disorientation. The affected person must immediately be given sugar-rich food items or a glucagon injection in such a condition. Hyperglycemia or high blood sugar level may also, at times, cause dizziness.
Pregnancy
Dizziness during pregnancy, especially during the first trimester, is fairly common. It may also be experienced anytime throughout the duration of the pregnancy. Women with blood pressure problems have been observed to experience it more often.
Tips to Handle Dizziness
As explained earlier, lightheadedness, dizziness or vertigo is caused due to different reasons, so the course of treatment would vary accordingly. However, there are certain precautions that can be taken at the onset of a fainting spell to avoid any accident.
  • If you're feeling dizzy, try to keep calm and remain in the same position. Sudden movements can cause a loss of balance.
  • If you have to move, do so very slowly, and avoid moving all of a sudden.
  • Take the support of a sturdy piece of furniture or a wall to walk.
  • It is advisable to lie down or be seated in a comfortable position until the dizzy sensation passes over.
  • Always keep your doctor's contact details handy in case you need to call him.
A dizzy spell is best treated with a period of rest. However, frequent bouts of dizziness should not be ignored. Consult your doctor at the earliest if you have often been experiencing dizzy spells.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.
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