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Why Do You Feel Dizzy

Why Do You Feel Dizzy

The term 'dizziness' can be used to describe the sensation of lightheadedness, wherein the affected individual feels that he/she is about to faint, or vertigo, wherein one feels that he/she or the world around him/her is spinning. This HealthHearty write-up lists out the contributing factors for such a sensation.
HealthHearty Staff
Last Updated: Apr 23, 2018
Dizziness is a broad term which could be used to indicate lightheadedness, vertigo, or disequilibrium. Vertigo is a condition that is characterized by a sensation of a whirling motion wherein the affected individual either feels that he/she or his/her surroundings are spinning. This is indicative of problems associated with the vestibular system of the inner ear. Disequilibrium is a state wherein the affected individual feels unsteady on his/her feet. Lightheadedness is a reeling sensation wherein the affected individual feels that he/she is about to faint. It could be caused due to a wide range of reasons. The contributing factors for lightheadedness may not always be very serious, but medical assistance must be sought by those who have been feeling giddy every now and then. In such cases, it could be a sign of certain medical conditions.
Symptoms Associated with Dizziness
➞ A feeling of faintness but without experiencing spinning, nausea, sweating, palpitations (Lightheadedness)
➞ Whirling sensation, nausea, and vomiting (Vertigo)
➞ Unsteadiness
➞ Loss of balance
Other symptoms that might be experienced would vary, depending on the underlying cause. Therefore, it is essential to inform your healthcare provider about the symptoms that accompany dizziness.
Causes of Lightheadedness
Lightheadedness could occur due to a wide range of reasons. However, medical help must be sought in case one experiences recurring bouts of lightheadedness. The contributing factors could include:
➞ In some cases, the reason why one might be feeling dizzy could be orthostatic hypotension. This condition is caused due to a sudden drop in blood pressure that occurs when you suddenly get up from a seated or a supine position. However, this is not a very serious problem. Usually, the feeling of faintness resolves after lying down for sometime.
➞ Dehydration due to diarrhea, vomiting, fever, etc., could be responsible for making one feel lightheaded.
➞ Some drugs that are taken for the treatment of high blood pressure, breathing problems, pain, mental health problems, etc., could sometimes cause dizziness.
➞ Hyperventilation syndrome is another condition that is associated with dizziness and other symptoms such as sweating, palpitations, feeling of choking, wheezing, weakness, etc. It could be induced by anxiety and stress.
➞ Blood loss due to trauma could also cause one to feel lightheaded. Also, women affected by anemia due to menorrhagia (heavy and prolonged menstrual bleeding) could experience lightheadedness.
Causes of Vertigo
The vestibular system plays a vital role in our ability to maintain balance and equilibrium. The sensory information about motion, equilibrium, and spatial orientation is provided by the vestibular apparatus in the ear. However, when the labyrinth, which is a part of the inner ear that is actually responsible for sending messages to the brain, gets damaged or injured, the brain receives false messages. This gives rise to vertigo. Here are the contributing factors for this condition:
➞ Labyrinthitis, which is characterized by the inflammation of the labyrinth in the inner ear, is one of the major causes of vertigo. It is usually caused by a viral infection, which in turn might give rise to other symptoms such as loss of balance, tinnitus, inability to focus, hearing loss in one ear, nausea, vomiting, etc.
➞ Another cause of vertigo is damage or injury to the vestibular nerve, which is a nerve that carries messages from the inner ear to the brain. Vestibular nerve could get inflamed due to an infection, which in turn would disrupt the transmission of sensory information from the ear to the brain. This could give rise to symptoms such as difficulties with balance, unsteadiness, vertigo, dizziness, and difficulties with hearing or vision, etc.
➞ Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo occurs when the crystals in otolith organs break free and float inside the fluid-filled semicircular canals in the inner ear. As a result, one becomes sensitive to changes in head positions, which would otherwise not illicit a response. In such cases, one is likely to experience symptoms such as vertigo, dizziness, unsteadiness, lightheadedness, loss of balance, nausea, vomiting, blurred vision, etc.
➞ Vertigo could also occur due to a migraine, which in turn refers to a type of vascular headache that causes pain on one side of the head, nausea, vomiting, and light sensitivity.
➞ A feeling of fullness in the ear, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), hearing loss, and frequent episodes of vertigo are observed in individuals affected by Meniere's disease. This is an inner ear disorder that is believed to be linked to abnormal volume or composition of fluid in the inner ear.
➞ Some of the less common causes of dizziness or vertigo include brain tumor and cancer.
On a concluding note, dizzy spells could be caused by various conditions that may or may not be serious. For instance, women might complain about feeling giddy during pregnancy. Thus, medical help must be sought to determine the underlying cause, especially if the episodes occur every now and then.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.