Feeling dizzy, rapid reeling sensation, a whirling sensation in the head or feeling of losing balance? It could strike all of a sudden while lying down, sitting, standing, when looking down from a tall building, after a roller coaster ride etc.
Referred to as dizziness, it isn't a serious concern if small episode is experienced at some time. But if constant dizziness strikes for unknown reason and interferes with daily activities, it's time to seek medical attention. Dizziness symptoms like dizziness and nausea, dizziness and headache, dizziness and balance, tracking dizzy spells determine further course of action.
Dizziness symptoms may come and go may last few seconds, hours, or days.
Types of dizziness
Dizziness is a broad term. There are many instances when individuals use the words dizzy, dizzy spells to express reactions. For example, the sight of blood can make some feel dizzy. Other instances are when standing still for long, while having flu or cold, due to seasickness or motion sickness or when too exhausted or when emotionally drained and upset. Even exhaustion or hunger can result in sudden dizziness.
Pregnant women experience morning dizziness with/without nausea and vomiting sensation. For relief, prepare and drink a mixture of two teaspoons of wheat germ with lukewarm milk. The easiest way to take control of morning dizziness is to extend time of rest and sleep further. There are other instances when sudden morning dizziness strikes.
Morning dizziness may be related to regular dizziness. In each instance, the word 'dizzy' means different things to different people. In the absence of a specific meaning, dizziness types are categorized into four conditions. Severity of dizziness determines condition.
Faintness/lightheadedness: In medical terms, faintness or lightheadedness is known as presyncope. The person is likely to feel lightheaded and faint. This type of dizzy spell is more common in children and young teenagers. Dizziness and nausea, dizziness and vomiting, dizziness and sweating, shortness of breath and pale skin are associated symptoms that may accompany a feeling of faintness.
Loss of balance: Otherwise known as disequilibrium, the individual will experience a feeling of unsteadiness while walking.
Vertigo: The individual is likely to express a spinning sensation when there is no motion, tilting or swaying or feeling off balance.
Anxiety: The word 'dizzy' is often used to express feelings such as being scared, depressed or afraid of open spaces. In all, the individual is expressing an anxious state of mind.
Dizziness may be temporary or chronic. Dizzy spells that last for more than a month is considered to be chronic dizziness. Though dizziness or dizzy spells can occur at any age, chronic dizziness is common amongst older people. In terms of duration, some experience dizzy spells just for few seconds, for some constant dizziness is so intense that it knocks them down. Even a random dizzy spell can impact confidence level because you never know when it will strike again as it can happen anywhere, anytime.
The cause can be very simple like delayed mealtime or standing up too quickly or due to exhaustion or severe infection. Some causes are benign and others more serious. In most cases, dizziness is harmless. In some cases, it could be a symptom of an underlying health problem. Each type of dizziness tends to have characteristic causes.
Causes of Lightheadedness
Causes of disequilibrium/loss of balance
Causes of vertigo
Vestibular imbalance, an imbalance in the inner part of the ear is a major cause of Vertigo. There are health conditions that contribute as well certain factors that can result in vestibular imbalance.
Other causes: Intake of certain medications like anti-depressants, anti-seizure drugs, drugs to control high blood pressure, sedatives and tranquilizers may cause sudden dizziness. General health problems such as thyroid deficiency, vitamin deficiency, diabetes, anemia, and immune system diseases are other possible causes.
Time to seek medical help
There are times when sudden dizziness and dizzy spells just go away without signs of recurrence. Such cases do not require a doctor's consultation. Being aware of such instances is important. For example, when a new medication is taken, you may experience sudden dizziness. It's quite common to experience side effects for the first few doses when certain antibiotics, heart medications and anti-seizure medications are taken. Adjusting the dosage or substituting another medication usually solves the problem. If dizzy spells are caused due to a common disorder like benign paroxysmal positional vertigo, simply turn the head a certain way to get relief.
If dizziness or vertigo, dizziness or lightheadedness, dizziness or disequillibrium persists, you should seek medical attention immediately. Monitor and record the symptoms. Take it along and explain in detail to the medical practitioner. If constant dizziness is associated with chest pain, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, changes in vision or speech, serious head injury, leg or arm weakness, loss of consciousness that lasts for few minutes, it is best to seek emergency medical attention. It may imply a serious health condition. An in-depth diagnosis is urgently required.
Diagnostic tests that may be required include measuring blood pressure, ECG, hearing tests, neurological tests, balance testing and MRI. Many disorders can be treated with medication, surgery, diet, a change in lifestyle, or a combination of these.
Treatment for dizziness
Treatment for constant and sudden dizziness depends largely on dizziness symptoms and underlining cause. If diagnostic tests are recommended, the test results will decide treatment solution. Treatment recommendations can be one or a combination of the following.
Home remedies to relieve constant dizziness
Simple changes in diet after identifying triggers can help gain relief from dizziness. Maintain a journal. Record the effectiveness and over a period of time you will find what works best for respective dizziness type. Here are general home care measures and specific for a particular type of constant dizziness.
Being aware that you are prone to sudden dizziness is the foremost aspect of combating dizziness. Maintaining a journal and tracking down dizzy spells helps to understand the associated aspects such as triggers and duration of constant dizziness. Precautionary measures should be aimed at reducing the chances of recurrent dizzy spells.