Dizziness is a sense of feeling lightheaded or unsteady or woozy that is often accompanied by sensations of swaying, tilting, whirling, spinning, floating or moving which is also described as vertigo. Dizziness can hit even when you are lying down absolutely still.
Our body’s balance maintenance system is very complex. If the body parts like muscles, joints, eyes and inner ear get diseased or if that part of the brain that consolidates and analyses signals received from these parts is affected then dizziness can occur. Inner ear disorders show up as one of the more common causes of dizziness.
Occasional dizziness is not worrisome. However, a doctor should be visited if repeated episodes of dizziness is experienced for no apparent reason or for a prolonged period.
Causes of Dizziness
- Meniere’s syndrome – This syndrome is connected to the inner ear’s fluid balance regulatory system. In this condition, the patient gets attack-like episodes that can last from 20 minutes to 24 hours.
- Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) –The inner ear’s balancing section has delicate sensory units. BPPV can occur if these sensory units are damaged.
- Vestibular neuritis (labyrinthitis) – This condition occurs due to inflammation of the inner ear nerve cells which are responsible for balance-controlling.
- In some cases, dizziness can also result from medications such as those prescribed for seizure disorders (e.g., carbamazepine, phenytoin) or sedatives and antidepressant drugs.
- Dizziness can also result from medicines prescribed for inner ear infections (e.g. gentamicin, streptomycin).
Alcohol intake can also cause dizziness.
- Feeling lightheaded or feeling faint.
- A sense of spinning even while being still.
- Feeling Unsteady
- Experiencing loss of balance
- Having a sense of floating
Precautions & Treatments
- If hit by dizziness, it is recommended to visit an ENT physician, who will undertake the required tests and investigations and may also consult other specialists. Once the underlying cause is diagnosed, suitable treatment is given.
- For treating Meniere’s syndrome, the doctor can prescribe anti-nausea and anti-vertigo medicines along with dietary and medication changes. If suffering from this condition It is advised to quit smoking. If the medical treatment is not effective or available then the patient might be advised to go for surgery.
- A patient suffering from Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV), can get complete relief by learning a few simple head and body repositioning manoeuvres that can be done anywhere.
- Vestibular neuritis (labyrinthitis) is completely treatable with medication without requiring any surgery. The ENT physician will most likely prescribe medications for relief from dizziness and nausea and will recommend a 6-8 weeks balance rehabilitation program.
- Often a patient might get injured during a dizzy spell, to prevent such injuries the following precautions are recommended: –
- Change positions or take turns slowly and gradually. It is better if there is something to hold onto while turning or changing positions.
- Installation of hand grips in bathrooms will also help minimize slips due to dizziness
- Always walk up and down the stairs holding onto the handrail.
- Avoid walking in the dark.
- Will have to be regular with the prescription medicines and will have to follow the prescribed diet.
- Balance improvement exercises such as yoga or tai chi can help a lot.
- If the condition is really bad, then a cane or a walker should be used for support on move.
- Wear footwear which is low -heeled, comfortable, flexible and gives good traction.
- Avoid driving, climbing, or any activity involving heights till the doctor gives an all-clear signal.