Dizziness refers to the state of feeling light headed, unsteady etc. When dizziness causes you a feeling that everything around you is spinning it is known as vertigo. Dizziness is usually followed by fatigue, chest pain and inability to do anything. Dizziness is never a symptom of a life threatening disease.
1) Sense of spinning
2) Light headedness
3) Loss of balance
4) Sense of floating, swimming etc.
If a person experiences dizziness or vertigo along with blurred vision, stiff neck, weakness in arms, legs or if the dizziness was caused as a result of an accident you have to see the doctor immediately.
The dizziness may be caused by different causes. They are explained below.
Vertigo: Changes in the activities of balance structures may cause vertigo. Severe vertigos can cause vomiting, nausea and balance problems. But generally vertigo does not last more than two or three weeks. By this time the body adapts to the new situation. Vertigo can be caused by many reasons. Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) is a type of vertigo caused by the change of position of your head. Changes in your head position when you sit up in the morning or when you turn over are examples of change of head positions. Inflammation of the inner ear (acute vestibular neuritis) can cause vertigo which may not be long lasting and clears on its own. Meniere’s disease which is characterized by the buildup of fluid in the ear is another disease that can causevertigo.
Feeling of faintness: Dizziness may lead to fainting without losing your consciousness.This type of dizziness is caused by low blood pressure and inadequate supply of blood from the heart.
Loss of balance: You may feel unsteady while you walk because of any one of the following reasons
1) Abnormalities or infections in the upper ear can cause balance problems.
2) Sensory problems: Loss of vision or damages caused to the nerves of the leg can cause balance problems
3) Muscles and joint problems: As you grow older arthritis may develop in the joints and muscles may weaken leading to problems in balancing.
4) Neurological problems: Neurological problems like Parkinson’s disease and damages to nerves can also lead to balance problems.
5) Medications: Loss of balance may also be caused as a result of the side effects of certain medications.
6) Other dizzy effects like feeling of floating, swimming etc. This kind of dizzy effects are usually caused by mediations, anxiety disorders, low iron levels, ear infections etc.
Doctor may conduct a physical examination of your body by making you lie on your side. He may also conduct the following tests.
Eye movement test: In this test the doctor may ask you to follow a moving object and the movement of your eyes will be watched by him. Another test known as calorie test in which warm and cold water are passed through your auditory canals and eye movements are recorded may also be conducted in place of eye movement test.
Posturography testing: In this test you are allowed to stand on a platform barefooted and try to keep balanced under various conditions.
Rotary chair testing: This is test conducted by making you sit on computer controlled chair
There are different treatment options for balance problems. The cause of the balance problem is the deciding factor in selecting the treatment option most suited for your problem.
Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV): The balance problem caused by BPPV can be effectively treated by repositioning your head by a procedure known as canalith repositioning. One or two repositioning will help you to solve the problem.
Inner ear problems: Vestibular rehabilitation is a process comprising of physical exercises which will be taught by a physiotherapist for practicing at home. For immediate relief medications including corticosteroids may be prescribed by your doctor.
Meniere’s diseases: Treatment for Meniere’s disease includes steps to reduce your body’s fluid retention capacity. Low salt diet is advised. Injections through ear drums or surgery are also treatment options available for this disease.
Vestibular migraine: For treating vertigo caused due to vestibular migraine your doctor may suggest focusing on diet and good sleep and exercises. Certain medications are also available for this balance problems caused by vestibular migraine.