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Dizziness is a symptom that causes spatial perception and stability to be compromised. A person who feels dizzy may feel off-balance and lightheaded, as though they are going to fall, or their surroundings are moving or spinning. These specific symptoms may be diagnosed as vertigo. Dizziness is not a disease in itself, but it is a common symptom of many conditions, so of which are serious.

Certain Medication

Diuretics, hypertension pills, opiates, or drugs that dilate blood vessels may cause dizziness. However, these aren't the only medications that can cause one to feel off balance. Over-the-counter antihistamines used to treat allergies can cause lightheadedness or dizziness. People who experience unexplained dizziness should check with a doctor to determine whether a medication could be the cause.

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Anemia

People with anemia are more prone to fatigue than dizziness, although some complain of the latter as well. Anemia may lead to a deficiency in red blood cells that carry oxygen to the brain, thus causing lightheadedness. Alternately, a Vitamin B12 deficiency may cause anemia and the production of abnormally large and dysfunctional red blood cells, again impeding oxygen-rich blood flow to the brain.

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Hypotension

Hypotension, an abnormal drop in blood pressure, is a common cause of dizziness. In most such cases, the dizziness tends to occur for a short period, with sudden changes in position. For instance, those with hypotension will feel lightheaded upon getting up from lying down or standing up from a sitting position. These are the moments when blood pressure drops suddenly, and you feel dizzy.

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Hypoglycemia

Low blood sugar or hypoglycemia also tends to cause dizzy spells. When the blood sugar levels drop below 70 mg/dL, one may begin feeling dizzy, alongside other symptoms such as weakness, fatigue, and sweating. It is not just people with chronic hypoglycemia that are prone to dizziness due to low blood sugar levels. Skipping meals can leave anyone feeling unbalanced for this reason.

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A Migraine

It is common for those experiencing frequent migraine headaches to feel dizzy. About one-third of people with this condition report having bouts of vertigo as well, especially after the onset of a migraine headache. In some cases, dizziness may not entail the sensation of perceived motion but occur as a feeling of disequilibrium and loss of balance.

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Hormonal Changes

Changes in hormonal balance in the bloodstream also affect physical stability and equilibrium. When hormonal changes take place, especially in women during ovulation or menstruation, dizziness may occur. Though this is not a very common occurrence, women with conditions such as hypotension or hypoglycemia may experience dizziness during specific periods of their menstrual cycle.

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Pregnancy

Pregnant women also tend to suffer from dizziness and fainting spells during the early months. This sign primarily occurs due to hormonal changes, though in some cases, this may develop due to low blood sugar or a nutritional deficiency. Dizziness in pregnant women, though not uncommon, should not be taken lightly; it may affect the health of the fetus.

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Motion Sickness

Motion sickness is due to a disjunction between perceived movement and the vestibular system's sense of motion. People prone to motion sickness generally feel dizzy and nauseous while traveling in cars, ships, airplanes, or other motion-inducing forms of travel. As soon as the vehicular movement stops, the dizziness tends to ease.

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Panic Attack

Those prone to panic attacks may feel dizzy right before an episode. Presumably, with the increase of stress levels, the person begins breathing too rapidly (a common, unconscious tendency). This leads to changes in blood pH or acid-base balance that can bring on anxiety and panic. However, controlling stress levels can reduce and even prevent dizziness, as well as panic attacks.

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Heart Attack

During the onset of a heart attack, some people feel dizzy. With cardiac function compromised in such a situation, the brain does not receive adequate oxygenated blood. This sign produces a feeling of lightheadedness, among other symptoms.

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Inner Ear Disorders

Inner ear problems such as vestibular neuritis, labyrinthitis, Meniere's disease, and benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) may significantly contribute to dizziness. These conditions disrupt the inner ear's vital role in maintaining balance, leading to a range of symptoms from mild disorientation to severe vertigo. Understanding these disorders aids in effective diagnosis and treatment, with the aim of restoring the delicate balance of the inner ear's functioning.

ear wall at entrance to inner ear with water drops of a asian boy with black hair

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Dehydration

Often overlooked as a reason for dizziness, dehydration can significantly impact your sense of balance. When the body lacks adequate fluids, your blood volume decreases, leading to lower blood pressure and reduced oxygen supply to the brain. This imbalance can manifest as lightheadedness or dizziness, highlighting the importance of regular hydration for maintaining your bodily functions and equilibrium.

Young man suffering from strong headache or migraine sitting with glass of water in the kitchen, millennial guy feeling intoxication and pain touching aching head, morning after hangover concept

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Orthostatic Hypotension

Orthostatic hypotension, a form of low blood pressure that occurs when you stand up quickly, can lead to sudden dizziness or faintness. This condition underscores the body's sometimes inadequate response to gravitational changes, which sometimes affect blood flow and oxygen delivery to the brain. Awareness and timely management of orthostatic hypotension may help you prevent falls and maintain stability.

Orthostatic hypotension (neurological disorder) diagnosis medical concept on tablet screen with stethoscope.

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Ear Infections and Equilibrium

Ear infections can directly affect your balance, leading to dizziness and disorientation. Each part of the ear plays a critical role in processing signals that contribute to our sense of balance. When infections disrupt this process, it can result in a feeling of spinning or unsteadiness. For instance, middle ear infections that become severely inflamed may spread to the inner ear, creating feelings of vertigo and spinning. Swimmer's ear may also cause issues by deforming sound waves coming through the ear, causing balance problems. Treating these infections promptly is essential to restore balance, prevent further complications, and reduce the risks of falling during everyday activities.

Vertigo illness concept. Man hands on his head felling headache dizzy sense of spinning dizziness,a problem with the inner ear, brain, or sensory nerve pathway.

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Neurological Conditions

Neurological conditions such as multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, and stroke can manifest dizziness as a symptom, reflecting the brain's integral role in maintaining balance. These conditions can alter the way the brain processes information from the sensory systems, leading to challenges in coordination and spatial orientation. Understanding, managing, and preparing for occurrences of these symptoms often improves your quality of life when you have a neurological condition.

Brain disease diagnosis with medical doctor seeing Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) film diagnosing elderly ageing patient neurodegenerative illness problem for neurological medical treatment

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Age-Related Dizziness

As we age, the decline in the function of our sensory systems can lead to more frequent experiences of dizziness. This age-related dizziness often occurs due to a combination of factors, including changes in vision, inner ear function, and proprioception. Recognizing and addressing these changes can help older adults maintain their balance and prevent falls, supporting safer and more independent living.

Close up old disabled woman sit in wheel chair taking off glasses closed eyes reduces eyestrain suffers from headache feels exhausted. Poor vision, age-related eye problems, glaucoma, dry eyes concept

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Head Injuries

Head injuries, ranging from mild concussions to more severe damage, such as a traumatic brain injury, can significantly affect the inner ear or brain, leading to dizziness. The impact can disrupt the delicate mechanisms that help us stay balanced and oriented in our environment, even long after the original head injury. Prompt assessment and treatment of head injuries may help mitigate these effects and support recovery, emphasizing the importance of awareness and protecting yourself during activity with safety gear like bike helmets.

Young man with trauma of the head

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Disclaimer

This site offers information designed for educational purposes only. You should not rely on any information on this site as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or as a substitute for, professional counseling care, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other healthcare professional.