Dizziness is a form of physical impairment whereby spatial perception and stability become compromised. Being dizzy entails feeling off-balance with the tendency to fall and lightheadedness. In some cases, a person will feel as if their surroundings are moving or spinning. This kind of dizziness is referred to as vertigo. Although dizziness is not a disease itself, it usually occurs as the consequence of other conditions, some of which may be life-threatening.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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