Many of us become dizzy from time to time. You stand up too quickly and feel dizzy. You skip lunch and feel lightheaded by late afternoon. The term “dizziness” means different things to different people.
Dizziness is a broad term used to describe many feelings of being lightheaded or off-balance. Usually, it’s a minor issue that resolves when you lie down. However, if you have other symptoms that accompany the dizziness, it may be a sign of something more serious.
Although dizziness can occur in people of any age, it is more common among older adults. A fear of dizziness can cause older adults to limit their physical and social activities. Dizziness can also lead to falls and other injuries.
However, sometimes, dizziness is a word people often used to describe two different feelings. Thus lightheadedness or vertigo.
- Lightheadedness is a feeling that you are about to faint or “pass out.” Although you may feel dizzy, you do not feel as though you or your surroundings are moving. Lightheadedness often goes away or improves when you lie down.
- Vertigo is a feeling that you or your surroundings are moving when there is no actual movement. You may feel as though you are off balance, spinning, whirling, falling, or tilting. When you have severe vertigo, you may feel very nauseated or vomit. You may have trouble walking or standing, and you may lose your balance and fall.
Common causes of dizziness
Dizziness has many possible causes.
The most common causes of dizziness are outlined below.
- Ear infections such as labyrinthitis
- Migraine headaches
- Low blood sugar level (hypoglycaemia)
- Vertebrobasilar insufficiency
Occasionally, it can be caused by:
- A sharp drop in blood pressure (like when you stand up too fast)
- Illness or infection such as cold or flu
- Anxiety or stress
- Heavy menstrual bleeding
- Some medications
- Anaemia (low haemoglobin)
Alcohol and tobacco can also cause you to feel lightheaded from time to time. Changing your diet, drinking more water, and treating any illnesses or allergies may help resolve your symptoms.
Dizziness alone is often not much cause for concern, especially if it passes after a few moments. However, if you experience additional symptoms or fainting, you should talk to your doctor.
If you experience vomiting, double vision, or trouble using your arms or legs, you should get immediate medical attention. In fact, lightheadedness, along with shortness of breath, back pain, and fainting, are more common signs of heart attack than chest pain.
Other signs that your dizziness might be a sign of something more serious:
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
- Trouble walking
- Stiff neck
Leading a healthy lifestyle such as;
- limiting smoking and alcohol
- maintaining a healthy weight
- Regular exercise
- Eating healthy nutritious diet
- Drinking a lot of water
- Rising slowly from a sitting position
- Make sure you talk with your doctor if you regularly feel dizzy. Share exactly what the sensation feels like. The more detail your doctor has, the better chance to detect any underlying issue.