The body functions to keep you balanced by intercalation of different mechanisms. These mechanisms involve various organs including your brain, eyes, ear, and your bones. If there is a disruption to any part of this system, you may get dizzy.
Dizziness is very common and usually is not a very serious problem. During a spell of dizziness, you may feel like the room is spinning; this is called Vertigo. Other ways in which dizziness can present are:
- You may faint
- You may feel like you want to fall
- You may feel like your head is floating
Dizzy spells are very different from a sudden attack of dizziness which warrants urgent medical attention.
What should you do when you’re feeling dizzy?
When you feel dizzy, look for somewhere close to sit or lie immediately so that you do not fall down and get injured. If you feel like the room is spinning, you can close your eyes and lie down in a very quiet and darkroom. This will lower your chance of falling down.
You may also try to drink water as that may help relieve you of the dizziness, especially if it was due to dehydration initially.
To ensure you’re safe when these dizzy spells occur, there are a few things you can do:
- Remove things that can make you trip from your house such as rugs so that you don’t fall when those dizzy spells occur.
- Do not take alcohol, caffeine, and tobacco, as they can aggravate the symptoms.
- Drink enough water and sleep adequately.
- Get to know the things that trigger dizziness and avoid them. Some of them may be lights, noise, and quick movement.
Causes of Dizziness
- A sudden reduction in blood pressure. This may happen just as your sit or stand up too quickly from a sleeping or sitting position. It is referred to as orthostatic hypotension.
- Poor blood circulation. This could be due to either an irregular beating of the heart or a heart attack. It could also be a result of reduced blood flow to your brain which could be temporary (transient ischemic attack) or more serious (stroke)
- Meniere’s syndrome. This occurs when there is an abnormality in one of your ears due to excessive fluid accumulation. Symptoms other than dizziness may occur including nausea, vomiting, ringing in your ear, and reduced sound perception.
- Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo. This is a spinning sensation brought about by turning your head especially when you’re rolling in bed or sitting up from a sleeping position.
- Ear infection. When your ear is infected, it could affect the balance function of your ears and can lead to dizziness.
- Medications that can cause dizziness include such as antidepressants, anti-seizure drugs, tranquilizers, and sedatives. Some medications for high blood pressure may also lower your blood pressure too much, leading to dizziness.
- Panic attacks can also cause lightheadedness and dizziness.
- Low levels of red blood cells. This is also called anemia. It means your red blood cells have reduced in number. Other signs that you have anemia include tiredness, pale skin, and weakness.
- Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia). This is more common in diabetics as some of their medications e.g. insulin can lower their blood sugar levels and cause dizziness and sweating.
When should you see a doctor?
If you’ve had many episodes of dizzy spells, or dizziness that lasts for a long time, you should seek medical attention.
You should see a doctor at once if you get dizzy and also experience:
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
- Severe headache
- Sudden vision changes
- Trouble hearing or speaking
- An injury to your head