Home > PRIME YEARS > Dizziness

Dizziness

Introduction

People may describe dizziness as giddiness, light-headedness, unsteadiness or simply feeling faint.

Under normal circumstances, your sense of balance is controlled by a number of signals that your brain receives from several locations; the eye, sensory nerves and inner ear. Good balance depends on at least two of these three sensory systems working well. For instance, closing your eyes while standing does not mean you’ll lose your balance. Signals from your inner ear and sensory nerves help keep you upright.

However, if your central nervous system cannot process signals from all of these locations, or if the sensory systems are not functioning properly ,or if the messages are contradictory, you may experience loss of balance. Most dizziness will go away after a while but it may be symptoms of more serious disorder.

Causes of Dizziness

Causes of dizziness include;

  1. Vertigo- spinning sensation or feeling that your surrounding is moving around you.
    • Inner ear disorder ( acute vestibular neuronitis or labyrinthitis)
    • Intermittent, benign vertigo with relation to change in position
    • Mastoiditis
    • Insufficient blood flow to the inner ear due to atherosclerosis especially in patient with Diabetis Mellitus, Hypertension and Hypercholestrolaemia
  2. Light headedness
    • Inner ear disorder
    • Anxiety disorders such as panic attack, agoraphobia
    • Hyperventilation
    • Loss of body fluids, for instance, loss of water in excessive sweating.
    • Changes to your blood pressure caused by medicines such as anti-hyptensives, diuretics and anti-depressants.
    • Medical conditions such as diabetes and Parkinson’s disease.
    • Anaemia
  3. Motion sickness
    • Nausea and vomiting when travelling in cars, airplanes, boats, or ships

Sign & Symptoms

  • A sense that you or your surroundings are spinning or moving (vertigo)
  • A loss of balance
  • Nausea
  • Unsteadiness
  • Lightheadedness
  • Faintness
  • Weakness
  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Blurred vision after quick head movements
  • Feeling of fullness in your ear, buzzing or ringing in your ear (tinnitus), and fluctuating hearing loss

Complications

Although dizziness is usually minor, see your doctor if you developed dizziness along with the following symptoms:

  • Sakit kepala bertambah.
    • New onset or increase in headache severity.
    • Blurred vision
    • Hearing loss
    • Speech impairment
    • Leg or arm weakness
    • Loss of consciousness
    • Falling or difficulty walking
    • Numbness or tingling
    • Chest pain or awareness of rapid heart rate

Dizziness causes high risk of fall and injury to yourself.If it occur while driving or operating heavy machinery it may cause an accident.

Treatment

Treatment depend on the underlying cause.

  1. Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV).
  2. Inner ear conditions.
    • Balance retraining exercises (vestibular rehabilitation) are used to treat acute vestibular neuronitis or labyrinthitis.
  3. Meniere’s disease.
    • Treatment of Meniere’s disease involves reducing your body’s retention of fluids through diuretics or dietary changes, such as a low-salt diet.
    • surgery may be necessary
  4. Vestibular migraine.
    • Avoid certain food
    • Reduce stress
    • Develop regular sleep pattern
    • Regular exercise
    • Your doctor may prescribes medicine for migraine and vertigo
  5. Anxiety disorders.
    • Counselling
    • Anti-anxiety may be necessary

If you experience dizziness, consider :

  • Avoid driving or operating machinery if you have frequent dizziness
  • Avoid caffein, alcohol or tobacco
  • Good lighting if you get out of bed at night
  • Be aware of the possibility of losing your balance
  • Avoid rapid changes in position
  • Avoid extremes of head motion (especially looking up)
  • Avoid being exposed to events such as stress or anxiety, or substances that can trigger dizziness. These include substances that you are allergic to.
Last Reviewed : 26 April 2012
Writer : Dr. Fuziah Paimin
Reviewer : Dato’ Dr. Hj. Md Hanip b. Rafia