Dr. Ben Wedro practices emergency medicine at Gundersen Clinic, a regional trauma center in La Crosse, Wisconsin. His background includes undergraduate and medical studies at the University of Alberta, a Family Practice internship at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario and residency training in Emergency Medicine at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center.
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
Dizziness is a symptom that is often applies to a variety of sensations including lightheadedness and vertigo. Vertigo is the sensation of spinning, while lightheadedness is typically described as near fainting, and weakness.
Some of the conditions that may cause lightheadedness in a patient include low blood pressure, high blood pressure, dehydration, medications, postural or orthostatic hypotension, diabetes, endocrine disorders, hyperventilation, heart conditions, and vasovagal syncope.
Vertigo is most often caused by a problem in the balance centers of the inner ear called the vestibular system and causes the sensation of the room spinning. It may be associated with vomiting. Symptoms often are made worse with position changes. Those with significant symptoms and vomiting may need intravenous medication and hospitalization.
Vertigo is also the presenting symptom in patients with Meniere's Disease and acoustic neuroma, conditions that often require referral to an ENT specialist. Vertigo may also be a symptom of stroke.
Most often, dizziness or lightheadedness is a temporary situation that resolves spontaneously without a specific diagnosis being made.
Introduction to dizziness (feeling dizzy)
Dizziness is one of the most common symptoms that will prompt a person to seek medical care. The term dizziness is sometimes difficult to understand since it means different things to different people. It is either the sensation of feeling lightheaded as if the individual is weak and will pass out, or it describes vertigo or the sensation of spinning, as if the affected person just got off a merry-go-round.
Lightheadedness is often caused by a decrease in blood supply to the brain, while vertigo may be caused by disturbances of the inner ear and the balance centers of the brain. It is important that the health care provider understand the complaint the person is experiencing. That is the first important step so that the proper direction can be taken to find a diagnosis and begin treatment.
Dizziness is a painless head discomfort with many possible causes including disturbances of vision, the brain, balance (vestibular) system of the inner ear, and gastrointestinal system. Dizziness is a medically indistinct term which laypersons use to describe a variety of conditions such as lightheadedness, unsteadiness, and vertigo.