When to see a doctor for dizziness?
- Trauma to the head and neck
- Neck pain
- High grade fever, with or without chills
- Blurring of vision
- Loss of heating
- Difficulty speaking or slurred speech
- Numbness or tingling
- Drooping of the eye or the angle of the mouth
- Loss of consciousness
- Chest pain
- Continuous vomiting
- Projectile vomiting (severe vomiting wherein the vomit is forcefully expelled several feet away from the person vomiting)
What is dizziness?
Dizziness is a general term used to describe a range of sensations, such as feeling faint, lightheaded, weak or unsteady. Dizziness can create a false sense of spinning of self or the spinning of the surroundings (swaying). This may be associated with other symptoms including nausea, vomiting, sweating, headache or difficulty walking. Vertigo differs from dizziness due to the fact that vertigo is a true sensation of self-spinning or spinning of the surrounding. Dizziness on the other hand is less severe, with a feeling of imbalance or feeling “wonky” and lightheaded.
What are the symptoms of dizziness?
The common signs and symptoms of dizziness include:
What can you do when you have dizziness?
The following is advised during a sudden episode of dizziness:
- Sitting or lying down immediately and resting in a cool place till the symptoms resolve. This prevents the risk of losing balance, leading to a fall and serious injury. One may use a cane or walker or hand rails for support.
- Avoiding sudden movements of the head and neck and sudden change positions.
- Driving or any dangerous activities like operating heavy machinery should be avoided.
- Drinking fluids and remaining hydrated can help improve dizziness.
- Eating something sweet can help if the dizziness is caused due to low blood sugar,
- Tripping hazards such as rugs on the floor, low tables etc should be removed in the house to lower the risk of fall in those who have frequent episodes of dizziness.
- One may take over the counter anti-vertigo medications such as meclizine (Antivert) or antihistamines. Pain killers may be taken if there is associated headache.
What causes dizziness?
The causes of dizziness include the following:
- Disorders of the inner ear:
The inner ear maintains balance by sending impulses to the brain about head, neck and body movements. The most common inner ear disorders of the inner ear causing dizziness include:
BPPV: BPPV usually has no specific trigger, it could be because of trauma or sudden neck/ head movements. In BPPV tiny calcium particles (canaliths) accumulate in canals of the inner ear.
Meniere's disease: An inner ear disorder which could be autoimmune (when the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks it’s own cells). In this condition, fluid accumulates in the inner ear and increases pressure in the ear. Patient typically present with vertigo, tinnitus (ringing sound in the ear) and hearing loss/ feeling of fullness in the ear (aural fullness)
Trauma: trauma to the ear or skull fractures can damage the structures of the inner ear.
Medications: certain medications can cause inner ear damage.
- Lesions (tumors) in the brain
- Inflammation/ infection of the brain
- Cervical spine disorders, such as cervical spondylosis
- Multiple sclerosis
- Alcohol intoxication
- Vertigo associated with migraine (migranous vertigo)
- Trauma to the head and neck
- Low blood pressure
- Hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar)
- Heart disease
Can dizziness be prevented?
The following measures may help reduce the frequency and intensity of the episodes of vertigo:
- Doing activities that improve balance, such as vestibular rehabilitation exercises, yoga or Tai Chi.
- Adequate hydration by drinking at least eight glasses of water a day.
- Undisturbed sleep of at least seven hours and avoiding stressful situations.
- Eating a healthy diet that consists of vegetables, fruits and lean proteins
- Reducing salt content in food.
- Taking medications as prescribed.
- Manage psychological stress/ anxiety
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Common Medical Abbreviations & Terms
Doctors, pharmacists, and other health-care professionals use abbreviations, acronyms, and other terminology for instructions and information in regard to a patient's health condition, prescription drugs they are to take, or medical procedures that have been ordered. There is no approved this list of common medical abbreviations, acronyms, and terminology used by doctors and other health- care professionals. You can use this list of medical abbreviations and acronyms written by our doctors the next time you can't understand what is on your prescription package, blood test results, or medical procedure orders. Examples include:
- ANED: Alive no evidence of disease. The patient arrived in the ER alive with no evidence of disease.
- ARF: Acute renal (kidney) failure
- cap: Capsule.
- CPAP: Continuous positive airway pressure. A treatment for sleep apnea.
- DJD: Degenerative joint disease. Another term for osteoarthritis.
- DM: Diabetes mellitus. Type 1 and type 2 diabetes
- HA: Headache
- IBD: Inflammatory bowel disease. A name for two disorders of the gastrointestinal (BI) tract, Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis
- JT: Joint
- N/V: Nausea or vomiting.
- p.o.: By mouth. From the Latin terminology per os.
- q.i.d.: Four times daily. As in taking a medicine four times daily.
- RA: Rheumatoid arthritis
- SOB: Shortness of breath.
- T: Temperature. Temperature is recorded as part of the physical examination. It is one of the "vital signs."
DizzinessDizziness is a symptom that often applies to a variety of sensations including lightheadedness and vertigo. Causes of dizziness include low blood pressure, heart problems, anemia, dehydration, and other medical conditions. Treatment of dizziness depends on the cause.
How Do Doctors Evaluate Dizziness?Dizziness is a feeling of lightheadedness, fainting or a mild feeling of imbalance. Vertigo is the feeling that the stationary things around you are moving. Most dizzy spells are not serious.
How Do You Know If Your Inner Ear Is Causing Dizziness?Dizziness and similar complications happen because of things that happen in your inner ear. You know if your inner ear is causing dizziness because when you have it, moving your head in any way causes immediate vertigo – the sensation that your physical surroundings are spinning.
Is Pseudotumor Cerebri Serious?Pseudotumor cerebri is a medical condition that causes increased pressure inside the skull (intracranial pressure). This is due to increased fluid accumulation inside the skull. This fluid called cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) is produced inside the brain cavities and lubricates the coverings of the brain.
Neck Pain and DizzinessNeck pain and dizziness are both symptoms that may result from several causes and risk factors. Check out the center below for more medical references on neck pain and dizziness, including multimedia (slideshows, images, and quizzes), related disease conditions, treatment and diagnosis, medications, and prevention or wellness.
Vertigo QuizTake the quiz and find out the causes, symptoms, treatments, and ways to prevent the confusing balance disorder called vertigo.
What Can Trigger Vertigo?Vertigo is the sensation of spinning or rocking, even when someone is at rest. Vertigo may be caused by a problem in the brain or spinal cord or a problem within in the inner ear. Head injuries, certain medications, and female gender are associated with a higher risk of vertigo. Medical history, a physical exam, and sometimes an MRI or CT scan are required to diagnose vertigo. The treatment of vertigo may include medication, special exercises to reposition loose crystals in the inner ear, or exercises designed to help the patient re-establish a sense of equilibrium. Controlling risk factors for stroke (blood pressure, weight, cholesterol, and blood glucose) may decrease the risk of developing vertigo.
What Is an Endolymphatic Shunt?An endolymphatic shunt is a surgical procedure that involves placing a small silicone tube in the inner ear to drain excess fluid. This procedure can reverse damage to the ear due to fluid buildup.