Surprising Facts About Dizziness and Vertigo. Occasional dizziness is very common in adults, but it may surprise you to learn that vertigo — a related but more serious condition that makes you feel like the room is spinning as you stand still — affects nearly 4. University of California San Francisco Medical Center. While dizziness can make you feel momentarily unbalanced, and ranges in severity from merely annoying to seriously debilitating, vertigo may be a major symptom of a balance disorder. It can also cause nausea and vomiting. To get the facts about both conditions and learn how to differentiate between the two, we asked a few of the nation’s leading experts on dizziness and balance problems to share their insights. Here’s what they had to say: 1.
Feeling Dizzy Could Be a Sign of an Inner Ear Problem“One of the most surprising causes of dizziness is benign paroxysmal positional vertigo, or BPPV,” says Gregory Whitman, MD, an ear and brain specialist with Massachusetts Eye and Ear's Balance and Vestibular Center at Braintree Rehabilitation Hospital. Your inner ear contains calcium and protein- based sensing crystals called otoconia, says Dr. If these crystals are dislodged and float into your inner ear’s canals, you may have a brief spinning sensation.
And while it can affect adults of any age, it primarily affects older adults. Most cases occur for no apparent reason, but BPPV has been linked to trauma, migraines, inner ear infections, diabetes, and osteoporosis. After treatment, 5. VEDA. 2. Your Ear’s Balance System Controls Blood Flow“We’ve learned that our inner- ear balance system contributes to the control of our blood flow. They tell your cardiovascular system to direct blood flow to accommodate your change in position, says Whitman. If that process goes awry for any reason, you could end up feeling dizzy. Low Vitamin B1. 2 Levels Can Make You Feel Dizzy.
Deficiencies in this essential vitamin can lead to a number of neurological problems, including feeling off- balance, and having low blood pressure and decreased blood flow to your brain, says Whitman. Good sources of vitamin B1. About 3 percent of adults over 5. B1. 2 deficiency, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Dizziness May Be a Symptom of Heart Disease.
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One simple cause of dizziness is sudden movement, like when you get up too suddenly from your seat or bed. But sometimes dizziness is a sign of a heart condition.
Among the cardiovascular- related causes of dizziness are leaking or narrow heart valves, arrhythmias like atrial fibrillation, and atherosclerosis, says Patricia Blau, Ph. D, associate professor of physical therapy at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. These can cause dizziness because they reduce blood flow to the brain, according to VEDA. Migraines Sometimes Cause Vertigo“It surprises some people to know that dizziness is commonly linked to migraine disease, either with or without headaches,” says Debara L. Tucci, MD, a professor of surgery at Duke Medicine in Durham, North Carolina, and one of the lead ear, nose and throat physicians in the Duke Vestibular Disorders Clinic. Other symptoms of migraine- related vertigo include sensitivity to motion, light, and sound, adds Dr. About 4. 0 percent of people who have migraines experience dizziness or vertigo, according to VEDA.
Feeling Dizzy May Be Related to Anxiety. Many people who experience dizziness, especially people in their twenties, may also have anxiety, says Whitman. And anxiety can reflect a brain function disturbance that's possibly genetic.”Compared to people who don’t have anxiety, people with anxiety disorders appear to sway more when subjected to a moving visual environment, Whitman says.
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And they sway in a way that seems to be synchronized with the visual movement. This is called visual dependence; little is known about how common it is. A Boat Ride or Water Bed Can Cause Dizziness. It’s pretty common to experience a rocky, dizzy feeling on your first day back after a cruise, says Carol Foster, MD, director of the balance laboratory at the University of Colorado Hospital in Aurora. Some 7. 5 percent of all sailors can experience the problem. Airplanes, cars, and trains can also cause a wobbly- legs feeling.
Even relaxing on a water bed can make some people feel dizzy. Dizziness and Vertigo May Be Side Effects From Drugs. So many medications can cause dizziness that it’s too many to even list, says Whitman. Sometimes, less is more. Most people don’t experience the side effects a drug may cause.”9. Your Diet or Dehydration Could Make You Dizzy. Even mild dehydration can cause dizziness, according to the American Heart Association.
Dehydration can also cause blood pressure to drop, which can lead to feeling dizzy, notes the AHA. Dieting can also result in feelings of dizziness, because some diets cause dehydration, says Dr. And according to the AHA, mild dehydration that follows the loss of just 1 to 2 percent of your body weight can lead to dizziness.
There Are Several Less Common Causes of Dizziness and Vertigo. Pay attention to all bouts of dizziness, because along with other symptoms, they could point to something more serious. See your doctor to rule out health problems related to frequent or severe bouts of dizziness or vertigo.“Even though less than 1 percent of my patients have a life- threatening or previously unsuspected cause of dizziness — such as stroke warning symptoms or a brain tumor — I still take all cases of dizziness seriously,” says Whitman. If you have a brain tumor, it's usually not the only symptom you have, he says. One very rare condition linked to vertigo is M. He estimates that this affects only about 0. Though it can’t be cured, it can be treated.
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