Dizziness

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Overview of Dizziness

Dizziness is a general term used by patients to describe their symptoms. Dizziness and lightheadedness are among the most frequent complaints that cause people to seek medical help. People affected with a dizziness disorder may experience vertigo (sense of spinning or rotation), imbalance, visual problems or lightheadedness.1 Dizziness may be temporary or chronic and chronic dizziness is more common among older people. Most causes of dizziness are benign but early recognition of serious underlying pathology is important.

Dizziness can be caused by a variety of problems such as intoxications, viral or bacterial infection, head trauma, vascular dysfunction (high or low blood pressure), CNS disorders (stroke, migraines), psychiatry illness (depression, anxiety) and inner ear pathology.1 In older patients, dizziness is also associated with a variety of cardiovascular conditions and is also seen with the use of multiple medications including antidepressants, sedatives and pain relievers.2

Dizziness can increase the risk of falling and injuring oneself. Dizziness that occurs while driving vehicle or operating heavy machinery increases the possibility of an accident.

First Aid of Dizziness

When a person complains of dizziness, the following immediate treatment may be initiated:

  • Make the person sit down or lie down immediately.
  • If dizziness is caused by too much of sun exposure and dehydration, find a shade to sit and drink enough water.
  • If dizziness is the result of loss of blood, locate the injury and treat that first.
  • Reassurance can help an anxious person who feels dizzy.
  • Further, consult clinicians for immediate medical treatment depending upon the cause of dizziness.

Prevention of Dizziness

  • Have regular meals and get adequate rest.
  • Standing up more slowly after sitting or lying down may help dizziness associated with positional change.
  • Avoid movements that trigger dizziness such as looking up or bending down
  • Discontinue medications, which cause the dizziness. Get doctor’s opinion.
  • Promptly treat ear infections, colds, sinus congestion and other respiratory infections.
  • Learn exercises that combine eye, head and body movements to help prevent dizziness.
  • Develop a regular sleep pattern

Do’s and Don’ts

  • Avoid driving a car or operating heavy machinery if you experience frequent dizziness.
  • Use a walking cane for balance and stability.
  • Avoid intake of caffeine, alcohol and tobacco. Excessive use of these substances can restrict the blood vessels and worsen dizziness.

References

1.Johnson EG. The dizziness dilemma. Addressing a problem that affects 40% of the population. Rehab Manag. 2007; 20(10): 25–27.

2.Chawla N, Olshaker JS. Diagnosis and management of dizziness and vertigo. Med Clin North Am. 2006; 90(2): 291–304.

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Written by: healthplus24 team
Date last updated: May 02, 2015