Dizziness

Dizziness (or dizziness) is also known as vertigo, whose word comes from the Latin «vertere», which means to spin. In fact, when we feel dizzy, everything seems to be spinning around us: the ground, the buildings. We feel that we are going to pass out, but we can also have other types of discomfort, such as vomiting, for example.

True dizziness is a balance disorder that is determined by the inner ear, eyes, muscles and joints.

The only case in which it is possible to take medication without a medical prescription (self-medication) in case of dizziness is to prevent motion sickness. In other cases, it is essential to consult a doctor, who will carry out several tests to diagnose the cause: whether it is positional dizziness, whether it is due to Meniere’s disease, etc. According to the results obtained, he will be able to prescribe the appropriate remedy.

In this file, we’ll cover all types of dizziness so that you can actually diagnose it and alleviate it as quickly as possible.

Definition

Vertigo is the sensation that everything around us is spinning, even when we close our eyes this very unpleasant sensation persists. Also, dizziness is often accompanied by nausea and vomiting. It is a symptom that results from various dysfunctions of the body.

– Disturbance of the organs that control balance, governed by the inner ear, the so-called vestibular apparatus

– Dysfunction of the nerve that connects the inner ear to the brain

– Disorder in the region of the brain (of the parts that control balance)

We speak of dizziness (vertigo) when this occurs due to a balance disorder, as mentioned earlier. We distinguish well the discomforts and the stunned ones.

To keep the body in balance, the brain uses its system of nociceptors to different places in the body:

– The eyes indicate the position of the head in space to the brain

– Muscles, as well as joints, tell the brain the position of the body in space

– The inner ear contains the organs of balance, which will indicate the movements of the body to the brain. These coordinates are received by the cerebellum, which in order to maintain balance will send the necessary orders to the rest of the body.

If the information sent by these different regions differs, dizziness (vertigo) will be observed.

Epidemiology

– An estimated 40% of Americans will have at least one episode of dizziness or balance disorders in their lifetime.

The most common form of dizziness is believed to be Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo – BPPV (in English: benign paroxysmal positional vertigo) , it predominantly affects people over 60 years of age.

Causes

The different causes of dizziness are as follows:

– Balance disorders

– Meniere’s disease

– Drug treatments, drug poisoning, alcohol, drugs

– Acoustic neuroma, tumor of the cerebellum or auditory nerve

– Serious head injuries, head trauma

– Multiple sclerosis

– Transport sickness

– Orthostatic hyper or hypotension

– vestibular migraine

– Other causes

The balance disorders

Dizziness is a balance disorder, it is related to a dysfunction of the organs that control it. It occurs when the body’s balance maintenance systems do not provide the same information. These systems are the following:

– the eyes, which provide the brain with the position of the head in space;

– the muscles and joints, which inform the brain of the body’s position in space;

– the inner ear, which provides information about body movements to the brain;

– the cerebellum, part of the brain that handles this information and provides the order to remedy any imbalance in the body.

One of these systems may be dysfunctional and cause dizziness. Frequently, these are problems in the inner ear, such as an infection of the vestibular apparatus, for example. This is part of the ORL sphere (Oto-Rino-Larynx). A cold or the flu can inflame the inner ear and cause a balance disorder.

We also talk about benign paroxysmal positional vertigo – BPPV (in English benign paroxysmal positional vertigo🇧🇷 This disease or condition is characterized by brief episodes of dizziness immediately after a change in head position, for example, after getting out of bed or chair in the morning. BPPV is the most common cause of dizziness. The cause of BPPV is believed to be the result of the dislodgement of small crystals that help with orientation and balance, they are normally present in the inner ear and the problem occurs when they move to other parts of the ear. In these new locations, these crystals become particularly sensitive to sudden changes in the head. BPPV is benign, but it can be indirectly problematic, increasing the risk of falling and therefore fracture, especially in the elderly.

Meniere’s disease

In case of Meniere’s disease, dizziness is chronic. Furthermore, it is accompanied by deafness and tinnitus. The patient will also have nausea, vomiting and nystagmus. Meniere’s disease affects 6% of people who suffer from dizziness. Crises can be very brief, as they can last for several days. Meniere’s disease is also a pathology of the inner ear.

Drug treatments, drug intoxication, alcohol and drugs.

Dizziness can be a side effect of certain medications, like some antibiotics, for example. They usually stop after the offending drug is stopped. In children, a veriginous state should be heard because of the risk of drug intoxication.

Acoustic neuroma or a tumor of the cerebellum, i.e. the vestibular nerve

We call acoustic neuroma the tumor that affects the nerve that connects the inner ear to the brain.

The cerebellum that takes care of the messages sent by the different receivers of the body’s balance. A tumor will cause a balance disorder. Acoustic neuroma is a benign, non-cancerous tumor.

Serious head injuries, head trauma

In case of serious head injuries (shocks, accidents) it is possible that patients suffer from dizziness. The doctor will usually examine the eyes for nystagmus (involuntary movements of the eyeball).

Transport sickness

People who suffer from motion sickness experience dizziness that is usually accompanied by nausea and vomiting. It is the typical case of balance disorder, as in this case, the information provided to the cerebellum by the inner ear and the eyes differs.

Vestibular Migraines
Some migraine sufferers may feel dizzy even during periods when they are not suffering from a headache. These episodes of dizziness can last for hours or even days.

Hyper- or hypotension
In case of hyper- or hypotension, dizziness occurs suddenly, when we change position sharply (whether we were sitting or lying down and got up quickly). We call this positional dizziness. In these cases, it is essential to get up calmly.

Other Possible Causes 
Other possible but rare causes are stroke and multiple sclerosis.

Non- specific dizziness Non
-specific causes of dizziness, i.e. with symptoms that are more similar to floating, swimming or a slight dizziness, can be:
– Intake of certain medications (e.g. against high blood pressure)
– Inner ear disorders
– Anxiety disorders (including panic attacks)
– Low iron levels, as in anemia (also associated with fatigue)
– Hypoglycemia (often occurs in patients with diabetes who use insulin)
– Ear infections

Symptoms

Symptoms of dizziness are as follows:

– Feeling that everything around us is spinning

– Sensation that our body moves in space, even though we are standing still

In the first case (feeling that everything around us is spinning), we talk about veritable dizziness, and we may feel unwell, nausea and vomiting. The patient is usually weak and pale.

Dizziness in children is a medical emergency. The doctor will investigate whether there has been any drug intoxication or whether there is a tumor.

Specific symptoms of certain forms of dizziness (see also Causes)

Inflammation of the inner ear
In this case, dizziness can appear suddenly, be very strong and persist for several days. Nausea and vomiting, as well as balance disorders, are often associated.

Acoustic neuroma
There is usually progressive hearing loss and tinnitus, accompanied by dizziness and imbalance.

Diagnosis

In case of pronounced and recurrent vertigo, the doctor will first carry out an anamnesis and then clinical examinations. He will look for the cause of the vertigo by examining the ears for possible inflammation of the inner ear. He will also carry out an examination of the eyes, as well as the nervous system.

In case of tinnitus, he will use the scanner or MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging), to rule out a possible brain tumor.

But in case of sudden and violent dizziness, especially in people belonging to the risk group (who suffer from circulation disorders, for example), a medical consultation is absolutely necessary, to rule out serious illnesses such as meningitis, drug intoxication, or even a cerebrovascular accident (CVA).

Once the cause of the dizziness has been determined, the doctor will be able to prescribe the appropriate medication. For example, he may prescribe medication for circulation or pressure, in case of dizziness related to hyper or hypotension.

Other tests may be performed by the physician, such as the rotary-chair testing, an examination using a computer, or a posture test (in English: posturography testing) , which help to better understand how is the balance.

Complications

The main complication of dizziness is the following: when our balance is affected, we walk with difficulty and are at risk of falling and injuring ourselves.

If the cause of dizziness is inflammation of the inner ear and this is not treated, it may be followed by deafness.

We also note that dizziness is a symptom and may be the sign of a more serious underlying illness, which is why sudden and violent dizziness should be taken seriously, with the possibility of emergency hospitalization. In fact, meningitis, drug intoxication, as well as a stroke, make the patient feel dizzy.

Treatments

Vertigo related to motion sickness is the only type of dizziness that can be treated through self-medication. True dizziness requires a doctor’s appointment, for the professional to determine the cause and prescribe the appropriate medications.

In case of vertigo linked to motion sickness, it is advisable to take preventive medication as a way to avoid discomfort. The medications are as follows:

– anti-vertigo: cinnarizine, in the form of drops or tablets. The usual dosage is 1 to 2 tablets of 25 mg, 3 times a day, or 25 drops, 1 to 2 times a day, after meals. The maximum dose is 150 mg (6 pills or 50 drops)

– antihistamine dimenhydrinate in pills, 1 pill, 1 hour before the trip. This medicine can cause fatigue.

– meclozine antiemetic, in the form of dragees or suppositories. There are different doses, which must be appropriate to the age of the patient. Attention, this medicine can make you drowsy. Pregnant women should only take it under medical prescription.

Specific treatments for certain forms of dizziness

Inner Ear Inflammation
In cases of inner ear inflammation, the condition is usually cured on its own. However, medical treatment can facilitate a quick recovery, such as the use of corticosteroid injections in the inner ear.

Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo
In cases of Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV ) , the doctor or therapist may perform a procedure where they will carefully manipulate the position of the head to reposition the crystals (see also Causes , below) ). This procedure (called the canalith repositioning procedure ), according to the Mayo Clinic, is often effective. It is estimated that up to 80% of people who have had this procedure performed 1 or 2 times experienced a significant improvement in dizziness.

Menière’s Syndrome
During an attack of dizziness due to Menière’s syndrome, it is essential to rest in a reclining position in a dimly lit room. If necessary, an antiemetic can be administered. Your doctor may also prescribe a diuretic and recommend a low-sodium diet, which will help reduce fluid retention (see also Causes above) and improve your symptoms.

Acoustic neuroma
The American reference institution Mayo Clinic believes that a surgical operation may be necessary to relieve dizziness during an acoustic neuroma.

alternative medicine

There are several possible alternative treatments for dizziness, such as mother tinctures or homeopathy.

mother tinctures

These famous plants against dizziness are the following:

– Gingko biloba , which allows for better cerebral vascularization. You must use 2 to 5 drops (in mother tincture), 1 to 3 times a day, for the following indications: lack of concentration, memory loss and dizziness. We observed that ginko biloba also exists in the form of tablets, for the same indications.

– Mother tincture of white mistletoe (Viscum album), which can be used in cases of hypertension or dizziness. You should take 2 to 5 drops, 1 to 3 times a day.

– Hawthorn is also used against dizziness. It can be found in compound preparations such as Cardiaforce. It can be used in cases of cardiac disorders of nervous origin, palpitation and tachycardia, as well as against sensations of dizziness, nervousness and restless sleep. It stimulates blood supply to the coronary vessels and calms the heart. You must take one measure (=15 ml) 3 times a day, after meals. Attention, this medicine contains alcohol and is contraindicated for children.

Prevention

– If you suffer from positional dizziness, it is important to get up slowly, as this will prevent the onset of dizziness.

– In case of dizziness due to transport, you should take medication to prevent it, such as antihistamines, anti-nausea, anti-vertigo drugs.

– Avoid situations that cause dizziness, such as climbing a balcony, stairs or going up the mountain.

– Take regular breaks, especially if you exercise.

– Drink plenty of fluids daily. Every day men should drink 2.1L and women 1.5L. Drink during or before meals.

– Avoid substances that can make vertigo symptoms worse, such as: alcohol, caffeine and tobacco.

– Dress appropriately to avoid sunstroke.

– Exercise regularly. The practice of exercises strengthens the balance, stimulating different parts of the body to work correctly with the brain.

– If necessary, change your glasses, which can make you dizzy.

Tips

– In case of dizziness, it is possible to reduce the symptoms by lying down and immobile. In principle, it should pass, but if it persists for more than ten minutes and if it occurs frequently, it is advisable to consult a doctor to determine the cause.

– In case of sudden onset of dizziness and if these are severe, it is recommended to consult a doctor in an emergency, to exclude any risk of drug intoxication or stroke (Cerebral Vascular Accident).

– In case of dizziness after using medication, especially at the beginning of a treatment, it is strongly recommended to discontinue use of the medication and consult a doctor. Dizziness can be a side effect of the new medication.

– As dizziness can be accompanied by nausea and vomiting, it is important to hydrate in small portions, as the patient becomes dehydrated with vomiting.

– Finally, people who are subject to dizziness should avoid situations in which they may appear, such as climbing stairs, scaffolding, climbing…

Sources & References:  
Mayo Clinic, Prevention (US health journal).

Jeanne Kenney
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I’m a stylist trainer, a content creator, and an entrepreneur passion. Virgo sign and Pisces ascendant, I move easily between my dreams, the crazy world I want, and my feet on the ground to carry out my projects.

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