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Dizziness and lightheadedness: the top 10 causes of “dizziness”

Dizziness and vertigo can be caused by different factors. These are the possible reasons for the dizziness and light-headedness you may feel.

Many of us have asked ourselves the question, whether on normal days or in times of illness, “Why do I feel dizzy?”

While dizziness can be unpleasant, you probably won’t be surprised to learn that occasional vertigo is very common in adults. But you may not have guessed that vertigo is also common, affecting almost 40% of people over the age of 40 at least once in their lives.

So how do you know if you have vertigo or dizziness? The main difference is that vertigo can cause nausea and vomiting, while dizziness simply makes you feel momentarily off balance. That said, vertigo can be of varying severity, from just annoying to very worrying.

This is what usually causes dizziness and lightheadedness. And what to do if you have one of these episodes.

1. Dizziness can be caused by a problem in the inner ear

One of the most surprising causes of vertigo is benign paroxysmal positional vertigo. Your inner ear contains calcium- and protein-based sensing crystals called otoconia. If these crystals break off and float in your inner ear canals, you may experience a brief spinning sensation. It is a simple mechanical problem that can and should be corrected with physical therapy, not medication or surgery.

Although this type of vertigo is the most common balance disorder related to the inner ear, it only affects one in a thousand people a year. And although it can affect adults of any age, this type of vertigo mainly affects older people. Most cases occur for no apparent reason. It has been linked to trauma, migraines, inner ear infections, diabetes, and osteoporosis. After treatment, 50% of patients may have this problem again within five years, especially if it is due to trauma.

2. Your ear’s balance system controls blood flow

Our inner ear balance system helps control blood flow. The inner ear has the ability to know which way is the top. When you go from lying down to standing up, two structures in the inner ear, the utricle and the saccule, sense gravity. They tell your cardiovascular system to direct blood flow to accommodate your change in position. When this process goes wrong, it can cause dizziness.

3. Low Vitamin B12 Can Cause Dizziness

Deficiencies in this essential vitamin can lead to a number of neurological problems. Including a feeling of imbalance, low blood pressure, and decreased blood flow to the brain. Vitamin B12 deficiency is easy to detect and treat, but the cause of dizziness is often overlooked.

Ask your doctor for a simple blood test to check your B12 levels if you feel dizzy. Good sources of vitamin B12 are meat, dairy products, and products fortified with this vitamin.

4. Dizziness can be a symptom of heart disease

A simple cause of vertigo is sudden movement. Like when you get up too suddenly from your seat or bed. But sometimes dizziness is a sign of a heart problem. Cardiovascular causes of vertigo include narrow or leaky heart valves, arrhythmias such as atrial fibrillation, and atherosclerosis. These diseases can cause dizziness because they reduce blood flow to the brain.

5. Migraines sometimes cause dizziness

Some people are surprised to learn that dizziness is often associated with a migraine, with or without a headache. Other symptoms of migraine-related vertigo include sensitivity to motion, light, and sound. Around 40% of people who suffer from migraines experience vertigo or dizziness.

6. Dizziness may be related to anxiety

Many people who suffer from vertigo, especially those in their 20s, may also be anxious. They usually don’t want to hear that dizziness can be related to anxiety because it suggests that it’s all in their head. But what is in your head is your brain. And anxiety may reflect a disturbance in brain function that may be genetic in origin.

Compared to people without anxiety, people with anxiety disorders appear to sway more when subjected to a moving visual environment. And they sway in a way that seems to be in sync with visual movement. These people may be abnormally sensitive to visual stimulation, as their dizziness may increase when looking at moving objects or walking in a large, bright store.

This is called visual addiction. Little is known about its frequency. These disorders are likely to be reclassified in the future, in part, based on genetics.

7. A boat or waterbed ride can cause dizziness

It is quite common to experience a feeling of seasickness the first day after a cruise. For some people, this feeling, called dizziness, can last for months or even years. About 75% of sailors may experience such seasickness. Planes, cars, and trains can also cause motion sickness. Even relaxing on a waterbed can cause dizziness.

8. Dizziness and light-headedness can be side effects of medications

So many drugs can cause dizziness that there are too many to list them all. That said, high doses of blood pressure medications can cause dizziness. Especially in older people and in those who have started taking a dose that is too high for them.

Check if the medicines you are taking can cause dizziness, light-headedness or loss of balance by contacting your pharmacist or doctor. Reviewing drug lists carefully and lowering dosages can sometimes bring surprising benefits.

9. Your diet or dehydration could be making you dizzy

Even mild dehydration can cause dizziness or lightheadedness. Dehydration can also cause low blood pressure. What can cause dizziness. Diets can also cause dizziness as some of them lead to dehydration. Mild dehydration that follows loss of just 1-2% of your body weight can cause dizziness.

10. There are several less common causes of dizziness and vertigo

Watch out for any stun. Because they can, along with other symptoms, indicate something more serious. As warning symptoms of a stroke or brain tumor.

A very rare disease related to vertigo is Ménière’s disease. If you have prolonged attacks of vertigo and hearing problems in one ear, it could be Ménière’s disease. This disease affects only 0.2% of the population. It is sometimes found in adults between the ages of 40 and 60. Although it cannot be cured, it can be treated.

* Presse Santé strives to transmit health knowledge in a language accessible to all. In NO CASE, the information provided can not replace the advice of a health professional.

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