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Dizziness: Causes and Treatments

Everyone becomes dizzy sometimes, but if your dizziness wasn’t caused by physically spinning around in circles, you might be experiencing an underlying medical issue. Fortunately, the causes of dizziness aren’t typically potentially serious disorders. However, if your dizziness is recurring, you are at risk of falling or feeling lightheaded while driving, which can put your life at risk regardless of the cause.

Dizziness shouldn’t be ignored. Please seek a medical evaluation if you experience dizziness and can’t identify a contributing factor. CardioVascular Health Clinic provides complete care and treatment for dizziness and related conditions. Here, we share the common causes and treatment options. 

What Causes Dizziness?

Dizziness is a feeling of physical unsteadiness – the sensation that the ground is moving under your feet – accompanied by lightheadedness and sometimes nausea. The symptoms might be intensified by standing or making sudden movements. 

Please seek medical attention if you’re experiencing the following symptoms:

  • Severe head pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Inability to move arms or legs
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Blurred vision
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Facial paralysis
  • Loss of hearing
  • Seizures
  • Disorientation/confusion

There are numerous causes of dizziness, which can range from environmental factors to complex medical issues. The following conditions can contribute to dizziness:

Circulation Disorders

Dizziness can occur when your heart cannot pump sufficient blood to your brain. Some of the causes include:

  • Heart failure: Abnormal heart rhythm caused by a narrowed heart valve can cause dizziness, particularly when rising from a seated position quickly. Symptoms of heart failure can also include persistent cough, abdominal swelling, swollen legs and feet, and fatigue.
  • Orthostatic hypotension: Orthostatic hypotension is characterized by a significant drop in blood pressure when standing suddenly, leading to dizziness. It can be triggered by dehydration, blood loss, or certain medications. Symptoms can also include blurred vision and fatigue.

Environmental Contributors

Dizziness can occur as a result of certain environmental factors. These can include:

  • Carbon monoxide poisoning: Carbon monoxide poisoning disrupts the body’s ability to use oxygen. It can occur when exposed to burning fuel in an unventilated area, such as when a natural gas leak occurs in the home, or when in a closed garage with a running car. Symptoms include dizziness, elevated heartbeat, nausea, loss of consciousness, and cardiac arrest. Carbon monoxide poisoning can be fatal.
  • High atmospheric pressure: Atmospheric pressure changes can sometimes trigger migraines or disruptions in the vestibular system, sometimes leading to vertigo.
  • Allergies: While not common, people suffering from severe allergic rhinitis (hay fever) can experience dizziness, a condition sometimes called “seasonal vertigo.”
  • Heat exhaustion: When the temperature rises, the body increases the flow of blood to the skin, causing a disruption of blood flow to the brain, occasionally causing dizziness and sometimes fainting. High humidity can exacerbate sensitivity to heat. This condition is more common among people who are unused to high temperatures. Symptoms include dizziness, raised pulse, muscle cramps, nausea, and headache. 

Sensory Processing Disorders

Sensory disorders can disrupt your equilibrium and cause you to lose coordination and balance. They can also cause changes to how you perceive sounds, smells, and images. Sensory disorders are most commonly diagnosed in children, but adults can be affected, too. 

Vertigo is a symptom of a sensory disorder that is either caused by an inner ear dysfunction (vestibular labyrinth) that affects balance, or a brain disorder. Symptoms of vertigo include feeling as though the room is spinning, hearing loss, nausea, ringing in the ears, double vision, and difficulty speaking.

How is Dizziness Treated?

Dizziness has varying causes, all requiring different treatment protocols. If you have experienced dizziness more than once without being able to identify the cause, please seek medical attention. Contact our helpful team to schedule a comprehensive consultation today.  

Patient Resources

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