4 main causes of dizziness and what to do

Dizziness is a symptom of some alteration in the body, which does not always indicate a serious disease or condition and which, in most cases, happens due to a situation known as labyrinthitis, but which can also indicate changes in balance, changes in the function of the heart or side effect of medications.

Another very common situation is dizziness on standing, which happens due to a situation known as orthostatic hypotension, in which blood pressure decreases because the person gets up very quickly. However, this type of dizziness is fleeting and improves in a few seconds.

It is more common for dizziness to appear in the elderly, however, it also happens in young people, however, whenever repeated episodes of dizziness appear, it is recommended to schedule an appointment with the general practitioner or family doctor to investigate possible causes, however , if the dizziness is very strong or prolonged, for more than 1 hour, it is recommended to go to the emergency room for a faster evaluation and treatment.

The main causes of dizziness are:

1. Dizziness or Labyrinthitis

Labyrinthitis is the most common cause of vertigo, it is the type of dizziness that gives the feeling that everything is spinning around, which can be accompanied by nausea and tinnitus, and usually happens due to changes in the ear. Vertigo usually makes you dizzy even when lying down, and it is common for it to be triggered with movements made with the head, such as turning on the side of the bed or looking to the side.

What to do : The treatment for vertigo and labyrinthitis is done by the otorhin, which depends on the origin of the dizziness, but which is generally recommended to use medicines such as Betahistine, of daily use, and Dramin, in crises. In addition, it is recommended to avoid stress and the consumption of caffeine, sugar and cigarettes, which are situations that can worsen the dizziness crisis.

Other less common vertigo situations are labyrinthitis caused by inflammation or infections of the ear, vestibular neuritis and Meniere’s disease, for example. Learn more about the  causes and how to treat labyrinthitis . 

2. Imbalance

The sensation of imbalance is another important cause of dizziness, and it happens because it causes the sensation of being staggering or with loss of balance. This situation can cause constant dizziness and usually happens in the elderly or in situations of:

  • Vision changes , such as cataracts, glaucoma, myopia or hyperopia;
  • Neurological diseases , such as Parkinson’s, stroke, brain tumor or Alzheimer’s, for example;
  • Bump on the head , which can cause temporary or permanent damage to the brain region that regulates balance ;
  • Loss of sensation  in the feet and legs, caused by diabetes;
  • Consumption of alcohol or drugs , which alter the perception and ability of the brain to function;
  • Use of remedies that can alter the balance, such as Diazepam, Clonazepam, Fernobarbital, Phenytoin and Metoclopramide, for example. Understand better what are the remedies that cause dizziness .

What to do : to treat the imbalance it is necessary to resolve its cause, with the appropriate treatment of vision with the ophthalmologist or neurological disease with the neurologist. It is also important to consult with the geriatrician or general practitioner so that medication adjustments can be made according to each person’s condition and need.

3. Pressure drop

The dizziness that happens due to cardiac and circulation changes is called pre-syncope or orthostatic hypotension, and it occurs when the pressure drops and the blood is not pumped properly to the brain, causing the sensation of fainting or darkening and the appearance of bright spots in the vision.

This type of dizziness can arise when waking up, getting up, during an exercise or even suddenly when standing still. The main causes are:

  • Sudden drop in pressure , called orthostatic hypotension, and arises from a defect in the pressure adjustment, which is usually not serious, and happens due to changes in posture, such as getting out of bed or chair;
  • Heart problems , such as arrhythmias or heart failure, which hinder the flow of blood through the circulation. See the 12 symptoms that may indicate a heart problem ;
  • Use of some drugs that cause pressure drops , such as diuretics, nitrate, methyldopa, clonidine, levodopa and amitriptyline, for example, mainly in the elderly;
  • Pregnancy , as it is a period in which there are changes in circulation and there may be a decrease in blood pressure. Learn more details on  how to prevent and relieve dizziness in pregnancy .

Other conditions, such as anemia and hypoglycemia, although they do not cause a drop in pressure, alter the blood’s ability to deliver oxygen and nutrients to brain cells, and can cause the feeling of dizziness. 

What to do : The treatment for this type of dizziness also depends on the resolution of its cause, which can be done with a cardiologist, geriatrician or general practitioner, who can do the investigation with exams and necessary adjustments.

4. Anxiety

Psychological changes such as depression and anxiety cause dizziness, as they trigger episodes of panic and changes in breathing. These situations cause dizziness that is usually accompanied by shortness of breath, tremors and tingling in the extremities, such as hands, feet and mouth.

This type of dizziness can also happen repeatedly, and appears in periods of greater stress.

What to do : it is necessary to treat anxiety, with psychotherapy and, if necessary, antidepressant or anxiolytic drugs, prescribed by the psychiatrist. 

What to do in case of dizziness 

When you feel dizzy it is advisable to keep your eyes open, stop, and look at a fixed point in front of you. When you do this for a few seconds, the feeling of dizziness usually passes quickly.

In the case of vertigo, which is when you are standing still but feel things moving around, as if the world were spinning, a good solution is to do some eye exercises and a specific technique that improves vertigo attacks in a few sessions. Check out the step-by-step exercises and this technique here .

Even so, if the dizziness does not improve, if it is very severe or if it is accompanied by other symptoms, it is important to consult a general practitioner, to identify if there is any specific cause that needs treatment.

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