Why We feel Dizzy or Giddy: Conditions, Illnesses and Diseases with symptoms of Dizziness
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When impairment in stability or spatial perception occurs you are likely to feel dizzy. While dizziness is not attributed precisely to a specific condition, there are a range of factors that contribute towards the state and feeling. This article provides a detailed perspective on conditions, illnesses and diseases associated with dizziness and giddiness.
Dizziness is a feeling of being unbalanced, giddy or light-headed. It’s a disoriented feeling that can lead a person to lose balance or faint. While dizziness may attribute to a primary or secondary condition, the feeling of dizziness or giddiness can be induced by certain activities that involve spinning. The sensory organs, eyes and ears in particular are affected when a person feels dizzy. Three conditions often associated with dizziness are vertigo, disequilibrium, and presyncope.
Vertigo is a medical condition where the person experiences the feeling of spinning or swaying in a violent or mild manner. Individuals experiencing a bout of vertigo feel like everything around is moving sideways, up-and-down or spinning.
The feeling of vertigo is disturbing and maybe accompanied with nausea, sweating and vomiting. If individuals are lying on a bed and experience a bout of vertigo they have difficulty waking up as the head is moved. When individuals experience a bout of vertigo while standing or walking they are likely to feel wobbly and sway with awkward movements feeling dizzy. During this bout a person may sit on the ground or stumble to the ground trying to hold onto something or someone.
A feeling of being off balance is associated with disequilibrium. Frequent falls are associated with this feeling. While falls are specifically in a direction, nausea and vomiting seldom occur.
This is a feeling of lightheadedness accompanied with blurred vision and muscular weakness. A person feels like he/she is going to faint in this state. The feeling of dizziness or lightheadedness often associated with orthostatic hypotension which results from a drastic fall in blood pressure when a person is in a sitting position or lying position.
In some cases a mild stroke can cause isolated dizziness. More than 25% of cases in which dizziness occurs are associated with vertigo.
Causes of Dizziness
The feeling of dizziness or giddiness may be caused by an underlying condition or due to varied conditions. A number of body systems that include eyes, inner ear, skeleton, muscles and nervous system need to work together as a cohesive unit to ensure proper balance. When the sense of balance is interrupted it can cause nausea, disorientation or dizziness. While imbalance may occur due to different conditions, the common conditions associated with imbalance are Meniere’s disease, a inner ear disorder/infection or a bad common cold that affects the nose, throat and results in clogged ears. Psychological causes of dizziness may stem from…
- Disorders or Infections in the Inner Ear
- A drastic fall in Blood Pressure
- Blockages in the arteries or heart problems
- Side Effects of prescription drugs
- Changes in blood supply to the brain
- Stress-oriented disorientation and blurry vision
- Changes in the nervous system caused by medications, sedatives and anticonvulsants in particular
Importance of Proper Diagnosis of Dizziness
There are many conditions associated with dizziness and hence it is important to find out the root cause of dizziness. If you have been experiencing bouts of dizziness frequently, you should consult your doctor. In certain cases dizziness can be accompanied with seizures, brain bleed, encephalitis, strokes, meningitis, epilepsy, and concussion. A doctor may run few tests depending on condition and symptoms to diagnose the root cause of dizziness. The breakdown of sub-categories associated with dizziness is as follows
- 40% Peripheral Vestibular Dysfunction
- 10% Non-Specific Dizziness
- 15% Psychiatric Disorder
- 25% Presyncope/Disequilibrium
- 10% Central Nervous System Lesion
Conditions that have symptoms of dizziness or giddiness are mentioned below.
You are likely to experience dizziness if you have…
- Toxic Megacolon
- Hyperemesis Gravidarum
- Anorexia Nervosa
- SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome)
- Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy
- Fertilizer and Plant Food Poisoning
- Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
- Allergic Asthma
- ABO Incompatibility Reaction
- Ear Barotrauma
- Respiratory Alkalosis
- Mallory Weiss Syndrome
- Acoustic Neuroma
- Diabetic Neuropathy
- Polycythemia Vera
- Post Concussion Syndrome
- Hearing Loss
- Sick Sinus Syndrome
- Toxic Shock Syndrome
- Diabetes Insipidus
- Chemical Burns
- Acute Mountain Sickness
- Drug Allergy
- Alcoholic Ketoacidosis
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
- Wolff Parkinson White Syndrome
- Marine Animal Bites or Stings
- Autonomic Neuropathy
- Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension
- Acute Adrenal Crisis (Addisonian Crisis)
35 Conditions, Illnesses and Diseases That Have Dizziness, Giddiness or Imbalance as a Symptom
- Labyrinthitis- Inflammation of inner ear which can lead to feeling dizzy.
- Motion Sickness- A condition in which vestibular system’s movement sense is disagreed by virtually perceived movement. A person experiencing motion sickness may feel nausea or dizziness.
- Meniere’s Disease- Inner ear disorder which can ledd to a bout of dizziness or imbalance.
- Pregnancy- Also known as gestation. Dizziness can occur at different stages in pregnancy.
- Hypotension- Refers to low blood pressure, especially in the arteries. This condition makes individuals feel dizzy or giddy.
- Brain Tumor- Formation of abnormal cells within the brain. Individuals with brain tumor are likely to experience blackouts or dizziness.
- Anemia- Refers to decrease in hemoglobin in blood associated with iron deficiency. People with this condition feel they are going to pass out.
- Hyperventilation- Also known as overbreathing, this condition occurs when the volume of breathing plays a role in eliminating more carbon dioxide than what the body can actually produce. Dizziness is one of the symptoms associated with this condition.
- Otitis Media- Inflammatory diseases that occur in the middle ear which can cause a dizzy feeling.
- Heart Attack- When the flow of blood to a part of the heart stops or decreases, it causes varying damage to heart muscle. A person may experience dizziness while having a mild attack.
- Migraine- A primary headache disorder in which recurrent headaches may be mild or severe. Individuals with severe migraine may experience bouts of dizziness.
- Stroke- A stroke may occur when there are ruptures in blood vessels in the brain causing bleeding or when there is prevention or blockage of blood supply to the brain. A mild stroke is often accompanied with a feeling of dizziness.
- Hypoglycemia- Also commonly known as low blood sugar, this condition occurs when blood sugar decreases drastically way below normal levels. Individuals with this condition are likely to feel dizzy or giddy.
- Depression- This condition refers to a mental disorder characterized by low self esteem, low mood, and loss of interest in normal day-to-day activities. Individuals with manic depression are likely to experience bouts of dizziness.
- Epidural Hematoma- When a mass of blood is formed between the skull and brain, the condition is known as epidural hematoma. Individuals with this condition experience blackouts and dizziness.
- BPPV (Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo)- Disorder stemming from problem in the inner ear. This condition leads to bouts of dizziness and imbalance.
- Bleeding- This may refer to loss of blood outside the body or loss of blood inside the body, internal bleeding. One of the symptoms associated with hemorrhage is dizziness.
- Ramsay Hunt Syndrome- 3 Different neurological syndromes which cause dizziness.
- Panic Disorder- An anxiety disorder during which person suffers from unexpected panic attacks which are recurrent. Individuals with anxiety disorders are likely to feel dizzy during a panic attack.
- Atherosclerosis- Buildup of plaque causes narrowing of arteries, this condition is known as Atherosclerosis or hardening of arteries. Individuals with this condition may experience bouts of dizziness.
- Vestibular schwannoma- Primary intracranial tumor that arises from Schwann cells which can lead to spells of dizziness.
- Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm- When the abdominal aortic walls get swollen or ruptured, leg pain or pain in the abdominal area might occur. Furthermore the walls of the aorta bulge out when weakened and may cause considerable pain accompanied with dizziness.
- Viral Gastroenteritis- Also commonly known as stomach flu, this condition is caused due to different viruses. Contaminated food or water is the main cause in majority of gastroenteritis cases globally. A severe case of gastroenteritis can cause bouts of dizziness and faint feeling.
- Abnormal Heart Rhythms- When the heart beats too slow or too fast it is referred to as abnormal heart rhythm. This condition also known as arrhythmia can cause bouts of dizziness in persons experiencing the condition.
- Dehydration- When your body loses more fluid than you actually drink it leads to dehydration, This can be in the form of sweating. Individuals that are dehydrated are likely to feel like they are going to faint as they giddy or dizzy.
- Cold and Flu- Influenza and common colds are contagious and affect the respiratory system. Individuals with severe cold can develop ear infections that lead to dizziness.
- Anxiety- Refers to a state of inner turmoil which leads to worry and uneasiness. Individuals with varying degrees of anxiety are likely to experience dizziness or faint feeling during an anxiety attack.
- Cardiac Tamponade- This is a condition where the heart fails to pump the required amount of blood because of buildup of fluid around the heart. Individuals with this condition may feel like they are going to pass out.
- Hypoxemia- Refers to low abnormal levels of oxygen in blood. Individuals with hypoxemia may feel dizzy.
- Multiple Sclerosis- Demyelinating disease associated with damage of insulating covers of spinal cord and nerve cells in brain. Individuals with multiple sclerosis may experience dizziness and blurry vision at different stages.
- Menstruation- Also commonly referred to as Period, the condition refers to regular disposal of mucosal tissue and blood through the vagina from inner lining of uterus. Women may experience varying degrees of dizziness during Menstruation.
- Hypertension- Refers to high blood pressure due to elevated levels of blood pumping in the arteries. Individuals with high blood pressure may feel dizzy or giddy.
- Beriberi- This condition occurs due to lack of vitamin B1 (thiamine). Symptoms associated with this condition are fast heart rate, shortness of breath, dizziness, and numbness of feet and hands.
- Whiplash- This condition is caused by a jerk or a jolt often in an accident. A persons head moves suddenly in backward and forward motion. A person in this state is likely to feel giddy or dizzy.
- Pulmonary Embolism- This refers to a blood clot that occurs in the lungs. This condition damages parts of the lung and also other organs. Individuals with this condition have decreased oxygen levels in blood. Dizziness is one of the symptoms associated with Pulmonary Embolism.
This article is for informational purposes and should not be used to diagnose a condition, illness or disease. Please consult health professional in case you have health queries, concerns or questions. Some of the aforementioned conditions require medical emergency.
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