Lightheaded and dizziness are common symptoms caused by various factors, including dehydration, low blood sugar, adverse drug effects, or underlying medical issues. Although these symptoms can be frightening, they are benign and can be treated straightforwardly. You need to see a doctor if the condition is serious. Here in this article, we will discuss almost all aspects of lightheadedness and dizziness.
What are Lightheadedness and Dizziness?
Lightheadedness is when you feel lightheaded; you may feel dizzy or like you could pass out. While experiencing lightheadedness, your body may feel heavy, while your head feels numb, as if it’s not getting enough blood. In other words, we can say it’s a “reeling sensation.” Clouded vision and loss of balance may cause it.
On the other hand, dizziness is a state of imbalance, wooziness, and unsteadiness. Since it is connected to sensory organs, such as the eyes and ears, it can sometimes cause fainting. Although dizziness is a mild sign of many illnesses, it is not a disease in and of itself.
Common Causes lightheadedness
The most common causes of lightheadedness include allergies to specific pollen, dust, fever, stroke, and nicotine abuse. Hypoglycemia, dehydration, tachypnea (rapid breathing rate), and drug interactions
Common Causes of Dizziness:
The most common causes of lightheadedness include an irregular heartbeat, bleeding, orthostatic hypotension, potent drugs like muscle relaxants, antihistamines, antiepileptic drugs, migraines, heat exhaustion, and CVS issues.
Causes of sudden Dizziness and Lightheadedness with nausea:
In most cases, feeling queasy and dizzy is not dangerous. However, if you experience these symptoms and are unsure of their origin or if they are persistent, let your doctor know. The most common ones are listed below:
- Low Blood Sugar
- Heart Attack
- Brain tumor
- Motion Sickness
- Anxiety Attack
It can feel like you’re spinning or relocating when you’re still. This symptom is brought on by an issue with the portion of your inner ear that maintains equilibrium in your body. Vertigo can cause balance issues and make you feel like throwing up.
Sometimes, vertigo disappears on its own. If not, your doctor will address the issue’s root cause.
Some medications may reduce your vertigo. The Epley maneuver can also be effective, including shifting your head to a different position.
Hypoglycemia occurs when blood glucose (sugar in the blood) levels fall below 70 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL), which is too low to support normal functioning. According to Harvard Health Publishing, when your blood sugar is low, your brain tries to conserve as much energy as it can, which may cause you to feel dizzy. According to expert advice, treat hypoglycemia immediately if you encounter this typical symptom by consuming 15 to 20 g of fast-acting carbohydrates, such as juice. Harvard advises that if the dizziness persists for more than 15 minutes, it’s necessary to seek medical attention. The American Diabetes Association reported that low blood sugar is associated with confusion, dizziness, seizures, comas, or death.
Vascular vertigo is a disorder that can result in vertigo and dizziness when the blood flow to the body is compromised. Patients having medical conditions like heart attacks, stroke, or chronic hypertension experience the symptoms of dizziness and related disorders. It is frequently connected to cardiovascular or CVS problems. It could be caused by either a slow or fast heartbeat and could mean that the electrical system in your heart isn’t functioning properly. It could be a sign of an arrhythmia or heart valve condition.
Even though a brain tumor is unlikely to cause dizziness directly, some tumors may cause dizziness-related , nausea, vomiting, and dehydration.
Otolaryngologists examine patients with benign paroxysmal positional vertigo; however, brain malignancies can manifest similarly.
Although dizziness can be a symptom of motion sickness, this is not always the case. When your brain cannot distinguish between competing signals, motion sickness develops. It occurs when a mismatch between what you see, feel, and experience and your muscles.
You receive motion-sensory information from your inner ears, muscles, joints, and other organs in your body. Whenever these body parts have conflicting signals, the brain cannot determine whether you are stationary or moving. Feeling sick is the result of your confused brain’s reaction. Motion sickness symptoms disappear within four hours after the motion stops. Motion sickness rarely gets better in the future.
There is a possibility that anxiety disorders can cause dizziness. As your fight or flight instinct kicks in, your body prepares for danger. It is frequently the case when you experience anxiety. You can get an adrenaline rush, fainting or lightheaded. One of the most severe anxiety disorders is panic attacks. Numerous symptoms are present at once, and you experience powerful occurrences and the feeling that something awful is occurring to you. Dizziness is one of the signs of fear. Dizziness can be a worrying symptom, especially when linked to risky conditions. It can give you the impression that you are about to faint.
Causes of Sudden Dizziness and Lightheadedness without Nausea:
Most of the time, a dizzy and lightheaded person starts getting unusual symptoms of nausea along with already existing symptoms like unconsciousness; several factors could contribute to this. Some of them are mentioned below.
Inner ear problems:
It is possible to treat dizziness, which is frequently brought on by inner ear issues. The most common causes of dizziness related to the inner ear are benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV), migraines, and inflammation of the inner ear balance system (vestibular neuritis).
Meniere’s disease can cause episodes of vertigo and hearing loss. In Meniere’s disease, only one ear is affected. Anyone can develop Meniere’s disease at any age. However, it typically begins between 40 and 60.
The most frequently prescribed vertigo drug is meclizine (Antivert or Bonine). Even if Dramamine is mild and over-the-counter medicine, it may still work.
Reduced blood flow:
A blood flow problem may bring on dizziness. If your blood arteries cannot carry enough oxygen-rich blood to your brain, you may experience faintness or lightheadedness. Blood clots, heart failure, artery blockages, and erratic heartbeats are all potential causes of decreased blood flow. As people age, the issue may worsen.
Cardiomyopathy, heart attacks, heart arrhythmias, and transient ischemia attacks may cause dizziness. Your brain or inner ear may also suffer from inadequate blood supply due to decreased blood volume.
Drugs save lives, but they can be toxic. If a medicine is the source of your dizziness, talk to your doctor about stopping it or reducing the dosage. When nausea is accompanied by dizziness (Dramamine), it may be beneficial to use an over-the-counter (nonprescription) antihistamine such as meclizine or dimenhydrinate. These may cause drowsiness.
Medications that cause Dizziness and Lightheadedness are:
- Hypertension drugs
- The antidepressants.
- Anti-seizure medications.
- A sedative.
- The tranquilizers
Carbon monoxide poisoning:
CO poisoning usually characterizes headaches, dizziness, weakness, nausea, upset stomachs, vomiting, chest discomfort, and confusion. It is common to compare the symptoms of CO to those of the flu. Carbon monoxide can make you lose consciousness or kill if you breathe it heavily. As carbon monoxide has high efficacy in binding hemoglobin in the blood, this bond impairs the blood’s oxygen capacity, ultimately disturbing vital blood functions. Insufficient oxygen transport to the brain can cause dizziness, fatigue, headaches, and disorientation.
Other Causes of Lightheadedness and Dizziness
- Heart attack and stroke
- A sudden blood pressure drop
- Anxiety disorders
- Motion sickness
Medical Conditions Associated with Lightheadedness and Dizziness
The most frequent causes of vertigo include labyrinthitis, an inner ear infection that impairs hearing and balance and can induce severe vertigo. Before, after, or even without a headache, dizziness may be accompanied by a migraine.
Difference Between Dizziness and Vertigo
Even though these words are frequently used synonymously, they convey different meanings in their aspects.
Dizziness is a sensation of being lightheaded, fuzzy, or unstable, known as dizziness. Dizziness is more prevalent than vertigo, which is a general spinning sensation. When you feel dizzy, your sense of orientation in space is disrupted, and your perception of your location inside a given environment is distorted. Additionally, your balance may feel off. On the other hand, Vertigo is a real spinning sensation that you experience as a result of your movement or your surroundings.
Diagnosis of Lightheadedness and Dizziness:
An estimated 5% of visits to primary care clinics are for dizziness. The four categories into which dizziness can typically be categorised based on the patient’s history are vertigo, disequilibrium, presyncope, and lightheadedness.
Your doctor could quickly request an MRI or CT scan if you are older, have had a head injury, or are suspected of having a stroke. Most patients who visit their doctor for dizziness will initially be questioned about their symptoms and current medications before having a physical examination. During this examination, your doctor will assess your balance, gait, and the health of your central nervous system’s primary nerves.
When no other neurologic abnormalities are present, laboratory testing and radiography are generally not helpful in the workup of individuals with dizziness. Complete blood counts, metabolic panels, and thyroid function tests are just a few of the laboratory tests that have very little success in identifying the source of dizziness.
Eye movement tests Your doctor may observe your eye movements when following a moving object. Additionally, you might undergo an eye motion test during which air or water is inserted into your ear canal.
To diagnose benign paroxysmal positional vertigo, your doctor may perform the Dix-Hallpike manoeuvre.
Posturography: The results of this test let your doctor know which components of your balance system you depend on the most and which ones might cause issues. You strive to maintain your balance under various circumstances as you stand on a platform with your bare feet.
Rotary chair testing: You take this test while seated in a chair controlled by a computer and slowly rotate in a full circle. It goes back and forth in a relatively narrow arc at faster speeds.
Treatment of Lightheadedness and Dizziness:
Untreated dizziness usually improves on its own. The body often adjusts to whatever is causing it within a few weeks. Your doctor will base your treatment on your disease’s root and current symptoms. Medicine and balancing training may be part of it. Even if a reason is not identified or if the dizziness continues, prescription medications and other treatments may help you to manage your symptoms.
- Water pills. Your doctor may recommend a water pill if you have Meniere’s disease (diuretic). This could lessen how frequently you experience dizzy episodes when combined with a low-salt diet.
- Anti-anxiety medications. A group of medications known as benzodiazepines, which may lead to addiction, includes diazepam (Valium) and alprazolam (Xanax). Also, they might make you feel sleepy.
- Preventive medicine for migraine. Certain medicines may help prevent migraine attacks.
Head position manoeuvres. Epley manoeuvre, or the canalith repositioning procedure, is much more effective than waiting for benign paroxysmal positional vertigo to go away in treating this condition. Your doctor, an audiologist, or a physical therapist can adjust your head position in this procedure. Usually, after one or two treatments, it takes action. Inform your healthcare practitioner if you suffer from a neck or back ailment, a detached retina, or blood vessel issues.
- Balance therapy. You could do certain activities to help your balance system become less motion-sensitive. Vestibular rehabilitation is the name of this physical treatment approach. It treats inner ear problems such as vestibular neuritis in patients who experience dizziness.
- Psychotherapy. People with anxiety disorders who experience dizziness may benefit from this kind of therapy.
When To Consult a Doctor?
Most people don’t need to visit a doctor occasionally. However, you should consult a doctor if you experience one or more of the following dizziness or lightheadedness symptoms:
- Weakness on the body’s side
- Dropping or numbing of the face
- When you feel pain in the chest, arm, neck, or jaw
- Vision changes, such as double vision
- Vomiting, Seizures, Fainting
- Sudden severe headache
FAQs About Lightheadedness And Dizziness Answered By Your Doctors Online Team
Depending on the cause, different medicines may be recommended to treat dizziness. For instance, anti-nausea medications may be prescribed if the cause is a virus. If the cause is a stroke, medications to reduce blood pressure may be prescribed. In addition, vestibular rehabilitation exercises can help manage dizziness.
Home remedies for dizziness include drinking plenty of fluids, sleeping with the head elevated, avoiding screens, and avoiding alcohol and caffeine. Eating ginger, drinking ginger tea, and doing relaxation exercises, such as deep breathing or yoga, can also be helpful.
If your dizziness is accompanied by chest pain, shortness of breath, or other symptoms of heart disease, it’s important to seek medical attention immediately. If any of these symptoms do not accompany your dizziness, then the home remedies listed above should be enough to help.
A brain scan can help detect any underlying medical conditions causing your dizziness. It can also help rule out any structural problems in the brain that could be causing dizziness. A brain scan is a valuable tool for diagnosing certain types of dizziness and helping to create a treatment plan.
Yes, a clogged artery can cause dizziness. The clog can reduce the amount of oxygen-rich blood that reaches the brain, and this can cause dizziness. A brain scan can help detect this type of problem and help inform a treatment plan that may involve lifestyle changes, medications, or other treatments.