Dizzy blond jokes aside, there are many reasons you may find yourself feeling woozy, lightheaded, or unstable. The intoxicating dizziness of new love or the thrilling dizziness of an amusement park ride can be breathtakingly exciting. However, dizziness experienced in everyday life while attempting to carry out daily tasks can be frightening and disconcerting. Several medical conditions may contribute to dizziness. Some of them are temporary and of no real concern, while others may require immediate medical attention. The following are 10 conditions that may cause dizziness.
10. Iron Deficiency Anemia
Anemia is a disorder in which your blood doesn’t form the red blood cells vital for carrying oxygen throughout your body. Iron deficiency anemia occurs when your body is missing the iron necessary for manufacturing these healthy red blood cells. When your body loses the necessary supply of oxygen-rich blood, you can become weak, lethargic, and sickly. According to the Mayo Clinic, symptoms of iron deficiency anemia include headache, dizziness, shortness of breath, and loss of appetite. Some people suffering from a lack of iron may want to eat bizarre items like dirt or ice.
Your body is largely composed of water, and the appropriate intake of water is important for carrying out normal daily functions. When your body becomes dehydrated, you may suffer from dizziness, confusion, and fatigue. Dehydration occurs when your body loses more water than it takes in. This can occur due to illnesses that involve fluid loss through vomiting and diarrhea. It may also occur when a person sweats profusely due to high temperatures or vigorous exercise. Diseases that cause excess urination, such as diabetes, may also cause dehydration. Prevent dehydration by consuming around six to eight 8-ounce glasses of water each day.
8. Ear Infection
Conditions that affect your inner ear can result in dizziness and balance problems. The vestibular system of your inner ear contains your semicircular canals and is responsible for helping you maintain proper balance. The semicircular canals contain fluid, and as you move your head this fluid moves as well. This plays a role in coordinating signals to your brain that help you remain upright. Additionally, when your ear canals become inflamed or irritated by an infection, you may feel lightheaded or become dizzy. Treating the ear infection should restore your proper sense of balance.
7. Heat Stroke
Temperature regulation is crucial for maintaining body temperatures at the proper settings for healthy function. When your body becomes overheated due to extreme air temperatures or overexertion, your body can suffer a heat stroke. According to Medline Plus, heat stroke is a deadly condition in which your body temperature may suddenly rise to temperatures of 106 degrees Fahrenheit or more. In addition to dizziness, symptoms may include a rapid heart rate, nausea, and mental confusion. If you or a loved one experiences heat stroke, you should seek medical treatment.
6. Orthostatic Hypotension
Hypotension is another term for low blood pressure. Orthostatic hypotension refers to the sudden drop in blood pressure that can occur when quickly going from a lying down or seated position to standing. This can occur due to low blood volume, dehydration, heart conditions, or Parkinson’s disease. Growing teens sometimes experience this phenomenon as their bodies try to keep up with rapid growth. If orthostatic hypotension is due to benign conditions rather than an underlying medical disease, taking care to rise slowly and gradually from sitting to standing can help prevent fainting and falls.
5. Hypoglycemia (Low Blood Sugar)
Dizziness can be a symptom of the low blood sugar levels that occur when a healthy individual goes too long between meals. It can also be a symptom of the low blood sugar levels in diabetic patients who are experiencing insulin shock. Other symptoms of low blood sugar include shakiness, anxiety, sweating or chills, blurry vision, and sleepiness. The American Diabetes Association recommends diabetic patients treat hypoglycemia by following the “15-15 rule”. This involves consuming 15 grams of carbohydrates, waiting 15 minutes, and then rechecking your blood glucose levels.
4. Heart Attack or Stroke
Lightheadedness, dizziness, and confusion may be symptoms of a heart attack or stroke. The American Stroke Association lists numbness, confusion, vision problems, trouble walking, dizziness, and headache as signs of stroke that require immediate medical attention. Meanwhile, the American Heart Association includes chest pain, upper body discomfort, shortness of breath, cold sweats, and lightheadedness as symptoms of a heart attack. Dial 911 if you or a loved one experiences any of these symptoms.
3. Side Effects from Medications
Some medications may cause side effects that include dizziness, lightheadedness, and unsteadiness. Pain medications that affect the central nervous system, such as codeine or anti-inflammatory drugs, may cause dizziness and confusion. Certain antibiotics may also contribute to dizziness and imbalance. Blood pressure medications may be culprits when suffering from dizziness. Examples of such blood pressure lowering medications include beta blockers, nifedipine, and furosemide. Prescriptions used to treat mental conditions such as anxiety, depression, and schizophrenia may also cause dizziness.
Dizziness and balance issues may be a sign of a tumor. According to the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, symptoms of a brain tumor may include severe headaches, an unrelenting sensation that the room is spinning, seizures, vision problems, and hearing loss. Following a health history and physical exam, a brain tumor is usually diagnosed through imaging. An MRI with contrast can help to visualize a tumor and determine its size. CT scans, PET scans, and cerebral angiograms are other tests that can help diagnose a brain tumor.
1. Meniere’s Disease
Meniere’s disease is a condition that affects the inner ear canal. This disease usually affects just one ear and may be caused when the pressure of excess fluid affects the nerves and structures of the inner ear. This condition may be triggered by trauma to the head, ear infections, allergies, smoking, or stress. Symptoms include pain and pressure in the ear, a loss of hearing, and ringing in the ears. While Meniere’s disease is incurable, treatment can help relieve the symptoms of dizziness and loss of balance. Lifestyle changes such as quitting smoking, employing techniques to reduce stress, and avoiding caffeine and MSG may help.