Dizziness is a general term that describes lightheadedness, a floating sensation or fainting.
According to the NIH (National Institute of Health) dizziness is the #1 complaint of persons age 70 and older and #3 for all age groups, only preceded by backache and headache.
Fall-risk and loss of independence is recognized as the #1 concern of older adults, the fastest growing segment of the population.
What Are the Causes of Dizziness?
Dizziness is the result of your brain receiving false signals from the balance system (comprised of the inner ear, eyes and muscles and joints).
There are many possible causes of dizziness including low blood pressure, anemia, dehydration, heat-related disorders, endocrine system disorders (e.g., diabetes, thyroid disease), heart conditions, high blood pressure, viral and bacterial infections, head trauma, hyperventilation, neurological disorders and certain medications.
Several balance disorders are commonly associated with dizziness and/or vertigo.
- Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV) involves brief but intense periods of vertigo that are triggered by specific changes in head position. It occurs when tiny crystals in the otolith organs become dislodged and migrate to the semicircular canals.
- Meniere’s disease is a chronic condition that causes vertigo, tinnitus, fullness in the ear and fluctuating hearing loss that may eventually become permanent. Meniere’s is usually confined to one ear and though its cause is unknown it may be the result of abnormal fluid buildup in the inner ear.
- Labyrinthitis is an inflammation of the inner ear usually caused by an infection. Its symptoms include vertigo, temporary hearing loss and tinnitus.
What Other Symptoms Are Associated with Dizziness?
Patients who experience dizziness report a variety of symptoms depending on the exact nature of their balance disorder. These include:
- Vertigo (the sensation of movement in your surroundings)
- Blurred vision
How Is Dizziness Treated?
Treatment for dizziness takes many forms, depending on the cause. Your doctor will try to target the underlying condition in order to reduce or eliminate the symptoms.
Options include medications (antihistamines, sedatives, antibiotics, steroids), physical or occupational therapy, surgery, repositioning exercises, vestibular retraining programs and lifestyle modifications such as dietary changes and elimination of alcohol and nicotine).
Call Middle Tennessee Hearing Solutions at (615) 624-5400 for more information or to schedule an appointment.