Common causes of dizziness


Dizziness or lightheadedness as a symptom is so common nowadays here at the coast of Kenya because of increased heat. So many people consult me in person or over the phone about them feeling dizzy sometimes. Even my own sister experienced dizziness just recently, hence the decision to write about the common causes of dizziness and what to do about it.

It is important to note that by dizziness here we mean the feeling that you are about to faint or ‘pass out’ and not vertigo whereby you feel either you or your surroundings are moving. Dizziness is a common symptom that’s not usually a sign of anything serious especially when brief, but should be investigated by a doctor. See your doctor when worried, prolonged dizziness, repeated episodes of dizziness or particularly when you experience other symptoms such as vomiting, severe headache, fever, loss of consciousness, head injury, dizziness when lying down too usually caused by viral ear infection and chest pain or tightness. Sometimes but rarely dizziness can be associated with certain serious conditions such as concussion, stroke and meningitis hence the need to be investigated by a doctor.

Below are the most common causes of dizziness.

After a long period of lying down or sitting and then abruptly standing up blood pressure may drop excessively a condition called orthostatic or postural hypotension and the person may feel dizzy briefly. This usually resolves rapidly when you lie down.

Hypoglycaemia or low blood sugar level. This can occur when you have not eaten for long period of time or when using anti-diabetic medication. Jam or honey and later eating manage this. If you are using diabetic medication and you are experiencing dizziness frequently, consult your doctor for review of your medication.

Hypotension or low blood pressure, or high blood pressure can cause dizziness. When you visit a doctor your blood pressure will be taken, the cause investigated and managed accordingly.

Dehydration is a common cause of dizziness in areas where it is too hot like currently at the Kenyan coast. Drinking plenty of clear fluids is advised to avoid dehydration since a lot of water is lost from our bodies due to the heat and can cause heat emergencies and hypotension due to dehydration.

Bleeding including heavy menstrual bleeding can cause dizziness due to hypovolemic shock. When you visit your doctor due to the above, cause of bleeding is investigated and managed, your blood level checked whether intravenous fluids, haematinics or whole blood and blood products may be administered according to the findings.

Ear disorders and infections can cause dizziness, your doctor would look into this and act accordingly.

Motion sickness, migraine, pregnancy, flu and panic disorder can cause dizziness too. Less common causes that would be investigated by your doctor and managed accordingly are abnormal heart rhythms and disorders, heart attack and stroke.




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