Dizziness is a common symptom that can manifest in various forms, often causing discomfort and a sense of instability. It can range in severity from mild to severe depending on the underlying cause.
Understanding the different types of dizziness to accurately diagnose and treat the underlying causes is important.
While dizziness is uncommonly due to a serious disease, it can be disruptive and even dangerous if it leads to falls or other accidents. Here, we will explore the causes and types of dizziness further.
Types of dizziness
The types of dizziness are generally categorised as follows:
- Vertigo: This type of dizziness is characterised by a spinning or whirling sensation as if the environment or the individual is moving when they are not. It is often caused by inner ear problems, such as benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV), Meniere’s disease, or vestibular neuritis, and can rarely be due to problems in the brain.
- Disequilibrium: People experiencing disequilibrium often feel unsteady or off-balance. It may be caused by various factors, including inner ear disorders, musculoskeletal problems, neurological conditions, or medication side effects.
- Lightheadedness: Lightheadedness refers to a feeling of faintness as if one might pass out. It can be caused by factors like low blood pressure, dehydration, hyperventilation, anaemia, or certain medications.
- Anxiety-induced dizziness: Anxiety can lead to a sensation of dizziness or lightheadedness. This type of dizziness often accompanies other symptoms of anxiety, such as rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath, and a sense of impending doom.
Causes of dizziness
Some possible causes of dizziness include:
- Hypoglycemia: Low blood sugar can cause dizziness due to inadequate fuel supply to the brain.
Dehydration: Insufficient fluid intake can lead to dizziness by affecting blood pressure and electrolyte balance.
- Anaemia: A low red blood cell count reduces oxygen delivery to the brain, resulting in dizziness.
Inner ear disorders: Conditions like Meniere’s disease, vestibular neuritis, or labyrinthitis affect the inner ear’s balance mechanisms, causing dizziness.
- Cardiovascular problems: Heart conditions, such as arrhythmias or heart valve disorders, can disrupt blood flow and lead to dizziness.
- Head injuries: Traumatic brain injuries or concussions can cause dizziness due to damage to the brain or inner ear.
- Medication side effects: Certain medications, like blood pressure medications or sedatives, can induce dizziness as a side effect.
- Stress and anxiety disorders: Heightened stress or anxiety can trigger dizziness through the body’s physiological responses.
- Motion sickness: Sensory conflicts during motion, like in cars, boats, or planes, can lead to dizziness.
- Infections: Viral or bacterial infections such as vestibular neuritis or labyrinthitis can cause inflammation in the inner ear, resulting in dizziness.
- Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV): BPPV occurs when tiny calcium crystals in the inner ear become dislodged and affect balance, leading to dizziness.
- Hypotension: Low blood pressure can cause inadequate blood flow to the brain, resulting in dizziness.
- Stroke: Reduced blood flow to the brain due to a clot or bleeding can cause sudden dizziness.
- Cerebellar disease: Conditions affecting the balance centre in the brain, such as inflammation or infection, can lead to dizziness.
Medical assistance for dizziness
If you are experiencing dizziness, it is important to talk to your doctor to determine the underlying cause of your symptoms. You may require special tests to determine the cause of your dizziness.
Your doctor may recommend medications or treatments based on the underlying condition that is causing your dizziness.
In addition, your doctor may recommend lifestyle changes or refer you to a physical therapist for vestibular rehabilitation.
It is also important to note that dizziness can sometimes be a symptom of a more serious condition, such as a heart attack or stroke.
CURA Medical Specialists Can Help Assist with Dizziness
If you are suffering from dizziness and related conditions, consult with your doctor and he or she may refer you to CURA Medical Specialists.
Our team of highly trained neurologists has extensive experience treating a wide range of dizziness conditions, including vertigo, imbalance, and other related symptoms.
We use advanced diagnostic tools and techniques to accurately identify the underlying cause of your dizziness and create a personalised treatment plan tailored to your specific needs.
Our goal is to help you regain your balance, improve your quality of life, and achieve long-term relief from your symptoms.
With our compassionate care and expertise, you can trust CURA Medical Specialists to provide you with the best possible care for your dizziness condition.
Contact us to book a consultation.
Why Choose Us
Meet Our Specialist
Dr Mahtab Ghadiri
BMedSc MBBS (Hons) FRACP PhD
Dr Mahtab Ghadiri is a specialist in General Neurology and has subspecialist expertise in Multiple Sclerosis and other immune conditions of the central nervous system.
Dr Ghadiri trained in Neurology at the Royal Prince Alfred and Westmead Hospitals. She completed Multiple Sclerosis clinical and research fellowships at both the Brain and Mind Centre, Sydney, and the Montreal Neurological Institute and McGill University, Montreal, Canada. She completed her PhD at the University of Sydney, investigating the effect of Multiple Sclerosis drug treatments on immune cells.
Dr Ghadiri is a Staff Specialist Neurologist at St George Hospital. She is the Head of the Multiple Sclerosis clinic at St George Hospital and a Consultant Neurologist in the Multiple Sclerosis clinic at the Brain and Mind Centre/Royal Prince Alfred Hospital. She is a Conjoint Lecturer at the University of New South Wales.
If you require more information on dizziness, please read our most frequently asked questions:
What gets rid of dizziness quickly?
There are several strategies you can try to alleviate dizziness quickly, including sitting or lying down, focusing on a fixed point, staying hydrated, practising deep breathing, and eating a snack if your dizziness is caused by low blood sugar.
However, it is important to note that these tips are not a substitute for medical treatment and are not effective for all types of dizziness. If you experience frequent or severe dizziness, it is important to speak with your doctor to determine the underlying cause and explore appropriate treatment options.
How do I stop having frequent episodes when I feel dizzy?
If you experience frequent episodes of dizziness, it’s important to speak with your doctor to determine the underlying cause of your symptoms.
Depending on the cause, treatment options may include medication, physical therapy, lifestyle changes, or other interventions. You may be able to prevent dizziness if the underlying causes are correctly treated.
Can an inner ear infection cause dizziness?
Yes, an inner ear infection can cause dizziness. A viral or bacterial infection that affects the inner ear, which controls balance and spatial orientation in the body, is typically the cause of inner ear infections, also known as labyrinthitis or vestibular neuritis.
Inflammation or swelling in the inner ear can disrupt the transmission of sensory signals to the brain, leading to symptoms such as dizziness, vertigo, and loss of balance.
Could my high blood pressure be responsible for my dizzy spells?
It is possible that high blood pressure could be responsible for your dizziness, as the two conditions can often be linked. High blood pressure can lead to decreased blood flow to the brain, which can cause dizziness, lightheadedness, and even fainting.
It is important to talk with your doctor to determine if your high blood pressure is the cause of your dizziness and to discuss the best course of action to treat it.
What is benign paroxysmal positional vertigo?
Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) is a disorder of the inner ear canal that causes episodes of vertigo (a spinning sensation).
The most common type of vertigo, BPPV, is caused by tiny calcium crystals (canaliths) that break loose and move into one of the canals of the inner ear. This movement of the canaliths stimulates the nerves in the inner ear, causing sudden and extreme dizziness and a spinning sensation.
This information is not intended to be used for diagnosis or treatment. It is aimed at presenting a perspective only and is not a substitute for a prescription. Anyone experiencing a medical condition should consult their doctor.