Dizziness is one of the most common symptoms people report to their doctors. Sadly, many people never find out why they are dizzy. Their doctors often have very limited knowledge about the many different problems that generate vertigo, so they dread seeing dizzy patients and have little to provide in the way of treatment. Most vertigo can be greatly improved or completely eliminated, so choosing to educate yourself about your dizziness can help you narrow down the cause of the problem and find a solution. That’s the purpose of this blog.
There are diseases throughout the entire body that have dizziness as a symptom. Just like a rash can come from something as simple as an allergy, or as severe as a virus rampaging through your system, dizziness is a frequent sign of a bigger underlying problem. Sometimes the problem arises in the inner ear. In other cases it reflects a disease in the brain. Information flows to the balance system from the limbs and neck, so difficulties in these areas can also cause dizziness. Problems with the heart, lungs and flow of blood can all make you dizzy. In order to figure out the cause, you must look at what is happening in all of the body. You will want to think about other symptoms that seemed to come on around the time you started to get dizzy–these will be important clues.
One of the challenges is that it’s hard to describe what you are feeling. When you say you are dizzy, that covers a lot of ground. It can range from a feeling of being dazed as if you have been struck on the head, a sense of being off balance when standing or walking, or a feeling of motion so violent that you fall to the floor. Vertigo is a sub-type of dizziness that is especially severe, and it always involves a real sense of movement inside the head. The classic form of vertigo is a feeling of spinning, and some will actually see the world revolving. In others it can be a boat-like rocking sensation. Some will feel or see a violent tilting of the world, or experience a dropping or lifting feeling like riding in an elevator. It helps to narrow things down if you describe the feeling as exactly as you can.
Your first steps are to think back to the beginning of the problem. Ask yourself these questions:
Regarding your very first spell of dizziness:
When did my dizziness first begin?
What sensations did I feel that first time, and how long did it last?
Did I have any other bodily symptoms, new medications, or other diseases that came on at the same time?
If there are continued spells of dizziness:
Have I noticed anything that seems to set them off?
What does it typically feel like?
How long do my spells usually last, and are there other symptoms during the spells?