The room spins and you feel light-headed, as if you could pass out. Or maybe you walk down the corridor, when it starts feeling like you’re on a ship, rocking back-and-forth. Other than that, you may not have any symptoms. What could be wrong? What causes dizziness?
Dizziness can be a side effect of a minor health issue, but it can also be a sign of something more serious – here are some of the usual causes of dizziness.
What causes dizziness?
- Overheating or dehydration: If you’ve been on a long flight or car journey, out in the sun, or completed an intense work-out, you may experience dizziness. Drink some water or orange juice, and lie down for a few minutes. If you aren’t feeling better within 15 to 20 minutes, see a doctor.
- Medication: If you’ve started taking a prescribed or over-the-counter medication, read the package insert to see if dizziness is a noted side-effect. Talk to your doctor about changing to a medication that doesn’t make you dizzy.
- Anaemia: If you have low levels of iron in your body, you may experience fatigue, low energy-levels, or dizziness. Your doctor will take a blood test to check whether you’re anaemic, and may prescribe an iron supplement to set this right.
- Meniere’s Disease: This condition is a disturbance of the inner ear, and people are more likely to develop it after the age of 40. Sufferers experience vertigo or dizziness, hearing loss, pressure in the ear or ringing in the ear. While Meniere’s Disease can’t be cured, symptoms can be managed with medication.
- Hypoglycaemia: Low blood sugar can make you feel sweaty or dizzy, and diabetics can also find themselves dizzy from too little or too much insulin. Even if you’re not diabetic, if you’ve been overworking and have gone without eating or drinking for several hours, you could experience hypoglycaemia. Eat a complex carbohydrate, like a slice of whole-wheat toast, or drink some orange juice.
- Low Blood Pressure: When the top number of your blood pressure is below 100 and the bottom number is below 60, this is considered as low blood pressure. If your BP readings are consistently in this range, it may not be a problem, but if it drops suddenly, you may experience dizziness. A drop can be caused by heart problems, dehydration, glandular problems, or a severe infection, and it’s wise to see the doctor immediately.
- BPPV: Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo sounds like a real mouthful, but it’s what happens when you get out of bed and the room suddenly starts spinning! This dizziness is caused by age-related changes in your inner ear – also known as positional dizziness, it may arise if you’ve slept with your head in a particular position. If you experience a persistent problem with this type of dizziness, see your doctor.
- Stroke or Mini-stroke: While dizziness may not be the first symptom of a stroke, if you experience it as a sudden change, together loss of movement, a weakness on one side of your body, a severe headache or loss of speech, call emergency services immediately.