Dizziness is one of those symptoms that are so common that the underlying explanations are vast. The key to figuring it out — other than seeing a doctor — is understanding the symptoms. If you are dizzy and nothing else, it is likely a minor, temporary problem.
But if there is an underlying cause, other symptoms may be present. Here is a look at many possibilities of what could be causing your dizziness:
1. Inflamed inner ear: A sudden burst of vertigo, with nausea and vomiting that may last for days. All you want is to lie in bed. You could recover faster with “vestibular rehab exercises” learnt from a physical therapist.
2. Vestibular migraine: You experience dizziness if you swivel your head fast, are in a crowded place, riding in a car or watching an action movie. Can come with unsteadiness, loss of balance, muffled hearing or a ringing sound. These symptoms don’t always accompany a headache.
3. BPPV: “Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo” triggers brief, harsh dizziness. Causes include sitting up or lying down quickly. Often accompanying aging, it is caused by calcium crystals in your inner ear.
4. Meniere’s disease: Too much fluid has built up in your inner ear, and dizziness lasts about an hour. But they recur, along with a buzz or ring in the ear, and you actually lose hearing sometimes.
5. Acoustic neuroma: This is a non-cancer growth on the nerve that connects your inner ear to the brain. Disrupting the signal, it can cause loss of balance, ringing in the ear, hearing loss, and dizziness.
6. Motion: You can get lightheaded when getting up too fast from a seated or lying position. Take your time when switching positions — it’s better for your brain’s balancing act.
7. Dehydration: Dizziness and lightheadedness caused by dehydration that limits blood to the brain.
8. Your heart: Serious conditions can trigger dizziness, including abnormal heart rhythm, heart attack, stroke, drop in blood pressure, and atherosclerosis. Act fast and seek emergency attention.
9. Anxiety: Harsh anxiety and events such as panic attacks can trigger dizziness.
10. Missing nutrients: Dizziness can sprout from magnesium, iron and vitamin B6 deficiencies. All these can be reversed by taking supplements, but check with your doctor first.
11. Food allergies: Dizziness can result from food allergies. Figure out what you’re allergic to, either by keeping a detailed diet diary or by testing foods and eliminating the ones that are fine. In the end, remove the food that causes the allergy, and avoid the dizziness.