Last updated:11-01-2009
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Definition of Dizziness

Dizziness is not a disease in itself but a symptom. Dizziness is the feeling that the surroundings move around or from side to side. When dizziness stems from illness, it is usually either diseases of the ear (including the balance system) or the nervous system (including the brain). However, many cases of dizziness stem from completely different things, and this is particularly true in elderly people, where dizziness is a common symptom.
Dizziness is a very common condition in connection with vertigo (fear of height).

Causes of dizziness 

  • Mental conditional dizziness. Is dizziness accompanied by anxiety, stress, tingling in the fingers, feeling short of breath and palpitations the cause may be psychological factors such as stress or anxiety. Mental conditional dizziness is very frequent. 
  • Diseases of the ear. Some diseases of the ear can cause dizziness. The most serious is Meniere's disease, where dizziness attacks are accompanied by tinnitus and nausea. 
  • Virus to the balance nerve. This is the popular name for neuritis vestibularis. The exact cause is not known but believed to be a virus. The dizziness is strong with nausea and often comes after tonsillitis, angina or a sore throat. The condition disappears after a few weeks, and there is no treatment. 
  • Other causes. Are migraine, vertigo, a tumor on the balance nerve or brain, and excessive consumption of alcohol or multiple sclerosis.

Causes of dizziness, especially in the elderly

  • Orthostatic hypotension. (blood pressure that falls when standing up). Here the dizziness will only occur when, for example. standing up from sitting position. 
  • Unsteady walk. If one walks poorly the risk of falling over increases which might be mistaken for dizziness. 
  • Improper medical treatment. Many elderly people have take many different kinds of medication, and this can cause dizziness. A review and regulation of the drug types can often halt the dizziness. 
  • TCI. Arteriosclerosis in the brain arteries can cause dizziness, but will usually be accompanied by other symptoms. 

Precautions, diagnosis and treatment of dizziness

Patients with persistent or frequent dizziness should always consult a doctor. As mentioned dizziness is a symptom which might stem from several very different conditions and it is always important to conduct a thorough examination of the underlying causes. The doctor will ask detailed questions about the condition and carry out a range of test and examinations including the blood pressure possible examinations of the ears and a thorough examination of the nerves and their function.
Depending on what the doctor suspects as the cause additional examinations might be conducted. 
The main treatment is directed towards the cause of the dizziness. If the cause is not found, treatment with anti-histamine tablets might be tried.

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Epilepsy in the handicapped
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Myasthenia gravis
Nerve pain (neuralgia), including Trigeminal neuralgia (Tic Douloureux)
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