Dizziness can be a range of sensations including feeling light-headed, faint, woozy, unsteady or off-balance. Vertigo is a type of dizziness that feels as though you or your surroundings are spinning.
Dizziness is often caused by illnesses that affect the inner ear, such as benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV), migraine and inflammation of the inner ear balance apparatus (called vestibular neuritis).
Dizziness may also be caused by low blood pressure, some heart problems (such as cardiac arrhythmias), anxiety disorders such as panic attacks, or (uncommonly) by hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar).
While some people understandably find it difficult to describe their dizziness, a description of a person’s dizziness and the circumstances in which it occurs may be very helpful in reaching a diagnosis. (source)
Symptoms of dizziness and vertigo
Descriptions of dizziness may include:
- a sensation of movement (including spinning), either of yourself or the external environment
- unsteadiness, including finding it difficult to walk in a straight line
- feeling faint.
Other symptoms that may accompany dizziness include:
- nausea and vomiting
- ringing or other sounds in the ears (tinnitus)
- difficulty hearing
- staggering gait and loss of coordination (ataxia)
- unusual eye movements, such as flitting of the eyes (nystagmus)
- finding it difficult to see clearly when moving, for example, when reading a sign while walking or driving.
What causes dizziness?
A number of conditions can cause dizziness because balance involves several parts of the body. The brain gets input about movement and your body’s position from your:
- Inner ear.
Inner ear disorders are frequently the cause of feeling dizzy. The most common causes include benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV), Meniere’s syndrome, and ear infections.