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Why You Feel Dizzy (And What to Do about It)
Have you ever felt your head spinning, and suddenly the surroundings started to get blurry? Of course, you have. The condition is known as dizziness and is very common among older adults. 24% of people aged 72 and older even report experiencing chronic dizziness. Although it is not necessarily serious nor a disease, it can be a dangerous symptom of several underlying conditions.
What Is Dizziness?
Dizziness is when people feel lightheadedness, vertigo, faintness, and imbalance. The condition involves sensory organs like ears and eyes, so you might experience blurred vision or be unable to properly hear for a short time. It doesn't cause any harm, but some older people have reported injuries after falling due to dizziness.
If you experience dizziness once in a while, it may not be a problem. However, you should see a doctor if you have frequent episodes of dizziness.
Symptoms Of Dizziness
Following are common symptoms of dizziness:
- Losing balance
- Blurry vision
- A false sense of falling or spinning
- A feeling of floating/swimming
- Nausea and vomiting
Causes of Dizziness
There are several causes behind dizziness, but nothing that can't be treated. Below is the list of the reasons behind dizziness and their treatments.
Working for long hours in hot weather or not drinking enough water can cause dizziness. Lack of fluids or high body temperature can reduce the oxygen in the brain, causing you to feel dizzy.
As human beings, we lose our body fluids in the form of sweat, urination, etc., so it is necessary to refill the tank by drinking a good amount of water. Click here to learn more about staying hydrated!
Low Blood Pressure
Blood pressure adjusts itself according to our movements. However, as we age, this system doesn't remain as active. Therefore, when people change positions quickly, i.e., standing up or sitting down quickly, their blood pressure drops, causing them to feel dizzy or lightheaded. This condition is also known as orthostatic hypotension.
Orthostatic hypotension can be treated with some medicines like fludrocortisone or ProAmatine but only take it if prescribed by the doctor.
When the heart doesn't pump enough blood in your body/veins, you can feel dizziness because less blood means less oxygen in your brain. Check out our post, 10 Ways to Improve Your Blood Circulation to learn more!
Some people develop, while some others are born with anxiety problems. When people with anxiety disorders encounter an anxiety-triggering situation, they may experience dizziness and panic attacks. In some older people, the situation is inversed; they experience dizziness that results in an anxiety attack.
Harmful events that trigger your anxiety should be avoided. Moreover, there are medicines and techniques available for treating anxiety.
Low Blood Sugar
People with diabetes, especially those using insulin or medication, may feel woozy and lightheaded, followed by sweating due to a sudden drop in sugar levels in their blood. Some other reasons behind low sugar levels are consuming alcohol or skipping meals. Dr. Grossman says:
"When you don't have enough blood sugar, every system in your body goes on reserve to use as little energy as possible, including your brain, making you feel lightheaded or confused."
Be sure to speak with your doctor and closely monitor insulin levels.
People who have anemia or those who don't eat iron-rich foods may feel fatigued, experience pale skin and dizziness due to a decrease in platelets.
Properly following strict diets with iron-rich and oxygen-rich food may help prevent anemia. Iron supplements are also a good alternative. Speak to your doctor to determine if it is right for you.
Medications are a common reason for dizziness. Medications that make you urinate more than usual and lower your blood pressure like antidepressants, tranquilizers, or anti-seizure drugs can make you feel dizzy.
Speak to your doctor if you expect medications may be causing your dizziness. They may be able to recommend a different medication to avoid this side-effect.
Inner Ear Problems
It is one of the most common reasons why older people suffer from dizziness. Certain conditions like infections or a weak immune system affect your inner ear and hearing ability. It causes fake or irrelevant messages from ear to brain involuntarily, ringing in the ears, loss of hearing, and dizziness.
Some people develop Autoimmune inner ear disease (AIED) that affects the whole body and requires proper diagnoses, blood tests, and medications.
Dizziness can indicate heart problems like a stroke or heart attack. You need to see the doctor immediately if your body is showing signs of a heart attack.
When To See the Doctor?
In most cases, you will find the above reasons behind feeling dizzy, and as told above, there is nothing serious. However, it can be severe in certain situations. If you have continuous episodes of severe dizziness or following symptoms, you need to see your doctor as early as possible to avoid any mishap. These symptoms include:
- Irregular heartbeat
- Loss of sight and hearing
- Chest pain
- Temperature swings
- Head or neck ache
- Inability to speak