General Question

stevenb's avatar

What causes dizziness?

Asked by stevenb (3808points) May 5th, 2008 from iPhone

I get dizzy sometimes, like my equalibrium is off a bit. If I look up or sound too fast, my headspins. If it gets bad my eyes will even ratchet back and forth for a few seconds. It has happenned for several years now, and just out of the blue pops up. Any ideas? It doesn’t seem to be food related. Some days it lasts minutes, some all day. Thanks for your help!

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9 Answers

loser's avatar

do you have sinus or allergy problems? It could be an inner ear thing.

Kay's avatar

Are you dehydrated? A lot of dizziness is caused by dehydration (esp in the morning when you first wake up), so make sure you’re getting enough fluids.

shilolo's avatar

Steven, There are several potential causes of dizziness. What you describe sounds a lot like vertigo, and the fact that head turning precipitates the attacks makes me think of something called benign positional vertigo. Basically, little stones in your inner ear trick your brain into thinking that you are moving when rapid head turning (i.e. up or to the side) rattles the stones against the membranes in your ear. This tends to occur as people get older since the stones are basically calcium deposits. The eye “ratcheting” is something called nystagmus and can occur with vertigo. You can read a little bit about benign positional vertigo (and other causes of dizziness/vertigo) here or here. Fortunately, if this is the cause, it will go away on its own or your doctor can do a little head maneuvering to “move” the stones into a safe position. As always, I suggest you seek out your doctor for a complete evaluation. Good luck.

shilolo's avatar

I should add that since you mentioned that symptoms have been occurring over years, that if the cause is indeed BPV, you should ask your doctor to teach you how to maneuver your head to eliminate the symptoms when they occur.

scamp's avatar

You might want to look at information on Miniere’s Disease if you are having any disturbances with your hearing along with the dizzyness.

shilolo's avatar

Miniere’s Disease is always on the differential diagnosis for dizziness, but the recurrent, paroxysmal (intermittent/sudden) positional (head turning) vertigo (head-spinning, nystagmus) all favor benign positional vertigo. Nonetheless, a thorough medical evaluation will certainly sort this out. And Steve, you can still go to the doctor with this complaint even if you aren’t experiencing it at the time. Using the Dix-Hallpike maneuver, your doctor should be able to elicit vertigo and nystagmus if the cause is BPV even when you are feeling fine.

stevenb's avatar

Wow and thank you shilolo! I will check with my doc.

shilolo's avatar

My pleasure. I have a good feeling that things will be better soon.

hearkat's avatar

@shilolo: I’m an Audiologist, and I concur that the symptoms described sound very much like BPPV. In addition to diagnosing others with dizziness, I have also had BPPV twice in my life, and it was resolved with repositioning techniques.

@StevenB: The only way to get an accurate diagnosis is to have a comprehensive evaluation by an Otologist and Audiologist, as there truly are many different causes of dizziness. Be as thorough as you can in providing a detailed medical history and description of your symptoms. Although what you describe here does seem to easily fit one diagnosis, there are other possibilities, and it perhaps there are specifics you haven’t mentioned to us. Feel better soon, and feel free to contact me if you have any other questions.

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