|Classification and external resources|
Dizziness is an impairment in spatial perception and stability. Because the term dizziness is imprecise, it can refer to vertigo, presyncope, disequilibrium, or a non-specific feeling such as giddiness or foolishness.
One can induce dizziness by engaging in disorientating activities such as spinning.
- Vertigo is the sensation of spinning or having one's surroundings spin about them. Many people find vertigo very disturbing and often report associated nausea and vomiting. It represents about 25% of cases of occurrences of dizziness.
- Disequilibrium is the sensation of being off balance, and is most often characterized by frequent falls in a specific direction. This condition is not often associated with nausea or vomiting.
- Presyncope is lightheadedness, muscular weakness and feeling faint as opposed to a syncope, which is actually fainting.
- Non-specific dizziness is often psychiatric in origin. It is a diagnosis of exclusion and can sometimes be brought about by hyperventilation.
A stroke is the cause of isolated dizziness in 0.7% of people who present to the emergency room.
Many conditions are associated with dizziness. Dizziness can accompany certain serious events, such as a concussion or brain bleed, epilepsy and seizures (convulsions), strokes, and cases of meningitis and encephalitis. However, the most common subcategories can be broken down as follows: 40% peripheral vestibular dysfunction, 10% central nervous system lesion, 15% psychiatric disorder, 25% presyncope/dysequilibrium, and 10% nonspecific dizziness. Some vestibular pathologies have symptoms that are comorbid with mental disorders. The medical conditions that often have dizziness as a symptom include:
- Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo
- Meniere's disease
- Vestibular neuronitis
- Otitis media
- Brain tumor
- Acoustic neuroma
- Motion sickness
- Ramsay Hunt syndrome
- Multiple sclerosis
- low blood pressure (hypotension)
- low blood oxygen content (hypoxemia)
- heart attack
- iron deficiency (anemia)
- low blood sugar (hypoglycemia)
- hormonal changes (e.g. thyroid disease, menstruation, pregnancy)
- panic disorder
- age-diminished visual, balance, and perception of spatial orientation abilities
Common physiological causes of dizziness include:
- inadequate blood supply to the brain due to:
- loss or distortion of vision or visual cues
- disorders of the inner ear
- distortion of brain/nervous function by medications such as anticonvulsants and sedatives
- result of side effect from prescription drugs, including proton-pump inhibitor drugs (PPIs) and Coumadin (warfarin) causing dizziness/fainting
- Balance disorder
- Broken escalator phenomenon
- Coriolis effect (perception)
- Ideomotor phenomenon
- Illusions of self-motion
- Motion sickness
- Postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome
- Spatial disorientation
- The spins, a state of dizziness and disorientation due to intoxication
- "dizziness" at Dorland's Medical Dictionary
- Dizziness at the US National Library of Medicine Medical Subject Headings (MeSH)
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- Dizzytimes.com Online Community for Sufferers of Vertigo and Dizziness
- Dysautonomia Youth Network of America, Inc.