Inner ear disorders may lead to vertigo, a feeling of extreme dizziness accompanied by a sensation of movement or spinning. (The key difference between dizziness and vertigo is the perception of the spinning motion.) Nausea and vomiting may also go along with vertigo.
Older adults are prone to attacks of vertigo. One of the most common forms is benign positional vertigo, which comes on suddenly when you are stand up quickly, lean your head back to look up at something, or when you turn over in bed. Vertigo may also be caused by ear infections and ear wax build-up. It can be a side effect of medications, particularly drugs for high blood pressure. Other underlying problems that can contribute to vertigo are heart disease, high blood pressure, anemia, and diabetes.
Dizziness or fainting may occur when there is a change in blood flow to the brain. Dizziness can be caused by medications, sudden emotional stress, or injury. It is also common when a person who has a cold or the flu, or who takes high blood pressure medications, suddenly sits up or stands up.
A person most often feels a momentary blackout after he or she moves suddenly from reclining or sitting to standing upright. Blood stops flowing to the brain for an instant, and the person may notice a fleeting loss of vision or a lightheaded feeling. This phenomenon is called postural hypotension. Most people will experience it at one time or another, but it becomes more frequent as we grow older. The therapy is to avoid sudden changes in posture. Unless postural hypotension suddenly becomes worse, you don’t need to visit the doctor. You may report the feeling on your next routine visit.
A persistent lightheaded feeling without any other symptoms doesn’t indicate a brain tumor or other hidden disease. This type of lightheadedness often disappears when the person resolves anxiety. Not infrequently, it’s a problem the person must learn to live with.
If the problem persists for more than three weeks, call the doctor.
Filed Under: First Aid Treatment
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