Not many enjoy the feeling of being off balance or unsteady on their feet, but dizziness, also known as vertigo, creates that experience for millions of adults each year. Having a temporary dizzy spell may seem benign on the surface, especially when the feeling fades within a few moments. However, vertigo can be a serious condition that is linked to an underlying medical issue which should be identified and addressed. Dizziness can happen to anyone for a variety of reasons, but fighting aginst the uneasy feeling and ensuring it does not become a debilitating situation requires understanding the common medical conditions that spark dizziness and when one should seek professional medical attention.
Causes of Dizziness
There are several situational issues that can lead to dizziness, including excessive alcohol intake, low blood pressure when standing up, and ongoing anxiety. However, medical conditions linked to more serious underlying issues often go undiagnosed and ultimately untreated. The most common health issues that cause dizzy spells include:
Anemia: a large number of adults experience low iron in their blood, known as anemia. When not enough iron is present, red blood cells are not produced at the rate necessary to move oxygen freely through the blood. This can cause dizziness if not treated in a timely fashion.
Ear infections: bacteria and viruses may also cause issues with the inner ear, known as labyrinthitis or an infection of the ear. In addition to headaches, nausea, and fatigue, inner ear infections may lead to feeling dizzy within the first few days after the infection has taken place. Antibiotics are often prescribed to clear an inner ear infection, ultimately reducing the amount of dizzy spells as the body heals.
Meniere’s disease: an estimated one in every 1,000 adults in the UK is diagnosed with Meniere’s disease – a medical condition caused by increased pressure of fluid found in the endolymphatic sac, allergic factors affecting the inner ear, and other unknown health issues. Meniere’s disease is progressive and often causes issues with balance and hearing, as well as acute to severe instances of vertigo.
Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo: the most common medical condition that causes dizziness is benign paroxysmal positional vertigo, often referred to as BPPV. Upwards of 50% of adults experience a dizzy spell due to an imbalance in the inner ear caused by trauma or debris. Most patients who have BPPV are treated in the doctor’s office to reduce spells of dizziness moving forward.
When and How to Seek Help
Even though there are numerous reasons why dizziness may occur in adults, it is almost always a smart choice to schedule a visit with the GP or ear, nose, and throat (ENT) specialist as soon as possible. Individuals may be more apt to put off visiting the doctor’s office for dizziness that occurs in mild waves for a few days and then subsides, but without proper treatment of the underlying medical condition, dizzy spells could worse and lead to complications with health that are more difficult to address quickly. Medical attention for treatable inner ear issues, like ear infections, BPPV, and anemia, can be as simple as a prescribed medication or an adjustment by an ENT specialist. Meniere’s disease cannot be cured completely at this time, but visiting the doctor can provide recourse for easing the symptoms, including dizziness, over time.
When seeking medical care for inner ear issues, a solicitor from a team that specialises in ENT negligence claims explains that receiving a second opinion before undergoing recommended treatments or procedures is a critical part of the process. This is because misdiagnosis takes place relatively often among ENT care teams, given the similarities among symptoms for various inner ear issues. For example, someone with Meniere’s disease may be told they have an ear infection instead and prescribed antibiotics which ultimately will do little to ease the symptoms of the patient. It is important for individuals experiencing dizziness to seek out a qualified second opinion from an ENT specialist in order to reduce the chances of undergoing unnecessary treatments, and eventually finding a solution to end the dizzy spells.
Most adults will experience dizziness in their lifetime on multiple occasions, and while some instances do not warrant an urgent visit with the doctor, others do. For dizziness that persists past a few days or months, or that increases in severity over time, it is crucial to set an appointment with a GP or ENT specialist to uncover the medical condition causes the discomfort, and ultimately receive treatment to remedy that issue.