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Understanding Dizziness & Vertigo

Based on studies conducted by The Brain & Spine Foundation of London. Here are several facts gathered: “Dizziness” is a general term to explain the feeling we have when there is something wrong with our sense of balance. Many people who experience dizziness find it difficult to explain exactly how it makes them feel. For example, some people who feel dizzy, light-headed, giddy or off-balance describe the feeling as if they, or their surroundings, are spinning around. Doctors use the term vertigo to describe this spinning, revolving form of dizziness.

Dizziness & Vertigo are not diseases in themselves. They are symptoms of a distinct condition or cause. There are many different conditions that can cause dizziness. Most cases of dizziness and vertigo are caused by problems with the balance systems located in the inner ear. The widely-held belief that our sense of balance comes from the inner ear is largely true.

Dizziness can often be short-lived, and can ease on its own accord. For short term dizziness, these self-care tips may help:

  • Move slowly - when standing or lying down, or from a seated position.

  • Keep hydrated - drinking plenty of water.

  • Avoid caffeine – these stimulant can make the dizziness worse.

  • When out and about, avoid crowded spaces with lots of people.

  • Feelings of unsteadiness can often be resolved by looking at a fixed object.

You should call your doctor or the emergency department if your dizziness is accompanied by any of the following:

  • Severe headache

  • Trouble walking

  • Fainting or collapsing

  • Vertigo

  • Chest pain

  • Hearing loss

  • Behavioral changes

  • Facial numbness

  • Slurred speech

  • Double vision

If you have dizziness or balance problems after a recent head trauma, you are also advised to contact your doctor or visit the nearest emergency department of any hospital.

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