We all experience occasional bouts of dizziness. Just scrolling through the news these days is enough to make you feel faint! A dizzy spell once in a while isn’t a cause for alarm, but persistent episodes by an Athens ear, nose and throat specialist. It’s possible your dizziness could be a sign of a serious underlying condition requiring prompt medical attention.
Dizziness and the Balance System
Dizziness is one of the most common health complaints in Georgia. About 15 percent of Athens residents experience dizziness each year; it’s even more common in older individuals—affecting about 40 percent of seniors over the age of 65. Dizziness is especially dangerous for the elderly; it increases their risk of falls, which represent the most common initial factor leading to death in those over the age of 80.
Dizziness is a blanket term used to describe any sensation of unsteadiness or imbalance. It occurs when the brain senses movement that isn’t actually happening and overcompensates. These false signals originate in the balance system, which is comprised of the inner ear, eyes and sensory nerves.
Symptoms of dizziness include the following:
- Vertigo (a sensation of spinning or other movement)
- Blurred vision
There are many possible causes of dizziness; common ones include low blood pressure, anemia, dehydration, disorders of the endocrine system (diabetes, thyroid disease), heart conditions, high blood pressure, viral and bacterial infections, head trauma, neurological disorders, hyperventilation, heat-related disorders and certain medications.
The only way to determine the cause of your dizziness involves undergoing a thorough medical evaluation. This is especially important if you are observing additional symptoms such as vomiting, double vision, shortness of breath, chest pain, fever, back pain, stiff neck, trouble walking or difficulty using your arms or legs. Any of these signs indicate you should seek medical attention immediately.
Treatments for Dizziness
How dizziness is treated depends on the cause. Your Athens ENT doctor will examine you first to determine what is causing your symptoms. You might be prescribed medications such as antihistamines, sedatives, antibiotics, or steroids; physical or occupational therapy; surgery; repositioning exercises or vestibular retraining programs. Lifestyle modifications such as adopting a low-salt diet, limiting alcohol consumption and giving up nicotine may be recommended depending on your circumstances.
If you are experiencing frequent dizziness, make an appointment with an ear, nose, and throat specialist in Athens as soon as possible.