Giddiness: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments

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Giddiness

Overview

Giddiness is a sensation of feeling faint, woozy, weak, or unsteady. It is usually caused by a sickness or illness and is considered a symptom rather than a disease. Dizziness is caused by inner ear disturbance, motion sickness and medication effects. It can also be caused due to an underlying condition like the poor circulation of blood, injury or infection.

What is giddiness?

The feeling of unsteadiness and lightheadedness is known as giddiness or dizziness. Occasionally, giddiness is followed by nausea or vomiting.

While giddiness is common among people who are ill or physically weak, it can also be a signal of a serious underlying problem. For example, neurological problems or a stroke can make you feel weak or unsteady.

What are the different types of giddiness?

The following are the common types of giddiness faced by patients:

  1. Presyncope – It is the sensation being on the verge of passing out. The patient may experience lightheadedness and weakness, but does not pass out. Instead, the patient is likely to feel better after a few minutes of experiencing the sensation.
  2. Disequilibrium – Unsteadiness, imbalance, or loss of equilibrium are all symptoms of disequilibrium. This condition is also accompanied with spatial disorientation. It is often compared to the sensation of impending fall and need for external assistance to allow mobility.
  3. Vertigo Vertigo is a condition wherein the affected person experiences a false sensation of moving or spinning. Vertigo makes it difficult for the afflicted individual to maintain equilibrium or stay steady while walking, climbing the stairs or at times even sitting up or lying down.


What are the symptoms of giddiness?

The major symptoms of giddiness include:

  • Lightheadedness or faintness
  • A false perception of motion or spinning (vertigo)
  • Instability or breakdown of equilibrium
  • A sensation of floating, wooziness, or heaviness in the head
  • Feeling weak and tired
  • Headache or constant pressure in the head

These symptoms are commonly experienced by the patient while walking, standing up or trying to tilt the head. Giddiness can often be accompanied with nausea. The incident can last from a few seconds to a few days, and there is a possibility of recurrence.

When should you consult a doctor?

If you experience the following symptoms or have frequent, abrupt or unexplained episodes of giddiness, you should consult your Apollo doctor right away:

  • Persistent headaches
  • Unexplained pain in the chest
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Feeling numb or paralyzed in arms or legs
  • Fainting episodes
  • Improper spatial perception
  • Slurred speech or disorientation/confusion
  • Difficulty in walking, maintaining balance and unsteadiness
  • Frequent bouts of nausea accompanied with disorientation
  • Seizures
  • Unexpected changes in hearing
  • Numbness in the facial muscles

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What causes giddiness?

The cause of dizziness can be studied by the way it makes a person feel. Some of them are:

Inner ear problems

A feeling or sensation that makes the surroundings spin or move is called vertigo. This is due to:

  • Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) – The intense condition in which a person feels like spinning or moving for a short period of time is called BPPV. These are caused by rapid change in head movement.
  • Infection – Vestibular neuritis is a viral infection of the vestibular nerve that can cause intense and constant vertigo. If the patient losses his/her hearing capability suddenly, then the condition is called labyrinthitis.
  • Meniere’s disease – A condition in which excess fluid is built-up in the inner ear is called Meniere’s disease.
  • Migraine– People who experience migraines often tend to have vertigo and dizziness even if they do not experience headaches.

Dizziness caused by circulation problems

  • Drop in blood pressure – When the systolic blood pressure drops drastically, the patient may experience lightheadedness and faint. This condition is also called orthostatic hypotension.
  • Poor blood circulation – Dizziness can be caused due to other conditions related to heart like heart attack, cardiomyopathy, heart arrhythmia and transient ischemic attack.
  • Neurological conditions – Parkinson’s disease and multiple sclerosis are some neurological conditions that can cause dizziness.
  • Medications – Dizziness can be caused as a side effect of certain medications. Some of the medications are seizure drugs, antihypertensives, antidepressants, sedatives and tranquilizers.
  • Anxiety disorder – Lightheadedness can be caused by anxiety disorders.
  • Low iron levels – When the iron levels are low it can eventually cause anemia.
  • Low blood sugar – Sweating and anxiety are usually accompanied with dizziness. Low blood sugar is also called the hypoglycemia condition.
  • Overheating and dehydration

What are the risk factors of giddiness?

Some of the risk factors involved in developing giddiness are as follows:

  • Inner ear disorders – Patients suffering from these disorders are more prone to suffering from dizziness.
  • Medications – Certain medications can increase the risk of giddiness, and a sense of imbalance, especially among the elderly.
  • A previous bout of giddiness – If a person has experienced giddiness in the past, then the chances of recurrence are higher compared to an average person.
  • Dehydration and strenuous physical activity – Dehydration, accompanied with strenuous physical activity can increase the chances of experiencing an episode of giddiness.

What are the complications caused by giddiness?

Performing normal activities while feeling giddy can increase the chances of getting into accidents, and cause physical injuries by losing body balance or consciousness.

If you experience giddiness for a prolonged period of time, you should avoid performing any physical activity, such as:

  • Climbing a ladder or standing in lofty places
  • Going out in the dark
  • Wearing high heels

Here are some additional tips to help you manage mild cases of giddiness:

  • Hand grips can be installed in baths and showers to support yourself in case you experience an episode of dizziness.
  • Exercises such as tai chi or yoga can help improve balance in afflicted individuals.
  • Maintain unencumbered walking paths around the house. This implies avoiding throw rugs, removing stray chords and stools.

What are the treatment options available for giddiness?

Based on the condition that’s causing your giddiness, your Apollo doctor would prescribe either medication or suggest home remedies to treat and manage your giddiness symptoms.

Medications could involve treating the following conditions:

  • Dizziness and nausea
  • Anxiety
  • Migraines

Here are a few treatments that can reduce or cure the underlying causes of giddiness:

  • Inner-ear problems can be treated by performing body balance exercises at home.
  • A healthy low-salt diet, periodic injections, or ear surgery are all options for treating Meniere’s illness.
  • Lifestyle modifications, such as learning to recognize and avoid migraine triggers, are effective in managing giddiness symptoms.
  • When giddiness is caused by intense exertion or dehydration, drinking sufficient water can help reduce it .

A note from Apollo Hospitals/Apollo Groups

Giddiness can lead to a lot of stress and anxiety in patients, especially when the symptoms’ cause is unclear.

But you need not panic.  When experiencing such symptoms, you can always consult your doctor at Apollo, and understand what’s causing your symptoms. Once your Apollo doctor diagnoses the cause of your giddiness, you will be treated with either medication, or home remedies that can help you reduce and manage your symptoms.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Is giddiness caused by vitamin deficiencies?

Giddiness can be caused by low Vitamin B12 levels. Vitamin B12 deficiency is often simple to diagnose and treat, so if you have been suffering from dizziness for a long period of time, you should consult your Apollo doctor about getting a blood test to evaluate your B12 levels.

  • Does everyone experience giddiness the same way?

Not necessarily. Giddiness can vary in severity from person to person. The symptoms of giddiness are also dependent on the disorder or condition that’s causing it. Hence, giddiness affects people in different ways.

  • What foods should I eat to make me feel less giddy?

The blood glucose levels can be stabilized by consuming a smaller quantity of processed foods that contain sugar. Sugary processed foods are also one of the causes of giddiness.