Describe how you feel without saying Dizzy

This is one of the first questions I will ask a patient who comes to our office feeling “Dizzy”.  That’s because “dizzy” is a catch-all term for a number of conditions that may make the patient feel “dizzy”, but does not help necessarily help determine the cause.    

Vertigo is a condition, in which, the patient feels as if the world is spinning or the patient is spinning and the world is still.  Vertigo is often accompanied by nausea and anxiety and visually identified by nystagmus-a slow drift of the eyes in one direction and a fast beat in the opposite direction.   The most common form of Vertigo is Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV) and is relatively easy to treat, usually corrected in as little as one to two visits.  Infections to the inner ear (Vestibular Neuronitis or Labyrinthitis), Vestibular Migraines and Maniere’s Disease are other common causes of Vertigo.

Light-headedness is a sensation that one is going to faint or “pass out.”  It is often brought on when changing positions from lying down to sitting or standing too quickly and is due to an inability to regulate blood pressure or heart rate adequately to deliver the appropriate blood and oxygen to the brain.  Some times people with this condition have Postural Orthostatic Tachycardic Syndrome (POTS) or Orthostatic Hypotension.  In addition to changes in blood pressure and heart rate, light-headedness can be caused by medications, nicotine, colds/flu, anxiety or hyperventilation.

Unbalanced is when the patient feels unsteady or clumsy when standing or walking, have a difficult time walking in a straight line, and may find that they are holding on to things more or looking down more when they walk.  Often times, this can be caused by an inability to get information from joints, muscles and soft tissues to the brain for processing where your feet are positioned, such as in diabetic neuropathies.  Other times, it may be that the areas of the brain that process body and limb position, such as the cerebellum or parietal lobes, are not functioning appropriately and will cause the patient to be unsure of where they are in space.

Listening to the patient describe the sensations or problems they are having without saying “Dizzy” is the first step in accurately diagnosing the cause of dizziness. 

 For more information on dizziness, vertigo or balance problems or to see how C.A.L.I . can help…Contact C.A.L.I. today.