Vertigo - Dizziness/Vertigo


Dizziness and vertigo are two related symptoms that cause a person to feel unstable in his or her surroundings. Dizziness causes a person to feel lightheaded and feel a sense of unsteadiness in his or her head. On the other hand, vertigo causes a person to have a feeling that his or her surroundings are moving around. It is commonly described as the room spinning.

Dizziness and vertigo are not illnesses in and of themselves, but are usually symptoms of an illness or health problem. The cause may be as simple as:

  • an ear infection,
  • a flu virus, or
  • a new medication.

Dizziness and vertigo may also be caused by a serious health problem such as:

  • a mild concussion following a bump on the head,
  • not having proper blood sugar and insulin levels in a person who is diabetic,
  • blood vessel or heart problems, that cause reduced blood flow
  • to the brain, or
  • disorders of the brain, including damage from too much alcohol.

Dizziness and vertigo often come and go in episodes. Episodes of dizziness usually are brief and can generally be relieved at home without going to the doctor. The following home care measures may help provide relief:

  • lie down and rest with the legs raised,
  • move slowly,
  • drink plenty of fluids,
  • avoid alcohol, nicotine, caffeine, and over-the-counter cold medications,
  • and,
  • if you're diabetic, try eating something sweet.

You should call your doctor for advice if you are suffering from dizziness or vertigo and:

  • the home measures just mentioned do not provide relief,
  • you're pregnant, or
  • if you have: a history of any heart disorder,
  • high blood pressure,
  • a neurological problem,
  • a severe headache, or
  • have recently suffered a head injury.

In addition, you should call your doctor if you experience:

  • the inability to stand or walk,
  • development of a severe headache,
  • fever,
  • ear pain,
  • heavy vomiting,
  • complete loss of consciousness, or
  • if you experience dizziness or vertigo that lasts longer than a few hours.

If you experience dizziness or vertigo often, you should take some self care measures to maximize your health and safety:

  • avoid activities that might endanger you like driving a car;
  • relieve stress in your life by practicing relaxation techniques or massage, or by talking about stress-producing problems with
  • a friend or a professional therapist;
  • develop and maintain good health habits, like regular, appropriate
  • exercise, a good diet and the proper weight for your gender, height
  • and age;
  • don't smoke. If you do, make every effort to quit as soon as possible.
  • maintain a nutritious, well-balanced diet.
  • avoid alcohol and caffeine as much as possible, and
  • exercise regularly.
  • Tag line follows this topic. Syncope/Vertigo, protocol, ahm, 1992.

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