Dizziness is a common complaint and has a very broad list of possible underlying causes. Dizziness is a nonspecific term which can mean true vertigo, light-headedness, weakness , unsteadiness, feeling faint, funny turns, visual disturbance, or a psychological problem.
Dizziness is often dismissed as a trivial symptom. However, patients often experience significant social and occupational morbidity, and establishing the diagnosis is essential in view of the wide variety of possible causes and also to enable effective management. It is essential that patients who present with dizziness should be given the correct diagnosis, both to avoid missing serious neurological causes and to ensure that the right treatment is given.
Expensive investigations are rarely helpful in dizzy elderly people. The cause of the dizziness can be diagnosed in most cases on the basis of a thorough clinical history and examination and often does not require hospital referral.
Causes of dizziness
The most common causes of true vertigo encountered in primary care are labyrinthitis or vestibular neuronitis, benign paroxysmal positional vertigo, vestibular migraine and Meniere’s disease.
Individuals who experience giddiness should make a note of their symptoms. Often, the symptoms are associated with a temporary problem in the body. The individual may therefore do nothing to deal with the problem apart from improving his or her diet. If the condition resolves itself within a couple of days, then it can be ignored. However, giddiness that lasts for more than three days is a sign of some underlying problem. This should prompt the individual to visit a doctor immediately. As explained above, giddiness can be associated with minor imbalances in the body or major health problems that affect the brain or the blood circulation system. It is therefore recommended to have a medical opinion taken for the problem. In all likelihood, giddiness without any other symptoms will be related to some small problem or deficiency which is easily corrected. It is prudent, however, to not take a chance with such conditions.