Dizziness is something that most of us experience at some point in our lives. It is a feeling of light-headedness, unsteadiness, or loss of balance. If severe, dizziness can cause fainting. Dizziness with a sense of spinning is referred to as vertigo, which is different from the nonspecific light-headedness
Causes of Dizziness
Dizziness is not a disease. It is a symptom of other conditions including;
- Low blood pressure
- Heart dysfunction or disease
- Neurological disorders
- Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)
- Ear infections
- Heat stroke
- Vision disorders
- Head injuries
It can also be due to:
- Motion sickness
- Excessive exercise
- Hormonal changes in the body
- Medication side effect
Signs and Symptoms Associated with Dizziness
Dizziness may be accompanied by symptoms including:
- False sense of motion
- Vision changes
- Blind spots
- Slow or irregular pulse
Managing Dizziness at Home
The following tips can help you overcome bouts of lightheadedness or dizziness with relative ease:
- Dizziness may be your body’s way of telling you to take things slow. Continuing with the same activity load can make matters worse. So, it’s best to rest as much as possible until your physical and mental states return to normal. Getting plenty of rest also helps your body recuperate fast from any underlying health condition that may be triggering the feelings of dizziness.
- Oftentimes, prolonged sleep deprivation due to a painful condition, overmedication, excessive caffeine intake, anxiety, stress, or sleep disorders can leave your headspace totally muddled, giving rise to dizziness. Practicing adequate sleep hygiene: make sure that your bedroom is clutter-free, pleasantly calm, and cozy. Try not to engage in any invigorating activity right before turning, which includes everything from surfing the net and watching television to having heated discussions and debates too close to bedtime.
- Avoid abrupt changes in positions such as moving and standing up suddenly if you have had previous instances of dizziness. As you are already in a slightly disorientated phase, slow and steady movements will help you avoid accidents and sudden falls. Take your time standing up after lying down, and hold onto something as you do. It may help to sit up gradually first and then stay sitting for a couple of minutes to allow your mind some time to adjust before standing upright.
- Sudden, abrupt, or fast movements of the head while looking up or around too quickly can further aggravate your condition and must be avoided.
- When you feel like your head is spinning, going up and down a flight of stairs can be a daunting task and can make you prone to accidents. Minimize the need to use the stairs when you are in the midst of a light-headedness spell, if at all. If you must, hold on to the railing for extra support and don’t be in a rush.
- Steer clear of using hand tools, driving, or operating dangerous equipment or machinery while you feel dizzy to minimize the risk of hurting yourself or others.
- If you are experiencing an imbalance in your body’s equilibrium due to dizziness, lying down in a dark room will allow blood to reach your brain quickly and provide instant relief.
- Incorporate physical exercises in your daily life to improve blood circulation throughout your body and prevent dizziness.
- Go for a full-body massage once a week to facilitate improved blood circulation throughout the body.
- Practicing a bit of yoga and meditation regularly will help center your mind and body, thereby preventing and relieving dizziness.
- Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and tobacco as these substances can worsen your condition.
- Acupuncture can also help alleviate the dizziness caused by migraines, at least to some extent.
Treatment for Dizziness
Dizziness does not qualify as a medical condition, but as a symptom of some underlying cause. In most cases, dizziness generally resolves on its own without any medical intervention.
That said, there are still certain medications that can help relieve the disorienting symptoms by treating the underlying condition.
Thus, your doctor will prescribe the appropriate treatment strategy for dizziness depending upon what may be causing it. Some of the potential options used for this purpose include:
- Canalith positioning procedures or the Epley maneuver are exercises designed to reposition or remove inner ear “crystals,” which may be triggering dizziness episodes. This strategy entails moving the head in specific ways to dislodge crystals from the ear canals and is usually recommended for people with benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV).
- If the light-headedness is stemming from conditions such as Meniere’s disease that cause fluid retention in the inner ear, the doctor may write down a prescription for water pills or diuretics to drain out the excess fluid.
- Migraine prevention medication is often recommended for people suffering from dizziness with migraines or vertigo.
- Antianxiety meds help dampen the intensity of anxiety attacks and the resulting sensations of dizziness.
- Anticholinergic drugs or antihistamines, unlike most other prescription medications in this category, address the dizziness itself rather than any underlying condition.
- A vestibular physiotherapist may ask you to practice certain balancing exercises that are specially designed to “retrain and rehabilitate” the nervous system to keep your dizziness under control. Balancing therapy is the way to go if inner ear problems lie at the base of your dizziness; it works by making your body less sensitive to movement.
- In cases where stress and anxiety are major contributing factors, counseling and cognitive behavior therapy may be deemed necessary for the management of dizziness.
Make Sure it’s not a Stroke
If the dizziness creeps up on you without any previous history, foreboding signs, or medical explanation, it is important to rule out the possibility of a stroke, which is often preceded or accompanied by light-headedness.
If the dizziness manifests along with one or more of the following symptoms, you may be going through a stroke and require immediate medical assistance:
- Face drooping on one side
- Difficulty lifting or moving one arm
- Slurred speech or difficulty speaking
Dizziness or Vertigo?
It is easy to blur the lines between vertigo and dizziness, no pun intended. Both these conditions are characterized by feelings of disorientation and light-headedness but are not considered diseases in their own right.
For all intents and purposes, dizziness is considered to be a generic term that figures as a potential symptom of vertigo. Vertigo, on the other hand, is a particular type of dizziness distinctly marked by a false sensation of movement.
People experiencing vertigo usually feel that they, their surrounding environment, or both are spinning. On occasion, they may even feel like their body is thrown off-balance and is pulled to one side. This can render them unable to walk properly and make them increasingly prone to accidents, tripping, and falling over.
People with vertigo may also experience an increased frequency and severity of nausea and vomiting. Although relatively rare, some people even have a rhythmic jerking movement of the eyes (nystagmus) during an episode of vertigo.
Thus, by and large, vertigo is considered to be a description of a sensation rather than a diagnosis.
When to See a Doctor
If the dizziness continues unabated for more than a week despite preliminary care and caution, see your GP for a thorough medical assessment. As dizziness is generally symptomatic of a larger health issue at the base, the doctor will first determine the root cause and then suggest the course of treatment accordingly.
Moreover, a visit to the doctor becomes imperative if:
- You’re worried about your dizziness or vertigo.
- You experience persistent or recurrent episodes of dizziness.
- You become hard of hearing.
- You suffer a head injury on account of an accident.
- Your neck becomes severely stiff.
- You become prone to frequent or prolonged nausea and vomiting.
- You notice ringing or other sounds in your ears (tinnitus).
- You experience lapses in consciousness or fainting spells.
- You struggle to walk straight and tend to fall over a lot.
- You grapple with intense and persistent migraines or headaches.
- You start running out of breath easily and have labored breathing in general.
- Your eyesight becomes compromised such that you encounter double vision or blurred vision.
- your face, arms or legs begin to feel numb
- you are overcome by a general feeling of malaise or being unwell
- you have a seizure
Simple Ways to Deal with Dizziness at Home
If your dizziness is not recurring or frequent, you can try some natural home remedies to help the problem. However, if symptoms persist or occur more frequently, consult your doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment.
Here are 10 home remedies for dizziness.
1. Practice Deep Breathing
Deep breathing is one of the best ways to deal with dizziness. It helps provide an adequate amount of oxygen to the brain, which in turn relaxes the nervous system and reduces dizziness.
- Sit or lie down in a comfortable position.
- Place one hand on your abdomen, place the thumb of your other hand against one nostril, and close your mouth.
- Inhale slowly through your open nostril and try to fill your belly with air.
- Hold the breath in, close both nostrils, and purse your lips.
- After 2 to 3 seconds, exhale slowly and try to extract air from your belly.
- Repeat these steps 10 times.
- Then, sit quietly for 5 minutes and breathe normally to avoid getting dizzy again.
2. Drink Plenty of Water
Dehydration is a common cause of dizziness. This can either be due to insufficient fluid intake over an extended period of time or failure to rehydrate your body during and after exercise when there is excessive loss of fluids due to perspiration.
Dehydration can also result from vomiting or diarrhea, which causes the body to expel substantial amounts of its fluids in a short period.
- As soon as you start feeling a bit woozy, try drinking a glass of water. To keep dehydration and dizziness at bay, drink around five 8-ounce glasses of water a day.
- You can also try fluid alternatives such as herbal teas with a little honey, a steaming bowl of soup or broth, and fruit juices.
3. Eat Frequently
Dizziness can be caused by low blood sugar levels, especially in people with full-blown diabetes. Also, hunger can make you more prone to dizziness. If dizziness strikes, try eating a healthful snack to help control the symptoms.
It may be a good idea to eat smaller but frequent meals throughout the day. This applies especially to those people who are prone to encountering dizziness when they go without food for long intervals between the three standard meals of the day.
- Eat a snack that is high in carbohydrates or sugar, such as a chocolate bar or a banana, to pick up your energy and glucose levels instantly.
- Snack on fruits with high water content, and add them to yogurt if you want an additional protein boost.
- Eat a handful of roasted nuts such as cashews, almonds, and walnuts for a substantial snack.
4. Add Ginger to Your Diet
Ginger is a time-tested remedy for dizziness and nausea that often accompanies it. It stimulates blood flow to the brain and other parts of the body, which helps reduce the intensity of dizziness.
- Chew on a small slice of fresh ginger root or suck on ginger candies to overcome dizziness.
- Sipping ginger ale or ginger tea a few times daily will help prevent dizziness.
- Another option is to take ginger supplements after consulting your doctor for the appropriate dosage and length of treatment.
5. A Mild Lemon Juice can Help
Another excellent remedy for dizziness is lemon. The vitamin C in lemon boosts the immune system and helps the body fight any underlying illness that might be triggering your dizziness.
Additionally, several other nutrients in lemon make it a natural energizing agent. It can quickly hydrate the body, keeping you feeling energized and refreshed.
- Squeeze the juice of half a lemon into 1 glass of water. Mix in honey or agave to taste.
- Squeeze lemon juice over fish, chicken, vegetables, and salads.
6. Indian Gooseberry can be Beneficial
Indian gooseberry, also known as amla, is a popular Ayurvedic remedy for dizziness. Amla is a rich source of vitamin A and C, which boost your immunity, improve blood circulation, and help treat and prevent dizziness.
- Grind 2 amla fruits (de-seeded) into a paste.
- Mix in 2 teaspoons of coriander seeds and 1 cup of water.
- Let the mixture sit overnight.
- The next morning, strain and drink the water.
- Repeat this daily for a few days.
7. Drink Honey with Apple Cider Vinegar
Due to the natural sugars in honey, it can instantly boost your energy level and prevent dizziness. Moreover, honey can prevent low blood sugar, one of the common causes of dizziness.
- Mix 2 teaspoons each of honey and raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar in 1 glass of cold or hot water. Drink this mixture two times a day.
- Alternatively, mix 1 tablespoon each of honey and lemon juice in 1 glass of warm water.
- Another option is to mix 1 teaspoon each of honey and cinnamon powder and consume the mixture once daily in the morning for a few weeks.
8. Incorporate Ginkgo in Your Diet
The herb ginkgo, scientifically known as Ginkgo biloba, is another effective home cure for dizziness. It helps to improve blood flow to the brain to stop or prevent dizziness. Moreover, this herb helps in treating tinnitus, which can also cause dizziness.
This herb is readily available in tablet, liquid extract, and dried leaf forms. The standard dosage is 120 mg to 150 mg of Gingko Biloba extract in three divided doses daily for a couple of months.
9. Sip on a Cup of Feverfew Tea
Another excellent herb to treat dizziness is feverfew. It provides symptomatic relief from the accompanying discomforts of headaches, nausea, and vomiting. Feverfew improves blood circulation, allowing increased oxygen and nutrient supply throughout the body.
- Eat a few fresh feverfew leaves when you feel dizzy to overcome the symptoms.
- Steep 1 teaspoon each of dried feverfew leaves and peppermint leaves in 1 cup of hot water for 15 to 20 minutes, and then strain the liquid. Drink this tea a few times daily for a few weeks.
- Alternatively, you can take feverfew supplements after consulting your doctor.
10. Eat Healthily
Eating a healthy diet can help stabilize your nervous system by eliminating many of the conditions that might contribute to dizziness.
You can avoid lightheadedness related to anemia, low blood pressure, and low blood sugar by eating foods high in iron, vitamin A, folic acid, and fiber. Also, choose foods that are low in sugar and fat and high in protein.
Eat small meals several times a day and do not skip meals, especially breakfast.
- Eat iron-rich foods such as liver, tofu, spinach, almonds, dates, lentils, fortified cereals, and asparagus. You can opt to take an iron supplement, after consulting your doctor.
- Include foods rich in vitamin C in your diet, such as oranges, lemons, bell peppers, broccoli, grapefruit, and spinach. You can opt for vitamin C supplements after consulting your doctor.
- Also, eat foods rich in folic acid such as green leafy vegetables, liver, sprouts, fortified cereals, peanuts, bananas, and broccoli.
- Avoid iron-blocking beverages such as coffee, beer, and wine.
- Cremer PD, Halmagyi GM. Assessment and treatment of dizziness. Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry. https://jnnp.bmj.com/content/68/2/129. Published February 1, 2000.
- Whitman GT. Dizziness. Plum X Matrix. https://www.amjmed.com/article/S0002-9343(18)30501-1/fulltext.
- Maarsingh OR, Dros J, Schellevis FG, et al. Causes of Persistent Dizziness in Elderly Patients in Primary Care. Ann Fam Med. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2866716/. Published May 2010.
- Relaxation Techniques for Health. NIH. https://nccih.nih.gov/health/stress/relaxation.htm. Published April 20, 2017.
- Koch D. Dehydration is a risk even during the winter. Ithaca Journal. https://www.ithacajournal.com/story/news/2016/11/16/dehydration-risk-even-during-winter/93989536/. Published November 16, 2016.
- Currier WD. Dizziness Related To Hypoglycemia: The Role Of Adrenal Steroids And Nutrition. The Laryngoscope. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1288/00005537-197101000-00003. Published January 5, 2009.
- Gabbi DK, Bajwa U, Goraya RK. Physicochemical, melting and sensory properties of ice cream incorporating processed ginger (Zingiber officinale ). International Journal of Dairy Technology. https://sci-hub.tw/10.1111/1471-0307.12430.
- Castro B. Ginger: An Ancient Panacea for Modern Times. CA College of Ayurveda. http://www.ayurvedacollege.com/articles/students/Ginger.
- SCHNEIDER2 BERTHOLD, WEISS1 GABRIELE, Vollbracht C, Auerbach L, Beuth J. Intravenous Vitamin C Administration Improves Quality of Life in Breast Cancer Patients during Chemo-/Radiotherapy and Aftercare: Results of a Retrospective, Multicentre, Epidemiological Cohort Study in Germany. International Journal of Experimental and Clinical Pathophysiology and Drug Research. http://iv.iiarjournals.org/content/25/6/983.short.
- Gaire BP, Subedi L. Phytochemistry, pharmacology and medicinal properties of Phyllanthus Emblica Linn. Chinese Journal of Integrative medicine. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11655-014-1984-2. Published December 9, 2014.
- Eteraf-Oskouei T, Najafi M. Traditional and Modern Uses of Natural Honey in Human Diseases: A Review. Iran J Basic Med Sci. . https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3758027/. Published June 2013.
- Samarghandian S, Farkhondeh T, Samini F. Honey, and Health: A Review of Recent Clinical Research. Pharmacognosy Res. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5424551/. Published 2017.
- F C. Ginkgo biloba extract (EGb 761). State of knowledge in the dawn of the year 2000. Annales Pharmaceutiques Francaises. https://europepmc.org/abstract/med/10481350.
- National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. https://nccih.nih.gov/health/feverfew. Published November 30, 2016.