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Dizziness viz Light-headedness viz Vertigo : know the difference

A 65 year old man fell on the floor while trying to rise from an arm chair and was admitted to a geriatric centre. When asked about the reason for his fall, he mentioned that his head whirled and he felt very dizzy all of a sudden. But upon further analysis, the doctor confirmed that the patient was suffering from a problem called Vertigo. 

 

Similar to this man, many of us would have experienced a sensation in our head, which causes unsteadiness and imbalance for a few seconds. We exclaim that our head is spinning and feel very anxious. But to really know the reason behind these instances, one has to know the difference between dizziness, light-headedness and vertigo. 

 

Dizziness 

 

When you have not eaten well or walked in the sun for too long, you can feel that your head is spinning and aching quite badly. You might lose control on your steps, your vision might become blurred and your palms might become a bit sweaty. This is the condition which exactly describes the term dizziness and in medical terms, it has to do more with the symptoms of light-headedness, rather than a problem. From young adults to old people, anyone can feel dizzy. A few minutes of rest or hydrating yourself well can bring you back to normal. It is not a very serious condition if it does not recur often. 

 

 Light-headedness 

 

Like I mentioned before, dizziness is a symptom of light-headedness. While feeling dizzy sometimes is not a big issue, if your blood pressure drops, you start feeling nauseous and feel like you’re about to faint, the condition needs serious attention and is termed as light-headedness. This sensation is also very common when there is loss of blood due to an accident, during your menstrual cycle or even when your heart is not functioning as it’s supposed to.  

 

Light-headedness can also make you feel breathless and tired, and needs an immediate consultation with your doctor, who might give you a few medications or even drips if your condition is severe. 

 

 Light-headness

 

 

Vertigo 

 

Middle ear canal and vertigo

All of us would have tried the game of holding our partners hands and spinning around very fast, till our head spins and the motion stops gradually. But can you ever imagine a condition, where you are not spinning, but you feel that your head and everything around you is reeling. This is a practical case which a person with Vertigo faces. 

 

Meniere’s disease is often the common cause of Vertigo where in, the cochlea present in our inner ear gets accumulated with excessive fluid due to which our brain does not get proper signals when we are falling or losing balance. A person facing this problem might find it difficult to walk steadily, have fluctuating vision problems and might even fall, if there is no support. Intense vomiting and nauseating symptoms are also common for a person suffering from this kind of vertigo. 

 

Another form of vertigo can be experienced when you suddenly wake up from bed with a jerk after sleeping or while changing positions when on bed, and is classified under BPPV (Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo). This condition worsens with age. 

 

 Though dizziness is pretty common among humans, one should understand the reason behind the dizziness and take measures to control the same, before the issue exaggerates. So, if you think you are facing any of the above mentioned conditions, consult your doctor at the earliest.