What is Dizziness?

Dizziness, an unpleasant sensation like pain……. but what it is?

Dizziness is an umbrella term used to describe a variety of sensations like:

  1. Swaying
  2. Disequilibrium or off-balance
  3. Vertigo (spinning)
  4. Light-headedness or fainting
  5. Disorientation
  6. Feeling off-centred
  7. Woozy or wobbly or foggy head
  8. Eyes moving faster than the head

It is quite often a sensory mismatch between the visual and vestibular system. The visual-vestibular mismatch will create a sensory conflict causing woozy sensation.

Vertigo is a special type of dizziness where in there is an illusion of movement of the environment or surrounding. This sensation is a result of the eye movements called Nystagmus.

The complaint of dizziness is one of the most common reasons that older adults visit the doctor’s office.

Variety of systems in the body can produce dizziness:

  1. Cardio vascular disorders
  2. Neurological (Brain) disorders
  3. Vestibular system
  4. Psychogenic
  5. Pharmacological
  6. Cervical spine
  7. Visual system

Among these systems, the Vestibular system contribute to up to 45% of dizziness.

Following are few of the vestibular disorders causing dizziness, vertigo and balance problems:

  1. Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo- 30%
  2. Viral Inflammation of a vestibular nerve or Auditory nerve (Neuritis/ Labyrinthitis)- 13%
  3. Vestibular Migraines- 2%
  4. Age related vestibular degeneration
  5. Meniere’s disease
  6. Head trauma
  7. Persistent Postural Perceptual Dizziness (3PD)
  8. Mal de Debarquement Syndrome (MdDS)