Women's Wellness September 2010
Feeling Dizzy? Diseases that Cause Dizziness and Balance Problems
For some, dizziness means a problem with balance; for others, it means a lightheaded feeling; while, for others, dizziness means the sensation that the room is spinning around. According to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) and LIVESTRONG.com, there are several causes of dizziness and balance disorders, but there are a few causes that can be common among women:
- Vertigo is a type of dizziness that can make a person feel like they are spinning when they aren’t moving at all. The symptoms can be due to a dysfunction of the vestibular system in the inner ear (which causes balance disorders). It is often associated with nausea and vomiting as well as difficulties standing or walking.
- Circulation problems, like heart disease, obstructed blood flow to the brain and high blood pressure, can all cause dizziness. Circulatory system issues, like blocked arteries, can also reduce the blood flow to the inner ear, which is a major anatomical contributor to dizziness.
- Menopause and PMS cause changes in the balance between estrogen and progesterone, as well as several chemicals affecting the central nervous system that can contribute to or cause dizziness. Hot flashes, anxiety and migraines during menopause can all cause a woman to experience dizziness as well.
- Inner ear infections, whether due to a virus or bacteria, can cause dizziness and balance disorders.
- Systematic disorders, including thyroid, autoimmune disorders, diabetes and low blood sugar, may also cause balance disorders.
Symptoms of dizziness and balance disorders include recurrent dizziness with change of position; vertigo, including a spinning sensation, ringing in your ears and nausea/vomiting; feeling unsteady or lightheaded when standing, loss of balance with your eyes closed, and fainting or constantly feeling that you are about to faint/fall.
If you suffer from any of the above symptoms, you should try to find out the underlying cause as soon as possible. Crozer-Keystone’s Center for Dizziness and Balance can help. The center provides comprehensive, multidisciplinary care for people suffering from balance and dizziness problems. When you first come to the center, you will receive a comprehensive evaluation. Through this evaluation and perhaps additional testing, our team will diagnose your problem and develop an appropriate treatment plan tailored to your needs.
For more information or to schedule an appointment, call 1-877-95-DIZZY (1-877-953-4999) or visit www.ckdizzy.org.
Article reviewed by John Feehery, M.D., chief of the Section of Otolaryngology at Taylor Hospital and a member of the multidisciplinary medical team of the CKHS Center for Dizziness and Balance. Dr. Feehery has office locations in Upland, Glen Mills and Media, and can be reached at (610) 874-5366.
About balance disorders, including Acoustic Neurinoma and Meniere's Disease.