Although dizziness in itself is not a cause for concern, might it be a red flag or signal that it is time to consult your doctor or pharmacist? Yes, sometimes dizziness is a sign of an underlying health problem.
You’re dozing. Perhaps you’re lying in the sun or someplace warm. Suddenly, the doorbell rings. You abruptly get up to open the door, but are stopped in your tracks by the sensation of blacking out. You are shaky on your feet and feel the need to sit down and gather yourself. After a few seconds, the feeling has passed. What happened?
When you are resting, everything is calm: your pulse is slower, blood pressure is lower than usual. When an urgent situation demands a quick response—you have to quickly get up and run—your blood pressure doesn’t have time to properly adapt. It is this delay that causes dizziness. It is not serious, but still, it’s disabling. Especially if you fall to the ground, when you risk injuring yourself.
Take your blood pressure
Maybe you are taking medication to lower your blood pressure, but your blood pressure goes down too quickly. Take your blood pressure regularly and talk to your pharmacist. Especially if you have recently changed your medication or dosage.
Another example: in addition to the dizziness, you feel more tired than before, and get more out of breath with effort. This may indicate a blood circulation problem. The main causes of anemia are malnutrition (which affects the production of red blood cells) and excessive blood loss (think of colon bleeding). Arthritis and inflammatory diseases may also play a role. You will need to see your doctor for a physical exam and blood test.
A question of rhythm
Let’s also consider cardiac arrhythmia. If your heart isn’t beating properly, it can’t send enough blood to your brain. You will experience constant or intermittent dizziness. In this case, measure your blood pressure and pulse. If your monitor shows an alert, or an error message, you should see a doctor as soon as possible. You may need to take specific medications, or even have a pacemaker or defibrillator implanted.
Of course, there are other causes of dizziness, so it is important to keep a record of these incidents so you can discuss them with your doctor.
Vertigo or dizziness?
The causes, diagnosis and treatment of vertigo differ from those of dizziness. Vertigo is what you feel, for example, when you spin around quickly. When you stop, everything keeps spinning and you don’t know where you are in space. You may stumble. Usually, everything returns to normal after a few seconds. In rare cases, you may also suddenly feel a gagging sensation, or even vomit.