Dizziness and unsteadiness do not feel the same to everyone. Symptoms range from lightheadedness to feeling as if the world is spinning. It’s important to understand exactly what’s going on when you’re feeling “dizzy” or “off-balance.”
Common Balance Disorders Associated with Dizziness
The feeling of motion when there is no motion. About half of all dizziness complaints are vertigo.
Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV)
The sudden sensation that you’re spinning or that the inside of your head is spinning. May occur when you turn your head to look over your shoulder.
Vertigo symptoms are provoked or aggravated by specific visual contexts such as exposure bright lights, driving etc.
Also called near syncope, lightheadedness is the feeling that you are about to faint. Often felt after standing up too quickly.
People with disequilibrium feel unsteady on their feet or feel like they are going to fall.
Vestibular Neuritis (Labyrinthitis)
A disorder that affects the nerve of the inner ear called the vestibulocochlear nerve. Results in symptoms as dizziness and vertigo.
A disorder of the inner ear that can affect hearing and balance. It is characterized by episodes of vertigo, low-pitched tinnitus (a ringing or buzzing in the ear), and hearing loss.
An abnormal opening between the air-filled middle ear and the fluid-filled inner ear. Its most notable symptom, beyond dizziness and nausea, is unsteadiness when walking or standing.
Cerebellar Ataxia Syndromes
People with ataxia have problems with coordination stemming from damage to parts of the nervous system. Ataxia may affect the fingers, hands, arms, legs, body, speech, and eye movements.
Dizziness and headache are individually very common medical conditions. Yet a physician must determine whether the dizziness and headaches are independent or related to each other, and whether they are a manifestation of migraine.
Are You at Risk of Falling?
An estimated one in every three adults age 65 and older experience a fall — which may result in serious injury and loss of independence. To determine if you may be at risk for a fall, take our 15-question balance survey by clicking the link below.