In one of his most well-known films, director Alfred Hitchcock chose Vertigo — a condition related to dizziness — for a reason, to highlight horror and fear. While feeling dizzy can be fun as a kid, especially if you’ve consciously induced it, dizziness as an adult is disorienting and dangerous.
In Hitchcock’s 1958 film, the character’s vertigo is represented by swirling, trompe l’oeil pinwheels. He used a simultaneous push in and zoom out with his camera’s lens to induce that out-of-control feeling in his audience, too, as their visual perspective shifts unnaturally.
But while a dolly zoom effect lasts only seconds in a movie, if you have vertigo or dizziness, you may feel lightheaded and disoriented for seconds, minutes, hours, or even days. The episodes may also recur.
Our experienced team at Advanced Medical Care in Brooklyn and Forest Hills, Queens, New York, encourages you to get answers to your dizziness. Although dizziness in itself isn’t usually life-threatening, it could be a symptom of an underlying condition that needs treatment.
What’s causing your dizziness, and what can you do about it? Here are some answers.
Nearly 40% of American adults experience at least one episode of vertigo in their lives. Women are more prone to vertigo than men. Symptoms may include:
One short episode of vertigo may not be a problem. But if your dizziness or vertigo lasts for more than a few seconds or it recurs, you should consult the neurology team at Advanced Medical Care to find out why.
A common cause of dizziness, and one that’s easy to fix, is dehydration. Because your brain and its electrical activity need water to perform optimally, and your other organs also must remain hydrated to function properly, drinking enough water is essential to vestibular and overall health.
Be sure to drink the recommended 8-10 cups of water per day if you engage in moderate activities. Increase that amount if you work out or use saunas, spas, or sweat profusely.
Your vestibular system — which consists of your eyes, inner ear, brain stem, and cerebellum — is a complex of structures and neural pathways that help your body maintain its sense of location and stability in space.
The inner ear is especially important for maintaining equilibrium and balance. Inner-ear problems that may cause dizziness or vertigo include:
BPPV is the most common cause of vertigo. With this condition, moving your head or body can cause an attack of vertigo that lasts for less than 60 seconds. BPPV results when microscopic calcium clusters called otoliths get caught in the inner ear canal. The condition is easy to treat.
This condition is an imbalance of fluids in your inner ear that can cause you to feel dizzy for minutes to hours. You might also experience ear ringing, some hearing loss, or pressure in your ears.
Vestibular neuritis is the inflammation of your vestibulocochlear nerve in your inner ear, which is probably caused by a viral infection.
This inflammation results from a bacterial or viral infection in your inner ear. These vertigo attacks can last from hours to days.
Any inner ear infection may affect your balance. Even some cases of swimmer’s ear can affect your vestibular system.
In some instances, your cardiovascular system may not be supplying your brain with sufficient blood, which leads to dizziness. Issues that can bring on episodes of dizziness or vertigo include:
Our cardiologists identify the underlying cause for your decreased or irregular blood flow and work with you to correct the problems causing dizziness.
Traumatic brain injuries, including concussion, may affect your balance and make you feel woozy, nauseous, or dizzy. Other neurological conditions that may contribute to dizziness or vertigo include:
Our neurological team devises an individualized treatment plan to address the underlying condition behind your dizziness.
Many other medical conditions, and even some medications, may cause vertigo. A few possibilities include:
Any number of conditions or problems may cause or contribute to dizziness. The only way to know how to treat it effectively is through a workup that determines the underlying cause.
Do you feel dizzy? Find out why and get expert treatment by contacting Advanced Medical Care today. You can call the office convenient to you, send a message online, or use our online booking form to connect with our medical team.