- Symptoms Of Vitamin D Deficiency That Most People Ignore
- D-ficient? Odds are you don’t know.
- 1. Muscle Weakness
- 2. Bone Pain
- 3. Constant Respiratory Problems
- 4. Sweaty Head
- 5. Depression
- 6. Infertility
- 7. Chronic Infections
- 8. Cardiovascular Disease
- 9. Psoriasis
- 10. Chronic Pain
- 11. Tiredness
- 12. Hypertension
- 13. Crankiness
- 14. Chronic Kidney Disease
- 15. Reduced Endurance
- A Side Effect of Modern Life?
- What’s your risk?
- Why It Matters
- Dizziness and Vertigo: The Vitamin D Connection
- 10 Surprising Facts About Dizziness and Vertigo
- 2. Your Ear’s Balance System Controls Blood Flow
- 3. Low Vitamin B12 Levels Can Cause Dizziness
- 4. Dizziness May Be a Symptom of Heart Disease
- 5. Migraines Sometimes Cause Vertigo
- 6. Feeling Dizzy May Be Related to Anxiety
- 7. A Boat Ride or Waterbed Can Cause Dizziness
- 8. Dizziness and Vertigo May Be Side Effects From Medication
- 9. Your Diet or Dehydration Could Make You Dizzy
- 10. There Are Several Less Common Causes of Dizziness and Vertigo
- 1,634 Possible Causes for Loss of Appetite, Paresthesia, Vertigo
- New type of vertigo identified
- 6. A medication you’re taking is causing it.
- 7. You have poor blood circulation.
- 8. You have an anxiety disorder.
- 9. You’re anemic.
- 10. You have low blood sugar.
- 11. You hit your head recently.
- When to see a doctor:
- Dizziness: Lightheadedness and Vertigo
- Topic Overview
- Room Spinning? 5 Common Causes Of Dizziness
Symptoms Of Vitamin D Deficiency That Most People Ignore
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What does vitamin D deficiency look like? In its most extreme form, prolonged and severe vitamin D deficiency during childhood, known as rickets, can delay growth and lead to visible skeletal deformities.
Today, rickets is relatively rare, but that doesn’t mean that vitamin D deficiency is—more than 40 percent of Americans are deficient. The potential health consequences of this epidemic are serious, as vitamin D deficiency is linked to osteoporosis, heart disease, diabetes, autoimmune diseases, high blood pressure, and poor pregnancy outcomes.
D-ficient? Odds are you don’t know.
According to the Vitamin D Council, symptoms of vitamin D deficiency can be subtle—or even nonexistent—in the early stages. You might experience some tiredness and general aches and pains, but these symptoms are easy to dismiss because there are many things that cause them.
Aches and pains? You can easily chalk them up to the aftereffects of your last workout—or simply not being 20 anymore. Tiredness? That could be because you aren’t getting enough quality sleep.
Lindsay Obermeyer, MS, RDN, CLT, a Portland, Oregon–based registered dietitian nutritionist and owner of Your Time Nutrition, said she personally experienced chronic joint pain, had labs done, and discovered that her vitamin D was 29 ng/dL (nanograms per deciliter), which is considered deficient by some standards. She started taking a daily dose of vitamin D3, and her joint pain was gone within a week.
I had two different clients with the same symptoms, had them tested for vitamin D, both were less than 30, both had relief from joint pain after supplementing. It’s a very common problem up here in the Northwest.
It can sometimes be hard to tell when you’re in need of more vitamin D. Here are 15 signs that will help you know if you’re vitamin D deficient.
1. Muscle Weakness
You should be aware that muscle weakness can present as generalized body fatigue. If you’re experiencing a more general fatigue around your body, muscle weakness issues in specific areas may stay hidden and go unnoticed for months.
As vitamin D deficiency worsens, symptoms become stronger and harder to ignore. General aches and pains may become muscle and bone (musculoskeletal) pain, and tiredness may progress to muscle weakness. Still, it’s easy to search for answers in the wrong direction.
2. Bone Pain
In a study of 150 patients referred to a clinic in Minnesota for persistent, general musculoskeletal pain, 93 percent had vitamin D levels equal to or below 20 ng/mL, a level considered deficient by most experts.
As an adult, your bones are no longer growing, but new bone tissue constantly replaces the old. Severe vitamin D deficiency interferes with that replacement, leading to the softening of bones known as osteomalacia (or “adult rickets”), which causes pain and increases of osteoporosis.
Shunning the sun and avoiding dairy can leave you with a vitamin D deficiency that might lead to bone pain. This can be difficult to distinguish from muscle or joint pain, but it generally manifests itself as a deep, aching pain that isn’t isolated in an exact area.
My bones had been so hurty. So much pain and stiffness and I was miserable.
Remembered to take vitamin d three days ago and suddenly the bone pain has eased. My hands work again! My knees feel only like normal arthritis pain! It’s like magic.
— Veronica Foale (@VeronicaFoale) March 25, 2018
There are some indicators that can help differentiate bone pain from muscle pain. Muscle pain is usually centralized to one point and is exaggerated by movement or physical activity. Bone pain, on the other hand, is broader and deeper.
3. Constant Respiratory Problems
Studies show that vitamin D may help defend against respiratory illness, and this is especially true in children. If your child has severe asthma, you may want to increase their vitamin D intake.
Constant respiratory problems may present in different ways. Someone suffering from these issues may feel easily winded after a task they’d normally be fine handling. Or it may be as seemingly obvious as struggling to catch a breath for an extended period.
Breathing issues need to be addressed by a medical professional quickly because they can lead to other issues. Often, a person suffering constant respiratory problems will also suffer from an anxiety disorder, like panic attacks. The inability to take a full breath may quickly spiral into a panic that your life is in immediate danger.
4. Sweaty Head
Years ago, doctors used to ask new mothers if their newborns’ heads were sweating more than normal. This can be a very early sign that a baby is vitamin D deficient. If you’re breastfeeding, it may be helpful to consume more foods that are rich in vitamin D or include some vitamin D drops in your regimen to make sure your baby is getting a sufficient amount.
My vitamin D results came back very very low at one point, and I asked the doctor very nervously if the baby would be all right and her response was basically, “Oh yeah, she’s the one that took it all”.
— THE MEG 2: THE MEGGANING (@mpsunday) December 12, 2017
Foods that contain higher concentrations of vitamin D include fatty fish (such as tuna), orange juice, soy milk, and some cereals. You’ll also want to stock up on dairy products, such as cheese, that are enriched with vitamin D.
Don’t be fooled into thinking that head sweating from a lack of vitamin D only affects infants. If you find sweat pouring from your forehead in situations that wouldn’t normally cause you to perspire, then you may want to talk to a healthcare professional.
As it turns out, the sun is vital to keeping a smile on your face. Vitamin D is often referred to as the sunshine vitamin because it is activated in your skin by sunlight. If you live in a place that sees less sunlight than global averages, the lack of light could literally kill your mood.
Apparently, the cause of my depression is Vitamin D deficiency! 😬
— Hazelmoon 🌘 (@HazelmuttART) May 4, 2018
According to the Vitamin D Council, this essential nutrient helps your brain’s neurotransmitters produce serotonin, which affects our feelings of happiness. Studies have linked low levels of vitamin D with episodes of depression.
In Alaska and other locales with significantly less sunlight for months out of the year, depression due to lack of sun exposure is treated as a very serious medical issue. Residents are encouraged to purchase light boxes—devices that emit therapeutic light that will help them maintain vitamin D levels during dark winter months.
It’s important that light therapy be used to deal with depression caused by vitamin D deficiencies because the two can become seriously intertwined.
There are many different types of light boxes that can improve your health. The Sperti Vitamin D Light Box is “the only recognized ultraviolet light box for vitamin D production,” and the NatureBright SunTouch Plus Light and Ion Therapy Lamp, a bestseller on Amazon, “balances your body clock, leaving you feeling rested, refreshed, and nourished all over.” Each type has the potential to improve your health, but if you’re in need of light therapy, choose one based on what you hope to get out of it.
Research suggests that vitamin D deficiency may play a role in the development of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), a leading cause of female infertility. One common symptom of PCOS is acanthosis nigricans, which results in dark, velvety skin patches.
“In the fertility world in the Northwest we like to get a baseline on all of our patients and we see many who are deficient,” said Seattle-area registered dietitian nutritionist Judy Simon MS, RDN, CD, CHES, of Mind Body Nutrition.
“One young woman in her early twenties had visible acanthosis nigricans around her neck and on her chest. She had PCOS and pre-diabetes. After six weeks of Vitamin D supplementation the acanthosis was practically gone and she was feeling much less fatigued.”
7. Chronic Infections
Vitamin D is known to have an effect on over 2,000 genes in the human body, so it’s no surprise that the strength of your body’s immune system is also tied to how much vitamin D you are taking in.
When there’s a healthy amount of vitamin D being processed by your body, your immune system is resilient and able to fight off infections and disease. However, a lack of vitamin D can be devastating to your overall health and leave you vulnerable to constant attacks and health problems or scares.
Vitamin D supplements are sold everywhere, but make sure your doctor helps you select the best option for you based on your health needs.
8. Cardiovascular Disease
Cardiovascular diseases are heart conditions that may include damaged blood vessels or frequent blood clotting, among other issues. Articles published by the National Institutes of Health have shown that deficiencies in vitamin D can lead to congestive heart failure.
Some cardiovascular disease-related symptoms that are easier to spot are dizziness, heavy bloating (particularly in the legs), respiratory issues, and chest pain. If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, you should contact your doctor immediately.
If you want to make sure you’re on the right path, home tests are available to check for a lack of vitamin D. These tests will screen your blood and possibly show you if you need to make some changes in your supplementation routine.
Psoriasis may present itself as a scaly rash on your scalp or other parts of your body. Often it can be agitated by stress (unfortunately, finding out you have psoriasis tends to cause stress too). Although psoriasis is not always connected to a lack of vitamin D, the vitamin is sometimes used during treatment. The Mayo Clinic claims that if you have a lack of vitamin D, it will be harder for your body to defend itself against psoriasis.
There is no cure for psoriasis, but it is controllable with treatment. Besides reducing stress and getting your vitamin D, there are other methods for dealing with troubles caused by psoriasis.
For example, specially medicated shampoos can be prescribed to keep your scaly rashes at bay. Depending on the severity of your condition, there are also ointments, oils, and other treatments that could help reduce your psoriasis-related discomfort.
10. Chronic Pain
If you experience chronic, widespread pain throughout your body, it could be due in part to a lack of vitamin D. This connection was only recently discovered. In 2010, researchers began looking into .
Studies have now shown that low vitamin D levels increase a person’s chances of having chronic pain; supplements can sometimes help relieve it. So, if you’re in pain, talk to your physician about the best way to boost your vitamin D intake.
If you want to try a preliminary test for determining if what you’re experiencing is the same thing as chronic pain, doctors have a recommendation: Press against the area of your chest known as your breastbone (also called your sternum). If you feel a sharp pain when you press down on that area, it’s likely that you’re experiencing chronic pain related to vitamin D deficiency.
Vitamin D is one of the vitamins your body needs to create energy, and without it, you can end up feeling tired most of the day. This will make it hard for you to get around or even get to work. Without much energy, you may start changing your daily behavior in negative ways, which in turn may impair your overall health.
Continued tiredness can contribute to other symptoms caused by low amounts of vitamin D in the body. If you’re tired, you’re less likely to exercise or go outside. Avoiding activity or sunshine can amplify the effects of a vitamin D deficiency. If you fall into a routine that involves avoiding strenuous activity or sunlight, you’re much more susceptible to issues like depression or mood swings.
Listen to what your body is telling you. Something might be seriously off if you notice that you just don’t have the drive to stay active anymore. You should consult your doctor if you have constant feelings of tiredness that last longer than a few days.
Harvard University conducted review of health studies across numerous cohorts that associated increased risk of multiple health outcomes including cardiovascular disease and hypertension (abnormally high blood pressure) with vitamin D deficiency.
Another study, published in Circulation in 2015, considered the viability of vitamin D supplementation as a treatment for patients with hypertension and prehypertension.
It’s important to note that high blood pressure can significantly increase your risks for serious health issues such as heart attacks and strokes.
But don’t panic if you think or know you’re suffering from hypertension. It’s a common health issue that affects more than 3 million people in the U.S. every year. It can be identified without any blood or medical tests but will require an official diagnosis from your doctor, at which point appropriate treatment can be prescribed.
If you do suffer from anxiety, you may want to consider purchasing vitamin D supplements and adding them to your daily routine for that reason. Vitamin D has been proven to have positive effects similar to antidepressants and may reduce your overall blood pressure.
As we mentioned in relation to depression, vitamin D affects the levels of serotonin in your brain, which is what affects your mood. If you’re feeling cranky, it might be because you’re not producing enough serotonin. Vitamin D will help your moods stay balanced by ensuring your brain is working with the materials it needs to stay energized and focused.
If you notice mood swings that seem out of the ordinary, visit your doctor for a simple blood test. They will be able to identify what’s going on, and if a lack of vitamin D is the issue, they’ll help you make a plan to get better.
The solution may be as simple as getting out in sunlight more often or eating foods that are rich in vitamin D. For people who can’t handle too much direct exposure to the sun, supplements are readily available, so consider reaching for some before going off on anyone or getting too frustrated with yourself!
14. Chronic Kidney Disease
Kidneys help remove waste from your blood. When they’re not functioning correctly, your bloodstream can fill up with waste, seriously damaging your health. Doctors have recently connected kidney health to cardiovascular disease. They’ve also discovered how important vitamin D can be to your kidneys’ health.
As you get older your kidneys are not as efficient at processing vitamin D. Be sure to eat some vitamin D–rich foods or take a supplement. If you do take a supplement, also consider taking vitamin K2 to activate the right proteins in the digestion process. Ensuring that your kidneys are working properly to process vitamin D is just as important as getting your proper nutrients.
15. Reduced Endurance
If you’re an athlete and you’re seeing your endurance decrease for no apparent reason, it might be because you have low vitamin D levels. Experts in athletic circles now realize that vitamin D is crucial to energy levels, especially when it comes to endurance. Even active people who get outside every day can experience these issues, despite getting more than the recommended amount of sunlight per day (20 to 30 minutes).
Fortunately, if vitamin D deficiency is causing your issues, your endurance should return to normal when you get your vitamin D levels back to normal. Remember: You don’t always need to opt for pills to get your proper dose of vitamin D. Try a supplement in powder or liquid form to mix with your smoothies or protein shakes.
A Side Effect of Modern Life?
For many of us, work means days spent at a desk and leisure means binge-watching the latest Netflix series or catching up on social media. That’s a lot of indoor time, but even when we are outdoors we’re likely to double down on sun protection to prevent premature aging and skin cancer.
Dairy products are fortified with vitamin D, but milk sales are in decline, as more people avoid dairy due to restrictive diets, milk allergies, or lactose intolerance.
What’s your risk?
Although 4 in 10 Americans may be deficient in vitamin D, some people have a higher risk. As mentioned, if you spend a lot of time indoors and protect your skin with clothing or sunscreen when you are outdoors (as you should), your risk increases. Living in northern climates—where winters are longer, colder and darker—amplifies this risk. But a few other risk factors might surprise you:
1. Dark skin. The darker your skin, the more sun it takes to make vitamin D.
2. Body mass index (BMI) over 30. Vitamin D can become “sequestered” in excess body fat instead of making its way to the bloodstream.
3. Past gastric bypass surgery.
Why It Matters
Linke says that bringing vitamin D levels back to the normal range has been a “game changer” for many of her clients who have autoimmune conditions. She cites another client—a woman in her late twenties—whose vitamin D was a 4.
Her rheumatoid arthritis was very bad, she couldn’t walk down stairs unassisted, couldn’t walk without holding on to walls, couldn’t fit into her shoes so she wore flip flops.
Within 10 days of starting vitamin D, along with magnesium (magnesium deficiency can interfere with vitamin D metabolism) and dietary changes, she was able to wear regular shoes and walk without assistance.
As with all health-related issues, talk with your doctor or another medical professional if you are seeing any signs or symptoms that concern you. Deficiency is simple to test for and simple to treat. If in doubt, talk to your healthcare provider.
Dizziness and Vertigo: The Vitamin D Connection
Each day at Team Health Care Clinic, patients come to us with symptoms of vertigo and dizziness. These may be symptoms that have been there for a matter of hours, or even years. People often experience severe bouts of dizziness, strong sensations of spinning and nausea. To help our patients get relief from these debilitating symptoms, we provide treatment and make recommendations that address the causes of dizziness and vertigo.
What Causes Dizziness
Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) is the most common cause of dizziness that we see in our Champlin clinic. This condition is caused by calcium crystals that become dislodged from their usual position in the inner ear.
How Vitamin D Helps
The main role of vitamin D in the body is to help maintain normal blood levels of calcium and phosphorus. Vitamin D is responsible for absorbing calcium, which plays many roles in maintaining a healthy body, including strengthening bone and decreasing fractures. Vitamin D also helps in protecting against osteoporosis, high blood pressure, cancer, and other diseases.
We are now learning about the role vitamin D plays in helping patients with dizziness and vertigo. Past studies have shown vitamin D deficiency can lead to BPPV. Additionally, research has shown that those who have BPPV and are also deficient in vitamin D have more severe symptoms of vertigo.
This two-fold role that vitamin D deficiency plays in causing BPPV and making the symptoms more severe makes it even more important that your levels are in the proper range. If you haven’t had your vitamin D levels checked before, a simple blood test can be done to see if your levels are in a functional range.
Chiropractic and Physical Therapy for Dizziness
Our chiropractors and physical therapists work with a multitude of patients who have dizziness and vertigo, including BPPV. We provide chiropractic adjustments, physical therapy, nutrition support and more to help decrease symptoms and get our patients feeling better faster.
Each of the doctors and physical therapists in our clinic are trained in repositioning the crystals in the inner ear to provide relief from the vertigo that patients experience. The name of this procedure is called an Epley Maneuver. This safe, quick, and very effective maneuver can be done in just a minute or two. Patients often feel immediate relief.
Erik Starr, DC
10 Surprising Facts About Dizziness and Vertigo
Though BPPV is the most common inner ear–related balance disorder, it affects only about 1 out of 1,000 people per year, according to the Vestibular Disorders Association (VEDA). And while it can affect adults of any age, this type of vertigo primarily affects older adults. Most cases occur for no apparent reason, but BPPV has been linked to trauma, migraines, inner ear infections, diabetes, and osteoporosis. After treatment, 50 percent of patients may experience the problem again within five years — especially if it was the result of trauma, say experts at VEDA.
2. Your Ear’s Balance System Controls Blood Flow
“We’ve learned that our inner-ear balance system contributes to the control of our blood flow,” says Whitman, “and that the inner ear has the ability to know which way is up.” When you move from lying down to standing up, two inner ear structures, the utricle and saccule, detect gravity. They tell your cardiovascular system to direct blood flow to accommodate your change in position, says Whitman. When that process goes awry, it may cause dizziness.
3. Low Vitamin B12 Levels Can Cause Dizziness
Deficiencies in this essential vitamin may lead to a number of neurological problems, including feeling off-balance, and having low blood pressure and decreased blood flow to your brain, says Whitman. “Vitamin B12 deficiency is easy to detect and treat, but is an often overlooked cause of dizziness,” he notes.
Ask your doctor about having a simple blood test to check your B12 levels if you’re having dizzy spells. Good sources of vitamin B12 include meat, dairy products, and fortified breakfast cereals.
4. Dizziness May Be a Symptom of Heart Disease
One simple cause of dizziness is sudden movement, like when you get up too suddenly from your seat or bed. But sometimes dizziness is a sign of a heart condition. Among the cardiovascular-related causes of dizziness are leaking or narrow heart valves, arrhythmias like atrial fibrillation, and atherosclerosis, says Patricia Blau, PhD, associate professor of physical therapy at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. These can cause dizziness because they reduce blood flow to the brain, according to VEDA.
5. Migraines Sometimes Cause Vertigo
“It surprises some people to know that dizziness is commonly linked to migraine disease, either with or without headaches,” says Debara L. Tucci, MD, an otologist, neurologist, and ear surgeon at Duke Medicine in Durham, North Carolina. Other symptoms of migraine-related vertigo include sensitivity to motion, light, and sound, adds Dr. Tucci. About 40 percent of people who have migraines experience dizziness or vertigo, according to VEDA.
6. Feeling Dizzy May Be Related to Anxiety
Many people who experience dizziness, especially people in their twenties, may also have anxiety, says Whitman. “They usually don’t want to hear that dizziness can be linked to anxiety because it suggests that it’s all in their heads,” he notes. “But what’s in your head is your brain. And anxiety can reflect a brain function disturbance that’s possibly genetic.”
Compared with people who don’t have anxiety, people with anxiety disorders appear to sway more when subjected to a moving visual environment, Whitman says. And they sway in a way that seems to be synchronized with the visual movement. “These people may be abnormally sensitive to visual stimulation, because their dizziness can increase when they’re watching moving objects or walking through a large, bright store,” says Whitman.
This is called visual dependence, and little is known about how common it is. “We need to develop better tests of visual dependence, and we need laboratory tests for what we now call anxiety disorders,” ways Whitman. “It’s likely that in the future, these disorders will be reclassified, in part, based on genetics.”
7. A Boat Ride or Waterbed Can Cause Dizziness
It’s pretty common to experience a rocky, dizzy feeling on your first day back after a cruise, says Carol Foster, MD, director of the balance laboratory at the University of Colorado Hospital in Aurora. “For a few people, this feeling, called mal de debarquement, can last for months or even years,” says Dr. Foster. Some 75 percent of all sailors can experience such dizzy spells. Airplanes, cars, and trains can also cause a wobbly-legs feeling. Even relaxing on a waterbed can cause dizziness.
8. Dizziness and Vertigo May Be Side Effects From Medication
So many drugs can cause dizzy spells that there are too many to even list, says Whitman. “That said, high doses of blood pressure medication can cause dizziness, especially in older adults and in people who have started a dose that’s too high for them,” says Whitman. “In my dizziness clinic, I tend to start people on ultra-low doses of medication. Sometimes, less is more.”
Check to see if any drugs you’re taking may include dizziness, vertigo, or loss of balance as possible side effects by speaking with your pharmacist or physician. “A careful review of medication lists, and looking for opportunities to decrease dosages, can sometimes yield surprising benefits,” Whitman adds. “Don’t think that you shouldn’t take a medication just because dizziness could be a potential side effect. Most people don’t experience the side effects a drug may cause.”
9. Your Diet or Dehydration Could Make You Dizzy
Even mild dehydration may be why you’re feeling dizzy or light-headed, according to the American Heart Association (AHA). Dehydration can also cause blood pressure to drop, which can lead to dizzy spells, notes the AHA. Dieting can also result in feelings of dizziness, because some diets cause dehydration, says Dr. Blau. According to the AHA, mild dehydration that follows the loss of just 1 to 2 percent of your body weight can cause dizziness.
10. There Are Several Less Common Causes of Dizziness and Vertigo
Pay attention to all bouts of dizziness, because along with other symptoms, they could point to something more serious. See your doctor to rule out health problems related to frequent or severe bouts of dizziness or vertigo.
“Even though less than 1 percent of my patients have a life-threatening or previously unsuspected cause of dizziness — such as stroke warning symptoms or a brain tumor — I still take all cases of dizziness seriously,” says Whitman. If you have a brain tumor, it’s usually not the only symptom you have, he says.
One very rare condition linked to vertigo is Ménière’s disease. “If you have prolonged episodes of whirling vertigo along with hearing problems in one ear, it could be Ménière’s,” says Whitman. He estimates that this affects only about 0.2 percent of the population, and is sometimes found in adults between the ages of 40 and 60. Though it can’t be cured, it can be treated.
1,634 Possible Causes for Loss of Appetite, Paresthesia, Vertigo
New type of vertigo identified
With vertigo, people have episodes of dizziness that can last from minutes to days. Vertigo can be caused by serious conditions, such as tumors, or conditions that are fairly benign, such the inner ear disorder Meniere’s disease. But for some people, no cause can be found.
In this new study, neurologists have identified a new type of vertigo where treatment may be effective.
“These conditions can be difficult to diagnose and quite debilitating for people, so it’s exciting to be able to discover this new diagnosis of a condition that may respond to treatment,” said study author Ji-Soo Kim, MD, PhD, of Seoul National University in Seongnam, South Korea.
To diagnose this new condition, the person sits in a dark room and the examiner moves the patient’s head forward and then the head is shaken horizontally for about 15 seconds. Then the patient opens his or her eyes and a video recording is taken of eye movements. The neurologists discovered that after the test people with this new condition had eye movements called nystagmus that lasted longer than for other people. The new condition is called recurrent spontaneous vertigo with head-shaking nystagmus.
Among 338 people with vertigo with no known cause, 35 had this new condition and were included in the study. The participants had attacks of vertigo ranging from two or three times a week to once a year. They also experienced nausea or vomiting, headaches and intolerance of head motions during the attacks.
The participants were compared to 35 people with other conditions that can cause vertigo, such Meniere’s disease, vestibular migraine and vestibular neuritis. The test measured the time constant, or the time that represents the speed with which the reflexive eye movements can respond to change. For those with the new condition, the time constant during the primary phase of the nystagmus was 12 seconds, while it was six seconds for those with Meniere’s disease and five seconds for those with vestibular neuritis and vestibular migraine.
The neurologists also found that people with the new type of vertigo were more likely to have severe motion sickness than those with other types of vertigo.
A total of 20 of the 35 people with the new type of vertigo who had frequent attacks and severe symptoms were given preventive medication. About one-third of those had partial or complete recovery with the new medication. During the long-term follow-up of an average of 12 years after the first symptoms for 31 participants, five reported no more attacks, 14 said their symptoms had improved and only one said symptoms had gotten worse.
Kim said that people with this condition may have a hyperactive mechanism in their vestibular system that helps the brain respond to movement of the body and in the environment.
“It’s possible that the vertigo occurs when this unstable mechanism is disrupted by factors either within the person’s body or in their environment,” Kim said.
Though not as common, exercise so intense that you’re gasping for air can cause hyperventilation, rapid breathing that causes carbon dioxide levels in the blood to drop, resulting in lightheadedness.
6. A medication you’re taking is causing it.
There are a lot of meds that could be the culprit here, but to name a few, anti-seizure drugs, antidepressants, and sedatives are all known to have dizziness as a side effect. Blood pressure-lowering medications could also make you dizzy if they lower your blood pressure too much. When in doubt, check the side effects on whatever medications you’re taking.
7. You have poor blood circulation.
We know that our blood’s activity can make us feel dizzy in small ways. For example, standing or sitting too quickly can cause a brief drop in your systolic blood pressure which leads to some brief lightheadedness. It’s also why you might get dizzy when you have blood drawn—the decrease in blood volume can cause inadequate blood flow to your brain.
Less commonly, you may feel dizzy if your heart isn’t pumping enough blood to your brain due to low blood pressure or poor circulation, according to the Mayo Clinic. Conditions such as cardiomyopathy, heart attack, and heart arrhythmia can all cause this dizzy or lightheaded sensation for this reason.
8. You have an anxiety disorder.
Though it’s not technically the spins associated with dizziness, certain anxiety disorders such as panic disorder can cause lightheadedness and a woozy feeling that can feel an awful like being dizzy. If you’re not sure if you have an anxiety disorder, it could be worth brushing up on these signs and talking to a doctor to see if it’s to blame for your dizziness.
9. You’re anemic.
According to the Mayo Clinic, anemia is a condition where you don’t have enough healthy red blood cells to carry oxygen around your body, so you feel tired and weak as a result. Dizziness is another common symptom. There are many causes of anemia, with the most common being low iron levels.
10. You have low blood sugar.
Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) is a condition that is most typical in people with diabetes who use insulin and it can cause a lightheaded sensation, similar to standing up too fast. You might also experience sweating and anxiety along with dizziness, according to the Mayo Clinic.
11. You hit your head recently.
Dr. Cho says that you can also experience dizzy spells after getting a concussion. If you hit your head and never got it checked out, but sometimes feel like your head gets a little spinny, there’s a chance that bump did more than you thought.
When to see a doctor:
Here are some signs your dizziness might be part of a larger problem:
You’re experiencing it constantly or episodes last hours at a time.
A lot of the time, dizzy spells pass pretty quickly or fade when you address the problem (such as drinking water when you’re dehydrated). However, if a dizzy spell doesn’t pass, that could be a sign something else might be going on. Constant or long-lasting dizziness is often a sign of a more serious ear disorder or undiagnosed migraines.
You’re so dizzy you can’t function.
Even if it only happens once and doesn’t last a long time, it’s worth seeing a doctor if your dizziness is super intense. Not only could it be a sign that something else is going on, but it also puts you in danger of injuring yourself. It’s better to be safe than sorry, says Dr. Cho.
You’re also experiencing symptoms like numbness, weakness, speech problems, clumsiness, or vision problems.
Vertigo can actually be a sign of a stroke. If you feel a spinning-dizzy sensation that hits suddenly and also experience any other symptoms of stroke at the same time (for instance, weakness especially on one side of the body, sudden severe headache, or trouble speaking, seeing, or walking), you should see a doctor to rule it out. Dr. Cho urges a visit to the emergency room where doctors can do a quick check to make sure.
Some other neurological conditions (like multiple sclerosis) can cause similar symptoms, so it’s worth checking with a doctor if you’re concerned about those dizzy spells.
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Dizziness: Lightheadedness and Vertigo
Dizziness is a word that is often used to describe two different feelings. It is important to know exactly what you mean when you say “I feel dizzy,” because it can help you and your doctor narrow down the list of possible problems.
- Lightheadedness is a feeling that you are about to faint or “pass out.” Although you may feel dizzy, you do not feel as though you or your surroundings are moving. Lightheadedness often goes away or improves when you lie down. If lightheadedness gets worse, it can lead to a feeling of almost fainting or a fainting spell (syncope). You may sometimes feel nauseated or vomit when you are lightheaded.
- Vertigo is a feeling that you or your surroundings are moving when there is no actual movement. You may feel as though you are off balance, spinning, whirling, falling, or tilting. When you have severe vertigo, you may feel very nauseated or vomit. You may have trouble walking or standing, and you may lose your balance and fall.
Although dizziness can occur in people of any age, it is more common among older adults. A fear of dizziness can cause older adults to limit their physical and social activities. Dizziness can also lead to falls and other injuries.
It is common to feel lightheaded from time to time. Brief episodes of lightheadedness are not usually the result of a serious problem. Lightheadedness often is caused by a momentary drop in blood pressure and blood flow to your head that occurs when you get up too quickly from a seated or lying position (orthostatic hypotension). Ongoing lightheadedness may mean you have a more serious problem that needs to be evaluated.
Lightheadedness has many causes, including:
- Illnesses such as the flu or colds. Home treatment of your flu and cold symptoms usually will relieve lightheadedness.
- Vomiting, diarrhea, fevers, and other illnesses that cause dehydration.
- Very deep or rapid breathing (hyperventilation).
- Anxiety and stress.
- The use of tobacco, alcohol, or illegal drugs.
A more serious cause of lightheadedness is bleeding. Most of the time, the location of the bleeding and the need to seek medical care are obvious. But sometimes bleeding is not obvious (occult bleeding). You may have small amounts of bleeding in your digestive tract over days or weeks without noticing the bleeding. When this happens, lightheadedness and fatigue may be the first noticeable symptoms that you are losing blood. Heavy menstrual bleeding also can cause this type of lightheadedness.
Sometimes the cause of lightheadedness is an abnormal heart rhythm (arrhythmia), which can cause fainting spells (syncope). Unexplained fainting spells need to be evaluated by a doctor. You can check your heart rate by taking your pulse.
Many prescription and nonprescription medicines can cause lightheadedness or vertigo. The degree of lightheadedness or vertigo that a medicine causes will vary.
Vertigo occurs when there is conflict between the signals sent to the brain by various balance- and position-sensing systems of the body. Your brain uses input from four sensory systems to maintain your sense of balance and orientation to your surroundings.
- Vision gives you information about your position and motion in relationship to the rest of the world. This is an important part of the balance mechanism and often overrides information from the other balance-sensing systems.
- Sensory nerves in your joints allow your brain to keep track of the position of your legs, arms, and torso. Your body is then automatically able to make tiny changes in posture that help you maintain your balance (proprioception).
- Skin pressure sensation gives you information about your body’s position and motion in relationship to gravity.
- A portion of the inner ear, called the labyrinth, which includes the semicircular canals, contains specialized cells that detect motion and changes in position. Injury to or diseases of the inner ear can send false signals to the brain indicating that the balance mechanism of the inner ear (labyrinth) detects motion. If these false signals conflict with signals from the other balance and positioning centers of the body, vertigo may occur.
Common causes of vertigo include:
- Inner ear disorders, such as benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV), Ménière’s disease, vestibular neuritis, or labyrinthitis.
- Injury to the ear or head.
- Migraine headaches, which are painful, debilitating headaches that often occur with vertigo, nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light, noise, and smell.
- Decreased blood flow through the arteries that supply blood to the base of the brain (vertebrobasilar insufficiency).
Less common causes of vertigo include:
- A noncancerous growth in the space behind the eardrum (cholesteatoma).
- Brain tumors and cancer that has traveled from another part of the body (metastatic).
Immediate medical attention is needed if vertigo occurs suddenly with a change in speech or vision or other loss of function. Vertigo that occurs with loss of function in one area of the body can mean a problem in the brain, such as a stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA).
Alcohol and many prescription and nonprescription medicines can cause lightheadedness or vertigo. These problems may develop from:
- Taking too much of a medicine (overmedicating).
- Alcohol and medicine interactions. This is a problem, especially for older adults, who may take many medicines at the same time.
- Misusing a medicine or alcohol use disorder.
- Drug intoxication or the effects of withdrawal.
Check your symptoms to decide if and when you should see a doctor.
Room Spinning? 5 Common Causes Of Dizziness
When your surroundings start swirling and you feel knocked on your side, you will want to find a solution immediately. Dizziness is often debilitating, so be sure to ask a friend or family member to help you seek clinic care as soon as possible. These are just some of the diagnoses that a doctor could confirm.
- Inner Ear Problems
The inner ear includes a network of sensors that alerts the brain of gravity and different types of motion. When an infection or other problem damages the ear, the brain is not receiving proper information. This is why you might feel wobbly or like your surroundings are spinning. Get to a medical clinic to have your ears tested.
- Medication Side Effects
Some medications have dizziness as a side effect, so be sure to always check your labels. If you believe that you are feeling off because of your medication, make an appointment with your doctor to discuss your options. They will have recommendations about how to handle the dizziness, how long it will last, and when to switch your medication.
- Low Blood Sugar Or Iron
If you haven’t eaten enough recently or aren’t getting the proper nutrients, your body will feel the effect. Try eating a nutritious snack such as trail mix to get your blood sugar where it belong. If you are diabetic, take a glucose tablet or other methods that your doctor recommends. If you suspect that you are anemic, have your iron tested at a medical walk in clinic.
- Poor Circulation
Low blood pressure and other circulation problems often cause dizziness. If you find that you are having dizzy spells often, make an appointment with a medical professional for more specific advice, treatment, and medication. They will be able to diagnose the issue and get it under control.
Are you drinking enough water? Dehydration causes a multitude of problems by throwing off your body’s equilibrium. Sip water to replenish your body. If your condition seems serious, seek clinic care immediately.
Remember: The causes of dizziness are numerous and often complex. When seeking clinical care, be sure to list any other symptoms you have. Feeling dizzy could also indicate a more serious condition. Your doctor will consider several factors, such as your age, during diagnosis. About 65% of people over the age of 60 experience dizziness and loss of balance, often daily. The only way to know why this is happening is to ask a doctor and be thorough in reporting how you feel.