Many of us have experienced sudden dizziness when sitting or standing up or even just turning our head. The reasons are varied and most aren’t a cause for concern.
What is dizziness?
“Medically known as vertigo, it is the sensation that you’re spinning or that things are spinning around you. It may be accompanied by nausea, vomiting, paleness, sweating and coldness,” explains Dr. Robert Téllez Velázquez, of the Vithas medical group.
What causes dizziness on changing position?
Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) originates in the ear. Dr. Téllez says: “This tends to occur more in women and commonly starts in your thirties or forties, although children can also suffer.” It is caused by crystals called otoconia, linked to balance, which have found their way into the wrong part of the inner ear. The particles may have become dislodged from their correct location by the simple wear and tear of age, or sometimes due to injury or infection.
Other causes of dizziness on changing position include:
Anxiety: Some people become literally dizzy with anxiety, especially if suffering panic attacks, where it may be accompanied by nausea, vomiting and palpitations.
Low or high blood pressure: Postural hypotension - a drop in blood pressure when changing position - or hypertension - high blood pressure - can both cause dizziness.
Medicine side effects.
Alcohol or other intoxicants.
Although the causes of vertigo are generally not serious, it can be a distressing condition, and if you suffer frequently or severely you should seek medical advice. “The important thing is to identify the cause and treat that,” says Dr. Téllez. For benign paroxysmal positional vertigo, the aim is to move the particles that are causing the problem. Physical therapy using a few simple moves is highly effective.
Dr. Téllez points out that sometimes, vertigo can be a sign of diseases such as strokes, brain hemorrhages and tumors. If your dizziness is combined with any of these symptoms, you should call 911.
- Sudden, intense headache
- Chest pain
- Difficulty breathing
- Numbness or paralysis of arms or legs
- Double vision
- Rapid or irregular heartbeat
- Confusion or slurred speech
- Stumbling or difficulty walking
- Ongoing vomiting
- A sudden change in hearing
- Facial numbness or weakness
Disclaimer: This information is for general knowledge only and should not be used in place of professional medical advice. Always consult with your doctor or a qualified healthcare provider for advice on any medical concerns.