Feeling lightheaded or dizzy is a common problem – most people have experienced moments of dizziness after a carnival ride or spinning around quickly. While it is a common sensation, it can also be a symptom of a serious condition. When you experience severe dizziness or ongoing dizzy spells, it may be a sign of stroke or other neurological disorders.
TIAs and Strokes
Dizziness can be one of the symptoms that you are experiencing a Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA) or stroke. Ruling out a stroke is vital if you are feeling dizzy or lightheaded. Those who are at higher risk for strokes should be cognitive of dizzy spells and watch for any additional signs of TIA or stroke, including:
- Slurred speech
- Numbness or weakness in face or body
- Double vision or trouble seeing
- Severe neck pain or headache
- Difficulty standing
- Sudden vomiting
When dizziness is combined with any of these symptoms, it is crucial to seek medical attention. It is important to get a diagnosis to determine the cause of your symptoms and the best treatment.
Other Neurological Conditions with Dizziness
Strokes and TIAs can be linked to dizziness, but it is more likely that the sensation is caused by something less serious. There are a few different neurological disorders that can result in dizziness as one of the symptoms.
Vertigo and dizziness go hand in hand, but vertigo is the sensation of spinning or swaying when you are standing still. One of the common neurological causes is benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV). This occurs when a small crystal of calcium in the ear moves, signaling to the brain that the body is spinning or swaying, even though it is not. BPPV usually occurs when the head is tilted in a certain direction – the sensation goes away when the head is moved out of that position.
Excess fluid in the inner ear is called Meniere’s Disease and can often cause dizziness. This disorder is accompanied by hearing symptoms, usually hearing loss or tinnitus (ringing in the ears).
Vestibular migraines can cause dizziness, vertigo, vomiting and nausea, along with traditional migraine symptoms.
Viral infections can cause damage to the nerves in the inner ear, a condition called vestibular neuritis. This can send signals to the brain that result in a feeling of dizziness and may also have symptoms of unsteadiness walking, nausea or vomiting.
Diagnosis for Dizziness Conditions
When a neurological cause for dizziness is suspected, the first course of action is accurate diagnosis. Anyone with dizziness combined with other possible stroke or TIA symptoms should seek immediate medical attention. Many of the other neurological disorders that cause dizziness may have similar symptoms to a stroke, which is why it is vital to have a medical diagnosis performed, followed by the appropriate treatment.
Foothills Neurology is your source for specialized neurological care. Our multidisciplinary medical team offers exceptional expertise for a wide range of neurological-related medical conditions. If you have been experiencing dizziness related to a neurological disorder, we can provide advanced options for treatment at our state-of-the-art medical facilities in the greater Phoenix, AZ area. Call us today to schedule your exam and consultation.