What Causes You To Be Dizzy Headed – Medical Review by Debra Sullivan, Ph.D., MSN, R.N., CNE, COI — By Jennifer Huizen on May 1, 2019
A common cause of vertigo when lying down is benign paroxysmal positional vertigo, a condition in which small crystals allow the sense of gravity in the part of the ear to be misplaced into the part of the inner ear that senses head movement.
What Causes You To Be Dizzy Headed
People with benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) experience benign or non-life-threatening, paroxysmal or sudden and short periods of vertigo. Vertigo is a form of dizziness where the area feels like it is spinning.
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In many cases, BPPV appears to develop randomly. However, some conditions can cause or affect BPPV, including:
BPPV usually occurs when calcium carbonate crystals, or otoconia, that sit in the gravity-sensing part of the ear called the utricle become dislodged. Then they move into a hole filled with water, a movement that senses movement.
If enough otoconia accumulate in any groove, it can interfere with the fluid movement that the canal uses to detect head movement.
The semicircular canal does not normally respond to gravity. However, otoconia move with gravity. Therefore, when clumps of otoconia build up in the semicircular canal, they can make the fluid move when it shouldn’t. This sends a false message to the brain that the head is moving.
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When the brain compares this false message from the inner ear with information from other senses and organs, it cannot match, so it perceives it as a painful sensation.
This error causes nystagmus, a condition in which the eyes move uncontrollably back and forth or up and down, making it seem as if the surroundings are rotating.
People with BPPV experience vertigo, a sudden feeling that everything around them is spinning when it is not. People who experience headaches due to inner ear problems usually have nystagmus or eye movements. Can not control.
People with BPPV may experience specific feelings of dizziness in different ways. They may also experience it differently, depending on the activity that causes the symptoms.
Dizziness Can Be A Drag
The spinning or whirling sensation of vertigo may be rotary, a feeling similar to just having fun walking around. Vertigo can also make it feel as if the ground is tilting up and down, a feeling similar to being on a boat.
Another explanation for vertigo is that it can make people trying to get out of bed feel like they are falling back into bed, and people who are going to bed feel like they are falling out of bed.
In most cases, BPPV only causes dizziness after certain movements or actions that cause the head to change position relative to gravity, such as:
Most people who wake up with dizziness usually have BPPV. The BPPV type of dizziness usually lasts 1 minute or less. Some people with BPPV are asymptomatic between attacks of dizziness, but others continue to feel a complete or almost complete loss of balance.
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Vertigo is the main symptom that BPPV causes. But the uncomfortable feeling of vertigo can cause other symptoms such as:
Normally, BPPV is not a serious condition. The biggest risk is injury from falling or being off balance.
However, one should talk to the doctor about the recurrence of dizziness after changing the position of the head. People should talk to their doctor about the duration of dizziness that lasts more than 1 to 2 minutes.
People with vertigo should seek emergency treatment if they have additional symptoms unrelated to BPPV, such as
Your Spinning World Could Be Due To Vertigo.
They can then refer the person to a health care specialist, such as an ear, nose and throat doctor or a vestibular rehabilitation therapist.
The specialist will have the person move their head in certain ways to see which movement causes the symptoms.
While some people experience dizziness, experts will watch their nystagmus carefully for specific patterns that allow to confirm BPPV. This also helps determine which ear and which tube of the displaced otoconia occurs.
To properly treat BPPV, a specialist must also determine what type of BPPV someone has. This can be canalithiasis or cupulolithiasis.
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Canalithiasis is the most common form of BPPV and involves otoconia that move freely in the ear canal.
Cupulolithiasis is less common than canalithiasis and involves otoconia attached to a bundle of nerves that sense the movement of fluid in the cavity.
Symptoms of BPPV tend to decrease over time as the brain adapts to the false information coming from the inner ear. In some cases, BPPV disappears spontaneously after a few days or weeks.
Once the specialist knows where the otoconia separates and whether someone has canalithiasis or cupulolithiasis, they can treat BPPV using canalith repositioning maneuvers or CRM.
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CRM is a specific set of head movements that allow gravity to guide the otoconia to a location in the inner ear that can reabsorb them.
Epley maneuver is a method used to treat canalithiasis. To perform the Epley maneuver, the doctor or specialist will:
If a patient with BPPV does not experience relief after the Epley maneuver, the doctor or specialist will usually repeat the maneuver until they do.
Cupulolithiasis can be improved by using a release maneuver. This technique involves rapid movement of the head in the plane of the affected ear canal to try to shake the displaced otoconia free.
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Once the otoconia are free, maneuver them out of the canal and back into their proper chamber using another CRM method.
It may take several sessions to completely resolve BPPV using the CRM method, but most people make a full recovery. According to some estimates, up to 90 percent of all BPPV cases resolve after one to three CRM treatments.
However, cases involving cupulolithiasis may take longer to be successfully treated. Similarly, if someone has otoconia in more than one semicircular hole, the doctor or therapist will have to correct each one, making the recovery process long.
Even after the dizziness itself goes away, many people who recover from BPPV still feel sensitive to movement and unsteady. A doctor or therapist will usually describe exercises at home that can help reduce these residual feelings fairly quickly.
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Cases of BPPV can be solved incidentally, and experts can also perform CRM methods on people with BPPV who cause dizziness while sleeping.
However, as many as 50% of people have symptoms return within 5 years. The earlier and more thorough the treatment of BPPV, the more successful the long-term prognosis.
If someone has the same type of BPPV in the same tube repeatedly, the doctor or therapist can teach the person how to perform CRM at home.
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Dizziness When Lying Down: Should You Be Worried?
Causes of dizziness can include dehydration, side effects of medication, sudden drop in blood pressure, low blood sugar, and heart disease or stroke.
Feeling drowsy, dizzy, or a little weak is a common complaint among the elderly. Although it is usually not caused by anything life-threatening, it can be, so you need to be careful.
“Do not ignore it. Even if vertigo does not have a serious cause, it can lead to serious injuries from falling. And in the worst case, the cause itself can be life-threatening,” Dr. Shamai Grossman, professor of emergency medicine at Harvard Medical School.
If you have dizziness and/or drowsiness, Dr. Grossman drinks water or orange juice and lies down. If symptoms last longer than 15 minutes, he says it’s time to seek medical attention at an emergency or urgent care facility. Even if the symptoms are brief, and even if you think you know the cause, report the dizziness to your doctor.
Dizzy Every Day?
You can become dehydrated if you are overheated, if you are not eating or drinking enough, or if you are sick. Without enough water, blood volume decreases, which lowers blood pressure and prevents the brain from getting enough blood, causing dizziness. “One glass of water may be enough to make you feel better, but if you haven’t eaten or drank for days, it will take more time for your body to recover,” Dr. Grossman. You may need intravenous fluids. The doctor can check if you need electrolytes such as potassium or salt.
Medicines sometimes make you feel dizzy, especially medicines that lower your blood pressure or make you urinate more. “If they work
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