Dizziness is a symptom some patients tend to take for granted. After all, dizziness is common, and you’ve likely felt dizzy before due to low blood sugar or perhaps anxiety.
Normally, dizziness is nothing to worry about, and is a fleeting condition which will disappear on its own.
However, dizziness can indicate serious medical issues in some situations and it’s important to understand the signs of a harmful condition. Intense or prolonged dizziness should be taken seriously especially in combination with other symptoms.
Causes of Dizziness and Nausea
The combination of dizziness and vomiting can indicate a vascular condition.
Low blood pressure, also called hypotension, can cause dizziness and nausea as well as other symptoms like fatigue and blurry vision. Hypotension isn’t always life-threatening. Hypotension can be a result of sitting or standing up too fast (referred to as orthostatic hypotension).
On the other hand, hypotension could be the symptom of a dangerous condition like internal bleeding, anaphylactic shock or an infection in the bloodstream.
Another cause of dizziness and nausea is low blood sugar.
Low blood sugar can be the result of not eating for a long period of time and has symptoms of headache, rapid heartbeat and in extreme cases loss of consciousness and seizures. Furthermore, low blood pressure can be the result a very serious condition like a kidney disorder or hepatitis.
If you take medication for diabetes, low blood pressure may be a result of your nausea and dizziness. Insulin, the hormone which allows sugar to enter cells for energy, is administered through diabetes medication. Too much of these medications can result in low blood sugar, which is why having some snacks on hand is a good idea if you’re a diabetic. If you’re a diabetic and these symptoms occur, inform your doctor.
In extreme cases, diabetics should call 911 if their blood sugar levels are too low. Having blood sugar lower than 70 milligrams per deciliter can cause seizures and damage the nervous system if not treated immediately.
What is the Cause of a Headache and Dizziness?
This is another scenario in which your headache and dizziness could be benign or fatal, depending on the intensity and duration of the symptoms.
For example, a headache and dizziness could be the result of benign conditions like dehydration or poor eye vision.
On the other hand, a headache and dizziness could be the result of a brain aneurysm. This condition is when a blood vessel in your brain ruptures, emergency medical care will be required to stop severe brain damage and death. Other symptoms of a brain aneurysm include:
- Blurred Vision
- Neck Pain
- Light Sensitivity
Another medical emergency which involves a headache and dizziness is a stroke. Strokes result from a blockage of blood flow in your brain, usually caused by a blood clot. If you suspect you may be having a stroke, or at risk of a stroke, remember the FAST acronym:
- Facial Drooping: A stoke can cause facial paralysis one side of your face.
- Arm Weakness: You will have a hard time raising one of your arms if you’re having a stroke.
- Speech Impairment: You will have difficulty speaking or will suddenly have slurred speech if you’re having a stoke.
- Time: Once you recognize the symptoms of a stroke, it’s time to rush to the hospital. Call 911 or have someone drive you to the nearest hospital.
Internal head injuries can be another source of your headache and dizziness. A Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is damage to the brain usually caused by a strong, sudden external force. TBIs are common, according to the Center of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), TBIs compose 30 percent of all injury deaths.
A TBI can be the result of any significant blow to the head like a car crash or playing contact sports. A TBI can result in a headache and dizziness which last for weeks after the initial injury. Other symptoms include:
- Loss of consciousness
- Dilation of pupils
- Memory problems
- Fluid draining from the nose or ears
- Changes in behavior
A TBI is a very serious medical issue and can worsen over time without medical treatment. If you suspect you have a TBI, contact your doctor a soon as possible.
If There’s Smoke, There’s Fire
Think of dizziness like a piece of a puzzle. On its own, dizziness is likely harmless and shouldn’t be a cause for concern unless it’s prolonged or keeps coming back.
Other symptoms, like headaches and nausea, serve as more puzzle pieces which create the picture of what your medical issue is when combined. Fair use of reasonable judgment is the best way to determine if your dizziness is part of a larger condition.
Otherwise, make sure you’ve had plenty of food and water, walk around for a few minutes and give yourself time to relax to treat benign dizziness.