“I’m often dizzy, is there anything wrong with my brain”? | Right away

Every week, Edwin de Vaal (47), a general practitioner in Nijmegen, answers a frequently asked or conspicuous question from his practice. This week is this: I’m dizzy, is there anything wrong in my head?

How does dizziness occur?

“Dizziness arises because the balance organ is disturbed. This organ consists of tubes in the ear. If that doesn’t work properly, it sends misinformation to the brain. You will see how everything moves or rotates. You may also feel like you’re spinning or falling. Sometimes you can be nasty or anxious.”

A disturbed balance organ, isn’t that very serious?

“In most cases, nothing serious is going on. Complaints often go by themselves within a few weeks. If the dizziness attacks last much longer than a few minutes, there may be a condition that needs to be treated, such as inflammation of the equilibrium organ.”

“With a crooked mouth, difficulty speaking or a paralyzed arm or leg, you should call 911 immediately.”

General practitioner Edwin de Vaal

“To find out what causes the dizziness, it’s useful to keep track of exactly what you feel when it affects you, how long it takes and what you notice about your body.”

So there’s nothing wrong with my brain?

“In most cases, the cause of dizziness lies in the balance organ, not in the brain. In many cases, it is. For example, with a stroke. But then other ailments usually occur, such as a crooked mouth, difficulty speaking or a paralyzed arm or a paralyzed leg. Then you should call 911 immediately.”

What other forms of dizziness are there?

“What often happens is a slight feeling in the mind. It can occur if you get out of a chair too fast. Sometimes you also see white spots and you get the feeling of fainting. Some people think it’s anemia, but it’s usually not.’

What is going on?

“Because you’re standing, gravity pulls your blood down from your head to your legs, which lowers your blood pressure. Often the balance recovers by itself, but if your body fails to quickly bring blood pressure back to normal levels and pump it upside down, you can become dizzy and even faint.”

Do you need to go to the doctor?

“Not directly. It’s a lot and doesn’t hurt if it occasionally bothers you, especially when it’s hot. Normally it goes by itself. If it affects you very often, something can happen. For example, medications such as blood pressure suppression can sometimes be the cause of too low blood pressure. Then it is good to consult with the doctor about dose adjustment.”

When do you have to go to the doctor dizzyingly?

“Contact the gp immediately if you are constantly dizzy, even if you keep your head still. And even if you suddenly become dizzy and at the same time other ailments occur, such as difficulty speaking or swallowing, double vision or loss of strength in one arm or leg.”