A matter of balance: how to treat dizzy spells

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A matter of balance: how to treat dizzy spells


A lot of people suffer from dizziness. According to statistics, 42 percent of the total population consult doctors for dizziness. Perhaps humans are destined to have dizziness due to the fact they walk on two legs, making it more difficult to balance than it is for four-legged animals.
Many people suffering from dizziness have the misunderstanding that it is caused by anemia. They believe they have an insufficient amount of iron in their blood and that is why they are dizzy. The main symptom of anemia is chronic fatigue, which has nothing to do with dizziness. Therefore, it is pointless to take iron supplements in a bid to cure dizziness.
A common cause of dizziness is orthostatic low blood pressure. This occurs when people suddenly stand from a lying or sitting position. When this occurs, the blood in the body flows downward and blood supply to the brain becomes insufficient. There have been cases in which people collapsed after standing too long that are attributed to this orthostatic low blood pressure. It happens because the person’s body does not move for an extended time, causing the blood in the lower body to become stagnant. In that situation, repeatedly clenching and unclenching one’s fists and calf muscles help the blood circulate and can prevent dizziness.
Orthostatic low blood pressure is not a disease but a physiological phenomenon. There is no need for treatment and people do not need to be worried about it. Rising slowly or exercising the arm and leg muscles is usually enough to prevent this cause of dizziness.
Pathological dizziness, which often has more severe symptoms, needs to be treated. Even when stationary, some people have a sensation of objects flying by and can become nauseous or vomit. The symptoms may continue for several seconds. If this happens, the sufferer should consult an ear, nose and throat doctor as the organ that maintains balance is located in the ear. Such dizziness may be caused by benign paroxysmal positional vertigo, vestibular neuronitis, meniere’s disease or sudden deafness, but all can be dealt with at an ear, nose and throat hospital.
There are also people whose neck leans either to the left or right. They also should visit an ear, nose and throat hospital.
“When there are problems with the organs that maintain the sense of balance, people unconsciously tend to pull their neck either left or right to prevent dizziness,” said Dr. Park Hyun-min, the head doctor of Mirae Clinic.
If left untreated, one’s posture may be permanently affected.

by Dr. Hong Hye-gul
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