You suddenly get dizzy. The cause of dizziness can range from stress to an inner ear condition. In 1 in 3 patients, a clear diagnosis is often not made. Often no clear cause is found. We tell what some of the possible causes of dizziness can be. An attack of dizziness can be very scary, but luckily there is hardly anything serious going on. About 1 in 30 GP visits are related to dizziness, and women go to the doctor twice as often as men. Sudden dizziness is more common with age.

Dizziness: What Types Are There?

It is difficult to explain dizziness. Everyone experiences different complaints. Roughly you can divide dizziness into two categories. With vertigo, it seems as if all objects are moving around you, or you feel as if you are moving. In addition, you may experience nausea and vomiting, look pale, and be anxious. Sometimes your eyeballs also move back and forth. In the second category, the light-in-your-head dizziness, as the name suggests, you have a light-headed feeling, as if you could almost pass out.

Dizziness without cause

Dizziness often occurs because the balance organ is disturbed. The vestibular organ is a small, fragile organ hidden in the inner ear. Position dizziness is sudden dizziness due to a movement of your head. Think of turning in bed, bending over, or looking up. The dizziness lasts no more than a few minutes. The complaints of an imbalanced organ of balance pass for most people.

An inflamed inner ear

A disrupted organ of balance can also result from an inflamed inner ear. With an inflamed inner ear, an attack of dizziness often lasts longer than with vertigo. If you are bothered by this, sometimes you can do nothing but lie on your bed with your eyes closed. Slowly but surely, the complaints diminish; that can sometimes take a few weeks.

Spinning vertigo due to Ménière's disease

Spinning vertigo may also be due to Ménière’s disease. Ménière’s disease is characterized by attacks of vertigo, hearing impairment, and ringing in the ears. Although the immediate cause is not clear, Ménière’s disease is likely caused by an accumulation of inner ear fluid in the inner ear. During an attack, you usually suffer from poor hearing and ringing in the ears. The disease often manifests itself in one ear. In some cases, the disease also spreads to the other ear. An attack usually lasts 20 minutes, but can also last several hours. After the attack, the complaints can remain for a few days.

Light in your head: causes

Do you feel light-headed, like you might almost pass out? Then there may be an anxiety disorder at stake. Hyperventilation from, for example, a panic attack or shallow breathing can cause dizziness. Anxiety can also make you dizzy, but it works the other way around, too: because you’re dizzy, you can get scared or panic. Even if you suffer from depression, this can be accompanied by dizziness.

The elderly may suffer from a drop in blood pressure. This can cause light-headedness after they get up from a sitting or lying position.

What is the diagnosis?

It is often difficult for a GP to make a good diagnosis quickly. As you can see, dizziness can have many different causes. In addition to the above causes, dizziness can also be related to medication use (antibiotics, painkillers, sleeping pills, and water pills, for example), high fever, migraine, heart disorder, dementia, poor vision, diabetes or alcohol, and drug use. In addition, complaints can vary widely per person.

When should I see a doctor?

Make an appointment with the doctor immediately if you suddenly get dizzy and:

  • Suddenly you have difficulty talking, swallowing or walking
  • You suddenly see double
  • You suddenly have reduced strength in your arm or leg
  • Suddenly you can hear less
  • You suddenly experience severe head or neck pain
  • You feel like you should pass out or passed out
  • You get a headache and feel sick after you’ve been in a closed, not well-ventilated area for a while
  • You have diabetes and may suffer from low blood sugar

Also go to the doctor if you get dizzy and:

  • You are over 65 years old
  • You have an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases, such as diabetes
  • You have previously had a stroke or other cardiovascular disease
  • You use blood thinners
  • You experience a lot of nuisance in your daily life
  • You worry
  • Your complaints are getting worse
  • Your complaints last longer than four weeks

Pass Out

Did you know that almost half of the people ever pass out in their life? It can be quite a shock if you sink away at once and lose your consciousness. Fortunately, fainting is usually harmless, and you will regain consciousness in no time. But why are you passed out? And what can you do if you or someone around you pass out? You can read that here!

What is fainting?

Fainting or syncope is the sudden loss of consciousness because your blood pressure is disrupted. That may seem very dangerous and scary. But your body actually uses fainting as a safety mechanism to allow itself to get your blood pressure back in order. You will usually regain consciousness within seconds to minutes. That is how quickly your body repairs itself.

What are the causes of passing out?

Fainting is triggered by a rapid drop in your blood pressure. Because your body reacts a little too slowly to that, your brain gets too little blood and, therefore, not enough oxygen. To fix this, pass out. There are many possible causes for a sudden drop in blood pressure. Some common causes are:

  • Get up too quickly
  • Standing for a long time
  • Violent emotions or tension
  • Fatigue
  • Too little to eat
  • Cough
  • Urination (especially standing urination)
  • Heatstroke or other types of overheating
  • Certain medications (such as water pills, high blood pressure medications, and antidepressants)
  • Certain diseases (such as diabetes and Parkinson’s disease)

What are the symptoms of passing out?

Usually, there are already signs that you are going to pass out, namely:

  • Light-headedness
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • To sweat
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Dark spots in your field of vision
  • Paleness

Note that you don’t have to have all of these symptoms if you pass out.

What can you do if you or someone in your area faints?

It is a bit of a shock when you or someone in your environment suddenly loses consciousness! Fortunately, it is not serious. We give you some tips to deal with passing out:

  • Try to catch yourself or the other person while falling. Preferably place yourself or the other person flat on the floor. Try to put the legs slightly higher than the body.
  • Gently tilt the head back so that you can breathe properly. You can put yourself or the other person in a stable side position when breathing is normal.
  • Place a damp washcloth on the forehead of the person who has passed out.
  • Loosen tight clothing, for example, around the neck, and provide fresh air.
  • Lie flat when you regain consciousness.
  • After ten minutes, sit quietly. Is that not going well? Then lie down again.
  • Drink some water. Is that going well? Then you can sit up quietly. Make sure that you do not water someone who is unconscious. Of course, you don’t want them to choke!
  • Eat or drink something sweet in case of overheating, dehydration, or undereating, such as dextrose.