Dr Roger Henderson August 02, 2017

Though often harmless, repeated bouts of dizziness could suggest an underlying problem...

  1. Low blood pressure. 
Low blood pressure is often seen as a ‘healthy’ thing to have thanks to indications you may be protected from the problems that come with high blood pressure, such heart disease and stroke. But it can mean that those with it are more likely to feel dizzy when going about their day-to-day lives, - like getting out of bed or up from a chair, for example. This dizziness usually passes within seconds and is never serious, but if you know you suffer from low blood pressure, you may benefit from some simple lifestyle adjustments. Try getting up gradually or in stages, so go from lying then to sitting then to standing.

  2. Panic attacks.
 These are a surprisingly common cause of dizziness, which is triggered by hyperventilating (over-breathing). The dizziness may get better when out in the fresh air or on returning to a ‘safe’ place like your home. If you suffer from regular panic attacks, practice deep breathing techniques which will help you regain control more quickly. Learning to identify the cause of your panic with counselling may be useful, while taking natural treatments such as St John’s Wort and Valerian may help ease symptoms.

  3. Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV).
 The dizziness experienced in relation to BPPV is often severe, with an intense spinning sensation but is very short-lived, usually lasting a minute or less. It is usually brought on by certain head movements, such as turning over in bed or suddenly looking upwards or to the side. Caused by crystals forming in one of the tiny tubes in the inner ear, BPPV can be treated using a procedure known as the Epley manoeuvre, where your GP guides your head through a series of movements to move any crystals out of the sensitive ear canals. The Epley manoeuvre has around an 80 per cent success rate and takes around 15 minutes to complete.
  4. Dehydration.
 Mild to moderate dehydration is a common cause of dizziness, and the loss of just one to two per cent of your body weight due to dehydration can lead to dizziness. Always keep a bottle of water with you during exercise or physical activity, especially in warm weather. One good rule of thumb to prevent dehydration is to drink water until your urine turns light yellow. Dark urine is always a sign to reach for the tap!

  5. Low Vitamin B12. Deficiencies in this essential vitamin can lead to a number of problems, including feeling off-balance and dizzy. Vitamin B12 deficiency is easy to detect and treat, but is often an overlooked cause of dizziness, so ask your GP about having a simple blood test to check your B12 levels if you're having dizzy spells. Good sources of vitamin B12 include meat, dairy products and fortified breakfast cereals, or you may benefit from a supplement, such as Healthspan's Vitamin B12.

Nothing beats a healthy, balanced diet to provide all the nutrients we need. But when this isn’t possible supplements can help. This article isn’t intended to replace medical advice. Please consult your healthcare professional before trying supplements or herbal medicines.

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