The animals get dizzy

Dizziness - What throws us off balance

Anyone who suffers from dizziness is not an isolated case. More than every tenth patient at the family doctor complains of dizziness. In old age, disturbances in the equilibrium system increase again significantly.

Those affected describe their symptoms very differently. You experience sham movements or feel generally unsafe or light-headed. Many have the feeling that something is spinning inside of them or that the environment is circling around them (Vertigo). Others think they are swaying, especially when they are standing, or the environment seems to be moving back and forth (Vertigo). Another variation is the sensation of being pulled down or up, like in an elevator (Lift dizziness), or to tip over to the front or to the side (Tendency to fall). These three forms of vertigo are also summarized as what is known as systematic vertigo. The dizziness can occur in certain situations seizure set in, such as acute vertigo, or permanent persist, for example in the form of drowsiness and dizziness (Lightheadedness).

Dizziness: alarm from the brain?

Vertigo is a Alert signals from the brain, an indication that something is disturbed in the system that regulates our equilibrium. Unusual but harmless stimuli such as a fast carousel ride can irritate the equilibrium system for a short time. However, certain diseases sometimes permanently impair its function. These are often diseases in the inner ear, where the organ of equilibrium is located, or disorders in the equilibrium center in the brain. Nerve inflammations, vascular problems, cardiovascular disorders, metabolic diseases or mental illnesses are also possible. Natural signs of wear and tear in old age also play a role.

The wide range of possible causes of dizziness (see below, section: "Types of dizziness and possible causes") shows how much the functioning of our balance depends on the health of other body systems.

How dizziness develops

So that we can keep ourselves upright and move safely in a wide variety of life situations, three precisely coordinated work Sensory systems together: The focus is on the vestibular system, the equilibrium system in the narrower sense. It includes that Organ of equilibrium in the inner ear - in the immediate vicinity of the hearing organ - with the equilibrium nerve and the responsible nerve tracts in the brain. This network indicates in which directions we are moving. Its information for orientation in space is supplemented by the messages of the eyesthat show where we are moving. In addition, the "situation reports" from the sensors are running out Touch and depth a. These feelers are located on the skin, joints, muscles and tendons.

The control center for all perceptions is a core area in the brain stem, which also includes the elongated spinal cord. The brain processes the information and implements it in such a way that all movements are coordinated and we move naturally in everyday life. To do this, it stores the necessary movement sequences, which we then usually carry out completely unconsciously. New combinations of movements are added or can be trained.

In order for them to function properly, all parts of the balance system and the brain as a whole must work well with them Oxygen and nutrients be supplied. To do this, it is important that the blood flow, blood pressure and blood itself, as well as the metabolism, are intact. The balance reacts very sensitively to disturbances and obstacles - with various degrees of vertigo. The psyche also has an impact in many different ways.

Dizziness: When to see a doctor?

Even healthy people get dizzy every now and then, for example when they haven't had enough sleep or have overwhelmed themselves physically. If you have low blood pressure, you often have to take some time to get up in the morning to get on your feet safely. New or incorrectly adjusted glasses can be another reason for brief vertigo attacks. After the already mentioned carousel ride, many feel uneasy, the solid ground seems to be swaying.

Some people experience dizziness when they are high up, for example on a high tower (Vertigo), or during a trip, e.g. by bus, plane or ship (travel sickness, Kinetosis). If such symptoms are very pronounced, the doctor can usually give advice or, if necessary, prescribe medication for motion sickness. Balance training also strengthens the sense of balance and helps to achieve more security.

In any case, go to the doctor, though

  • Dizziness recurs for no apparent reason,
  • You experience vertigo attacks out of the blue,
  • You more often have the feeling that you are swaying on solid ground or that your surroundings are moving,
  • You get dizzy with certain (head) movements,
  • Prolonged dizziness or balance problems
  • other complaints such as nausea, headache, ear pain, hearing problems, ringing in the ears, drowsiness and fainting, fever, tiredness and fatigue, palpitations, shortness of breath,
  • Dizziness occurs during an ear disease such as otitis media, during or after the flu or flu-like illness, herpes zoster infection or other infectious diseases such as scarlet fever and measles,
  • You regularly get dizzy when you are in a certain situation or environment, for example in an elevator, in a crowd, in a large square or before important appointments.

A detailed discussion with the family doctor often helps. He usually knows his patient and existing health problems well. Depending on the suspected diagnosis, he may call in a specialist. An ear, nose and throat doctor, a specialist in nervous diseases (neurologist), a specialist in internal diseases (internist), an ophthalmologist or a psychiatrist or psychotherapist are often considered. There are also clinics with special dizziness clinics (see also section "Diagnosing dizziness" below).

Types of vertigo and possible causes

Dizziness manifests itself in many ways. It can appear suddenly, without a warning, as an attack of dizziness, often in the form of vertigo. Such Attacks of dizziness can last for different lengths of time, from seconds to hours, and then pass, only to adjust again after a certain time. The attacks often set in with certain movements, during physical exertion or in certain situations. Sometimes dizziness lasts for days and months (Constant fraud). For some people, dizziness develops into a constant uncomfortable companion (chronic dizziness).

The respective dizziness patterns sometimes give clues to a possible cause. However, not every clinical picture is associated with just one typical form of dizziness. The symptoms can overlap and vary from person to person.

- Spinning vertigo or vertigo attacks in certain postures and movements:

Spells of dizziness set in when the person affected changes their head posture or body position. They can also be associated with different movements. In addition to vertigo, vertigo also occurs.

  • The most common cause of dizziness is that benign positional vertigo. Spinning vertigo attacks typically occur as a result of changes in the position of the head, for example when the person concerned bends his head back, lies down, turns over in bed or gets out of bed in the morning. The attacks usually last a few seconds and can be accompanied by nausea and blurred vision. The positional vertigo, which is very common especially in older people, can usually be treated with simple measures or it goes away spontaneously.
    One reason for dizziness can be ear stones that are deposited in the semicircular canals of the inner ear and thus lead to irritation. However, certain exercises with the head and upper body help to bring them out successfully. The reasons for the deposits are often signs of wear and tear. Posing vertigo can also be the result of head trauma or vestibular neuritis (see below "Vertigo as permanent vertigo").
  • Movement-dependent staggering or spinning vertigo is one of the main symptoms of one bilateral vestibulopathy. Here the equilibrium organ on both sides and parts of the equilibrium nerves are disturbed in their function. The spinning and vertigo attacks often set in with certain movements, and the environment seems to shake. People often feel insecure and blurred when walking, especially in the dark or on uneven ground. Sometimes they have trouble finding their way around. If they sit or lie down, they are better off. The causes of the bilateral failure of the organ of equilibrium are often unknown. The disease can be related to inflammatory processes in the brain. Menière's disease (see below) or meningitis are possible triggers. Even rarely used antibiotics (aminoglycosides) can attack the inner ear and cause damage.
    Neurologists have recently started paying more attention to this Canvas syndrome. This clinical picture includes bilateral vestibulopathy with vertigo and vertigo, as well as changes in the cerebellum with coordination disorders, such as when walking, as well as nerve disorders (polyneuropathy) in the feet.

- Sudden attacks of vertigo, attacks of vertigo, usually as vertigo, sometimes also as vertigo

The attacks can occur spontaneously, for almost no reason, and last for seconds, minutes, or even hours. In between there are symptom-free times. Only sometimes are they related to certain movements.

  • Anyone who has looked too deeply into the glass knows the typical vertigo. alcohol caused partly severe vertigo attacks and disturbances of balance. Alcohol addiction leads to far-reaching damage to health that not only permanently affects the balance. Symptoms of dizziness also occur when alcohol is withdrawn.
  • Then there are the vertigo attacks that set in "out of the blue", hearing loss and tinnitus in one ear as well as nausea, is to a Meniere's disease to think. Some sufferers also perceive the seizures as vertigo or vertigo.
    Detailed information on this clinical picture can be found in the guide "Menière's disease (Menière's disease)".
  • Violent vertigo attacks and balance problems also occur at one Inner ear infection (Labyrinthitis). Positional vertigo (see above "Attacks of vertigo in certain postures") can also be a sign. Since the auditory cells are also usually affected, ask Hearing loss and tinnitus are other symptoms, including ear pain, fever, fatigue. An inner ear infection can have different causes. In addition to infections caused by viruses or bacteria, tumors, accidents or toxins are also possible.
  • Sometimes an inner ear infection is the result of a severe one Otitis media. Dizziness with an otitis media is always a warning sign. Then see an ear, nose and throat specialist as soon as possible.
    Chronic otitis media can have further complications Dizziness and hearing impairment result in a growth (cholesteatoma). Bad-smelling discharge from the ear is also possible here. Breakthroughs between the spaces in the inner and middle ear, for example a perilymph fistula, are also possible. They are sometimes also the result of injuries, such as a fractured skull.
  • A benign one rarely works Equilibrium nerve tumor (Acoustic neuroma) associated with dizziness. The tumor spreads to the auditory nerve and therefore causes as Key symptoms are hearing loss on the affected side and tinnitus.
  • The vestibular migraines, also called dizziness, is a special form of migraine. Once in the context of an aura, dizziness can herald a migraine attack. Typical of vestibular migraines, however, are vertigo attacks that occur suddenly for no apparent reason and recur at certain intervals. Vertigo and balance problems are also possible. The attacks can be associated with severe headaches, visual disturbances, sensitivity to noise and light, tinnitus, nausea and vomiting. Many of those affected had suffered from migraines before the symptoms of dizziness appeared. This then shows up again, often after a symptom-free period, with attacks of dizziness in a different form. Some also just experience Spells of dizziness, without a headache.
  • Certain Vascular changes in the vicinity of the brain stem, the balance and auditory nerves sometimes irritate. Due to its nature, age or illness, a vessel meanders more than usual, expands, pulsates more strongly and presses the neighboring nerve (Vestibular paroxysmia