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Understanding Dizziness -- the Basics

What Causes Dizziness? continued...

Lightheadedness is usually caused by some surrounding circumstance impairing blood flow to the brain when a person is standing up. Blame this problem on our ancestors who learned to walk upright -- putting our brain above our heart. It's a challenge for the heart to keep the brain supplied with blood -- and it's easy for this system to break down. When blood vessels in the brain become dilated, or expand, due to high temperature, excitement, or hyperventilation, alcohol consumption, or prescription medications such as antidepressants, a person can become lightheaded. There can also be more serious causes, such as a stroke and heart disease.

Disequlibrium can be caused by:

  • A kind of arthritis in the neck called cervical spondylosis, which puts pressure on the spinal cord.
  • Parkinson's disease or related disorders that cause a person to stoop forward.
  • Disorders involving a part of the brain called the cerebellum. The cerebellum is the part of the brain responsible for balance and coordination.
  • Diseases such as diabetes that can lead to loss of sensation in the legs.

Dizziness in the form of anxiety is often, but not always, caused by depression. It can also be due to an anxiety disorder or phobia.

Various medications can also cause dizziness as a side effect.

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WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by David T. Derrer, MD on March 30, 2014

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