12/23/2009 - News

Chronic dizziness may have a range of different causes

By: Susan Aldridge, medical journalist, PhD



Chronic dizziness may have a range of different causes

Reported by Susan Aldridge, PhD, medical journalist

Psychiatric and neurologic conditions may be the root cause of many cases of chronic dizziness.
Chronic dizziness, characterized by a feeling of giddiness and sensitivity to motion stimuli, has long been something of a puzzle. It is not the same as vertigo - a whirling sensation related to inner ear problems. A group at the University of Pennsylvania has tried to shed light on the problem of chronic dizziness, though a study of 345 men and women aged 15 to 89. All had suffered from three months or more of chronic dizziness of unknown cause.

All but six of these patients had psychiatric and neurologic conditions, including anxiety, migraine or brain injury. Anxiety was linked to 60 per cent of cases of chronic dizziness and conditions of the central nervous system were linked to most of the rest of the cases. There were specific symptoms linked to the underlying cause of the chronic dizziness. For instance, those with nervous system problems tended to get dizzy upon exertion, while nausea and vomiting were linked to migraine-induced dizziness. Careful evaluation of the patient with chronic dizziness may go some way towards more specific treatment recommendations.

Archives of Otolarynology - Head & Neck Surgery February 2007 Volume 133 pages 170-176

Created on: 02/20/2007
Reviewed on: 12/23/2009

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