Dizziness, discover its cause: shortness of breath, balance problems, aging, nausea

Dizziness is usually not a sign of a serious health problem and may be caused simply by a change in the blood flow to the brain, in a heat stroke or shortness of breath, for example. However, dizziness may also indicate a condition, sometimes irreversible, such as aging or it may be a sign of other more serious disorders. Dr. Pablo Irimia, a specialist in the Department of Neurology at the University Hospital of Navarra, answers several of the most worrisome questions about uncomfortable dizziness.

The good news is that most of the causes of vertigo are not serious and can be resolved quickly or treated easily. For example, if you feel dizzy, the most effective according to specialists is to sit with your head between your legs or lie down and rest.

Also, it is very important that you do not lose your nerves or hyperventiles.

Discover where your origin may be and what are your possible solutions.


It is the feeling of lack of stability when walking in which the patient feels that the objects are spinning around him. It is usually accompanied by nausea and vomiting.

What provokes them?

• It is a symptom of various alterations in a part of the inner ear that controls the Balance (lobby).

• If it's about peripheral vertigo, its most frequent origin is benign positional vertigo (a disorder of the organ of balance, common in the elderly and caused by the aging of the vestibular apparatus).

• Other possible causes are: infections and trauma in the inner ear, side effects of medications, labyrinthitis (an inflammation of the labyrinth of infectious origin and that may occur after a flu or infectious respiratory tract), Ménière syndrome (accompanied by a certain degree of deafness and abnormal acoustic sensations) or a benign tumor called acoustic nerve neurinoma (dizziness is accompanied by hearing loss and ringing in the ears, difficulty swallowing or speaking and headache).

• Central vestibular dizziness, which is less common, may have its origin in cerebral vascular diseases, in a vertebro-basilar insufficiency (by atherosclerosis) and more infrequently in tumors or in various cerebral traumatisms.

• In addition, there are vertigoes, much less frequent, that could be caused by visual disturbances, psychic disorders or neurological diseases.


• Treatment will depend on the cause. In periods of crisis, absolute rest is recommended and antivertiginous drugs. If you have caused an infection, they will be treated with antibiotics. In all cases, excesses of food, alcohol, tobacco and stress should be avoided.

• Benign positional vertigo can be resolved with easy postural exercises.

• The neurinoma requires surgical treatment.

Feeling faint or faint

It's an episode of short loss of consciousness which is usually preceded by a feeling of dizziness and accompanied by weakness in the legs, pallor or blurred vision.

What causes it?

• It is due to a momentary alteration of the blood circulation that causes a drop in blood pressure.

• The causes that cause a fading are very varied: a sudden incorporation, staying many hours in the sun or in very hot environments, strong emotions, situations of acute stress, dehydration, anemia …

• Certain medications for anxiety, high blood pressure, nasal congestion, and allergies can cause it.

• Other less common reasons are heart disease and stroke. These fades are the most common and, except in heart disease or in cases of severe anemia, in a healthy person they do not require medical treatment.


• To recover it is enough to lie down and lift your legs or lower your head for a few minutes, in addition to opening the windows or withdrawing from the sun when it occurs outdoors.

• If it is suspected that it may be anemia, the doctor will indicate the treatment.

• In the elderly, the cardiologist should be consulted.

Instability, dull head

It is a dizziness in which there is no sense of fading. Its symptoms are: insecurity when walking, sensation of turning objects, limitation to maintain balance, cloudy vision …

What causes it?

• It is an episode of brief loss of consciousness that is usually preceded by a feeling dizzy and accompanied by weakness in the legs, pallor or blurred vision. It is common in people who are anxious, stressed or with mild depressive symptoms.

• It can also occur in people suffering from migraine, exhaustion, insomnia or vision problems, most commonly it is psycho-physiological dizziness.

• Disorders such as phobias, panic attacks, hysterical crises and depression can cause dizziness.


• There are several therapeutic possibilities when the origin is in a psychological problem, but its diagnosis and treatment must be done by a professional.

• Certain substances, such as coffee or tobacco, and some situations of psychic tension can trigger the crisis, so the first step is to avoid them.

• When the origin is not psychological (migraine, vision problems), the corresponding specialist must fight the motive of dizziness.

Other problems

• Cervical problems, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, spinocerebellar degenerations, tumors or brain infections, ataxia (an inherited disease that causes progressive damage to the nervous system) can be causes of dizziness.


• In these cases, the treatment involves addressing the disease that triggers them.

• When caused by subluxations in the cervical area (the vertebrae are displaced from their natural position in the spine), with the consequent nerve impingement, the chiropractic adjustments made by a specialist can release the affected nerves and get an improvement.