Recently a passenger caused commotion when he stepped off a taxi and fell down head first on Jinja Road. Concerned onlookers rushed to his rescue carried him out of harm’s way.
A few minutes later when he regained consciousness, he looked confused and could not remember how he ended up on the pavement. Because the man recovered so fast, onlookers chalked the incident to dizziness.
According to Dr James Edward Kakungulu, a general physician at Lifemate Hospital in Ntinda, dizziness is a broad term that has no specific medical meaning but can be serious. “When one feels dizzy, usually it is a sign that there is something interfering with blood flow to the brain. For instance when malaria parasites invade the red blood cells causing them to rapture, they cause clumping of the healthy red blood cells hence blocking the flow of blood to the brain causing dizziness,” Dr Kakungulu explains.
Dr kakungulu says dizziness can also occur when the brain responds to an infection in the body by controlling the temperature. Similarly when you are exposed to too much heat, your organs start heating up and can result in a dizzy spell. The remedy for this kind of dizziness is simply drinking water and staying out of the sun.
Another cause for dizziness is when blood vessels in the brain become dilated, or expand, due to high temperature. This is usually a result of the non-infective causes such as high blood pressure which compromises the flow of the blood to the brain.
Dr Kakungulu adds that concussions and viral infections which affect the passages in your middle and inner ear can cause temporary dizziness too. “These go away as the infection or the concussion heals. Since most infections last for a few weeks you will only be dizzy for that amount of time,” he says.
According to Dr George Bwesigye a general physician at Najeera Hospital, sometimes temporary dizziness is caused by medication. Drugs such as calcium channel blockers which relax and enlarge blood vessels lower the pressure to the brain thus resulting in dizziness.
Antihistamines too which depress the nervous system cause dizziness and drowsiness. This only lasts for as long as you are taking that drug. It goes away when you get off the medication. This can be treated by talking to a doctor if you start experiencing dizzy spells as a side effect of medication,” he says.
Dr Kakungulu says when a person is over using the brain it causes an influx of many chemicals in the blood that make one hyperactive thereby affecting their sleep patterns which results in brain fatigue and dizziness.
Anaemia is also a common cause of dizziness. Anaemia is a blood disorder where one does not have enough hemoglobin in their red blood cells. “Hemoglobin is responsible for carrying oxygen from your lungs to your cells. With a lack of hemoglobin, your cells do not receive enough oxygen. When your brain does not receive enough oxygen, it begins to struggle,” Dr Kakungulu explains.
The red flag
Dr Bwesigye urges anyone who experiences recurrent dizziness to seek medical attention.
“If someone has a history of blood pressure and you get dizzy, it is imperative that you seek medical attention because there is possibility you are going into hypotension (low blood pressure).
If on a previous visit the doctor told you to watch your pressure and you experience recurrence of dizzy spells, see a doctor,” the doctor advises.
Because all the possible causes of dizziness are symptoms of a bigger problem that can be managed if detected early, it is advisable to do at least three routine checkups a year. Dizziness is a good indicator that a person is suffering from serious conditions such as diabetes, blood pressure and neurological disorders.
“Talk to your doctor immediately if you experience dizziness frequently or constantly. This can be a result of a medicine reaction or worse. Listen to what your body is telling you and take care of it to enjoy a healthy life,” Dr. Kakungulu cautions.
Change your position. If you have an opportunity, you should lie down. Otherwise, you should sit down. This is extremely important for reducing spinning sensations and avoiding falling down.
Drink and eat. In order to get rid of an unpleasant feeling, you should drink a lot of water. You can also drink tea or juice.
Focus on a spot. Understand that dizziness usually means that your body feels that you are moving, although you are lying or sitting. Therefore, find a spot on the floor or ceiling and try to look exclusively on it. It will help your brain to understand that your body is not in motion.