Healthy Living

Feeling unbalanced; Dizziness, vertigo or dehydration?

Feeling unbalanced; Dizziness, vertigo or dehydration?

If you’re thirsty, that’s the most obvious sign you’re dehydrated, which is what happens when your body doesn’t have enough fluid to perform at its peak. being dehydrated doesn’t only mean you’re body is losing water — it also means you're losing electrolytes, such as salt and  potassium, which help your body breathe, move, talk, and do all the other things it needs to do to stay up and running.  Even mild dehydration may cause a feeling of dizziness or light-headededness. Dehydration can also cause blood pressure to drop, which can lead to dizzy spells. Thirst, fatigue, dizziness, or constipation are some of the signs of dehydration and it’s time to reach for water or a sports drink that’s low in sugar and high in electrolytes. Other signs of dehydration can be bad breath, dry skin/lips, muscle cramps, fever or chills, food cravings esp for sweet food, headaches and dark urine.

Some elderly people become chronically dehydrated if they take certain medicines, such as diuretics, have a diminished sense of thirst, are not able to get themselves a glass of water easily, or forget to drink because of dementia. Chronic dehydration in an elderly person may lead to confusion, low blood pressure, dizziness, and constipation. Special attention need to be given to treat dehydration.

Your body loses fluids when you engage in exercise, sweat in high heat, or come down with a fever or contract an illness that causes vomiting or diarrhea. If you're losing fluids for any of these reasons, it's important to increase your fluid intake so that you can restore your body's natural hydration levels. Your doctor may also recommend that you drink more fluids to help treat other health conditions, like bladder infections and urinary tract stones. If you're pregnant or nursing, you may want to consult with your physician about your fluid intake because your body will be using more fluids than usual, especially if you're breastfeeding

How important is water?

Water does more than just quench your thirst and regulate your body's temperature; it also keeps the tissues in your body moist. You know how it feels when your eyes, nose, or mouth gets dry? In addition, water helps protect the spinal cord, and it acts as a lubricant and cushions the joints.

Adequate water intake enables your body to excrete waste through perspiration, urination, and defecation. The kidneys and liver use it to help flush out waste, as do your intestines. Water can also keep you from getting constipated by softening your stools and helping move the food you've eaten through your intestinal tract. Digestion starts with saliva, the basis of which is water. Digestion relies on enzymes that are found in saliva to help break down food and liquid and to dissolve minerals and other nutrients. Proper digestion makes minerals and nutrients more accessible to the body. Water is also necessary to help you digest soluble fiber.

How Much Water Do You Need?

Average adult person is advised to drink 3-4 liters of water. Feeling of thirst indicates the need for more water. If you're not sure about your hydration level, look at your urine. If it's clear, you're in good shape. If it's dark, you're probably dehydrated.

Vertigo and dizziness

Vertigo can cause nausea and vomiting — and may be a symptom of a serious balance disorder — while dizziness simply makes you feel unbalanced. Dizzy spells can range in severity from merely annoying to seriously debilitating. What to do if you experience one of these episodes? Vertigo indicates something more significant underlying.

  1. Ear connection!

Your inner ear contains calcium and protein-based sensing crystals called otoconia. If these crystals are dislodged and float into your inner ear’s canals, you may have a brief spinning sensation. It’s a simple mechanical problem that can and should be corrected with physical therapy. And while it can affect adults of any age, this type of vertigo primarily affects older adults. Most cases occur for no apparent reason, but may be linked to trauma, migraines, inner ear infections, diabetes, and osteoporosis. After treatment, 50 percent of patients may experience the problem again within five years — especially if it was the result of trauma, say experts.

 “We’ve learned that our inner-ear balance system contributes to the control of our blood flow, and that the inner ear has the ability to know which way is up." When you move from lying down to standing up, two inner ear structures, the utricle and saccule, detect gravity. They tell your cardiovascular system to direct blood flow to accommodate your change in position. When that process goes awry, it may cause dizziness.

  1. Deficiencies of essential vitamin B12

It may lead to a number of neurological problems, including feeling off-balance, and having low blood pressure and decreased blood flow to your brain. “Vitamin B12 deficiency is easy to detect and treat, but is an often overlooked cause of dizziness”. Good sources of vitamin B12 include meat, dairy products, and fortified breakfast cereals.

  1. Heart disease!

One simple cause of dizziness is sudden movement, like when you get up too suddenly from your seat or bed. But sometimes dizziness is a sign of a heart condition. Among the cardiovascular-related causes of dizziness are leaking or narrow heart valves, arrhythmias like atrial fibrillation, and atherosclerosis. These can cause dizziness because they reduce blood flow to the brain. Migraine can cause dizziness or vertigo and  also have symptoms like sensitivity to motion, light, and sound. About 40 percent of people who have migraines experience dizziness or vertigo.

  1. Anxiety can make you unstable!

Many people who experience dizziness, especially people in their twenties, may also have anxiety. “They usually don’t want to hear that dizziness can be linked to anxiety because it suggests that it’s all in their heads”. Compared with people who don’t have anxiety, people with anxiety disorders appear to sway more when subjected to a moving visual environment. And they sway in a way that seems to be synchronized with the visual movement.

It’s pretty common to experience a rocky, dizzy feeling on your first day back after a boat ride. Some 75 percent of all sailors can experience such dizzy spells. Airplanes, cars, and trains can also cause a wobbly-legs feeling. Even relaxing on a waterbed can cause dizziness.

  1. Side effects of medicines!

High doses of blood pressure medication can cause dizziness, especially in older adults and in people who have started a dose that’s too high for them.  Check to see if any drugs you’re taking may include dizziness, vertigo, or loss of balance as possible side effects by speaking with your physician.

One very rare condition linked to vertigo is Ménière’s disease. “If you have prolonged episodes of whirling vertigo along with hearing problems in one ear, it could be Ménière’s disease..

  1. Dieting can also result in feelings of dizziness, because some diets cause dehydration. when you lose more than 10 percent of your body weight in fluid — can lead to injury or fatal complications, and requires an ER visit. Seizures, cardiac arrhythmia, or hypovolemicshock can occur because your blood volume is too low.
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