Dizziness may be a sign of something much more serious than we thought

Everyone feels dizzy from time to time but these latest findings show just how seriously we should take an extended dizzy spell.

If you are feeling dizziness frequently, and for several minutes after you rise, new research shows this could be the sign of an underlying health problem.

Published in Neurology, researchers from Harvard Medical School say people who often feel dizzy after getting up may be at greater risk of a serious health condition called orthostatic hypotension.

Orostatic hypertension is the lowering of blood pressure after changing position, and may occur within 3 minutes of getting up or sitting down. In the study, the researchers analysed 165 medical records of people who had nervous system testing to see whether their autonomic nervous system was functioning normally.

Of these men and women, 48 had been diagnosed with delayed orthostatic hypotension (DOH), 42 had been diagnosed with OH – a more serious form of DOH – while 75 had neither condition. The average age of participants was 59.

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But shockingly, 10 years after the initial diagnosis, 54 per cent of people were told they had OH, while another 31 per had either Parkinson’s disease or dementia with Lewy bodies, disease caused by abnormal protein accumulation in the brain.

Those with DOH who also had diabetes at at the beginning of the study were more likely to develop OH than those without diabetes.

Study author Dr Christopher Gibbons, of Harvard Medical School, says, “Our findings may lead to earlier recognition, diagnosis and treatments of this condition and possibly other underlying diseases that may contribute to early death.

If you feel that you are becoming dizzy more often than is normal, and for longer periods, it’s highly recommended to see your doctor and have tests done. It could save your life.

 

Tell us, do you have dizzy spells? What did you doctor put it down to?