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Ear, Nose, and Throat Disorders

Dizziness

01/27/2000

Question:

i am 46 , taking 25 mg hydroduril. what would cause dizziness for about a week? i went to local physician, blood pressure was fine, no temp., he thought is was vertigo, didnt prescribe anything, i took quanterra for sinuses the rest of the week since i was already dizzy, the quanterra did help with drainage of sinus, but the dizziness is still slight. i quit taking the quanterra 3 days ago.

Answer:

"Dizziness" is a broad term that needs to be specified before being diagnosed. For example, some people refer to dizziness when they feel lightheaded. others use the term dizzy when they have vertigo - a sense of motion or spinning when they are not moving. Still others use the term dizziness when they are experiencing disequilibrium or unsteadiness. This may seem like subtle differences to some people, however, these distinctions help the physician determine whether the problem is inner ear-related, central nervous system-related, or perhaps metabolic, etc...

With this as a caveat, "dizziness" of 1 week`s duration can be due to a multitude of causes. Drugs like diuretics certainly can cause dizziness. The appropriate thing is to check with your primary care physician as you have done. Other things like viral illnesses (e.g. the flu) can cause dizziness type symptoms for short periods of time. Inner ear problems can also cause "dizziness" due to diseases ranging from something like Meniere`s disease to benign positional vertigo to inner ear tumors.

In summary, the diagnosis of "dizziness" is a complex one that starts with a physician taking a detailed history and pinning down what "dizziness" means to you. Then, after a physical exam, further workup would routinely include an audiogram (hearing test to see how the inner ear is functioning) and possibly specific balance tests and even imaging studies (e.g. MRI or CT scan). Very often, routine blood tests can be included to make sure there no other factors contributing to the "dizziness" symptom - e.g. anemia, hypothyroidism, etc.

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Response by:

Daniel   Choo, MD Daniel Choo, MD
Associate Professor and Director, Division of Otology/Neurotology
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati