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What are Common Causes of Dizziness and Weakness?

Alex Tree
By
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Dizziness and weakness can be caused by many different factors. They are sometimes symptoms of underlying diseases, including disorders of the inner ear, neurological conditions, and cardiovascular diseases. Other causes include side effects from medication and anxiety.

Vertigo, a nerve disorder of the inner ear, is a common cause of dizziness. In this disorder, the balance mechanism of the vestibular system inside the ear is impaired. This manifests in dizziness and a feeling that the room is spinning. It is often aggravated by head movement, and the dizziness may be severe enough to cause nausea and vomiting.

Inflammation of the inner ear, called acute vestibular neuritis, can also cause dizziness. Acoustic neuroma, an abnormal but benign growth inside the ear, will often cause progressive hearing loss accompanied by dizziness. Another cause is an excessive buildup of fluid in the inner ear, which is called Meniere’s disease. Aside from incapacitating dizziness and weakness, people with this disease often experience hearing loss and ringing in the ears.

Neurological conditions can cause dizziness, weakness, and loss of balance because the brain cannot communicate with the rest of the nervous system. Some examples of these include Parkinson’s disease, hydrocephalus, and spinal cord disorders. Strokes, multiple sclerosis, and brain hemorrhage will cause neurological deficits, including dizziness and general weakness, in addition to slurred speech, facial and eye weakness, and double vision.

Cardiovascular conditions are another common cause of these symptoms. Standing too quickly from a sitting or lying position may cause a drop in blood pressure that will induce dizziness. Heart disease, arrhythmias or abnormal heart beats, and bleeding can all cause depletion of the circulating blood volume to the brain. If this happens, the person will feel dizzy and weak, and may also experience nausea and fainting.

Certain medications will also cause dizziness and weakness. Sedatives, tranquilizers, and anti-seizure drugs have either intended results or side effects that will make the user dizzy and weak. Medication to lower high blood pressure can also have the same effect if the dose is too high.

Symptoms of weakness and dizziness can also occur in individuals with anxiety. People experiencing panic attacks often get dizzy during and after the experience. Some people have dizzy spells due to a similar condition called agoraphobia, a fear of open spaces. After an underlying cause has been treated, these symptoms can still persist in people with severe anxiety.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Alex Tree
By Alex Tree
Andrew McDowell is a talented writer and The Health Board contributor. His unique perspective and ability to communicate complex ideas in an accessible manner make him a valuable asset to the team, as he crafts content that both informs and engages readers.
Discussion Comments
By Gaye6759 — On May 13, 2011

My son is 30 years old and was diagnosed with low platelets approximately 18 months ago. He sees his hematologist regularly. Within the last two weeks he saw him and his platelet count was 54,000. No treatment has been recommended at this time. Just watch and wait.

He doesn't have any visible signs of low platelets, e.g., bruising or bleeding gums. However, within the last month he has been experiencing bouts of dizziness and weakness.

Could this be related to the low platelets? Is this cause for alarm and if so should he seek medical attention immediately?

Alex Tree
Alex Tree
Andrew McDowell is a talented writer and The Health Board contributor. His unique perspective and ability to communicate complex ideas in an accessible manner make him a valuable asset to the team, as he crafts content that both informs and engages readers.
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