What causes dizziness?

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Updated: 4/11/2007 2:46 pm
When you were a child, you probably spun around and around until you made yourself dizzy. What you were doing was confusing the part of your ear that controls balance. As an adult, dizziness can have more serious consequences, as can dizziness in a child who's not just playing around. In fact, dizziness can have consequences for all ages. The elderly frequently have problems with dizziness which could be minor, or a trouble sign for a possible stroke. In children, dizziness can signal anything from a psychological disorder to a brain tumor. Dizziness can also be a symptom of a vestibular (ves-tib-you-lar) disorder. The vestibular system is responsible for balance and is located in the inner ears. It provides critical data on your balance and where you are in relation to your environment. Aspirin, caffeine, alcohol, nicotine, sedatives, tranquilizers, and other drugs can cause temporary dizziness, but probably won't result in permanent damage to the vesitbular system. Permanent damage to the inner ear can be caused by a blow to the head, whiplash, neck trauma, severe or untreated ear infections, or the long-term use of certain antibiotics. In rare instances, a slow-growing tumor in the nerve that leads from the inner ear to the brain, called an acoustic neuroma (uh-coo-stick nure-oh-muh), may interfere with the normal function of the vestibular system. If you'd like more information on the causes of dizziness, talk to a health care physician in your area.

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