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Suffering from dizzy spell and feeling light headed. Any ideas what might be causing this problem?

Nov 2013
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Practicing since : 1994
Answered : 5290 Questions
Hi Doctor,

For the past 5 years, I suffer from dizzy spells, more of a light headed feeling.

I get it usually when I walk on the street, I will suddenly feel a tendency to walk towards the right side of the street and when I stop and try to put myself together and walk straight or towards the left side of the street, I simply can’t, I feel unbalanced (things do not spin around me, its me that I feel unbalanced).

I do not have this all the time, I might go clear of it for 2-3 weeks and then out of the blue it will come back, and when it comes back it can stay for some time.

I visited my GP, did blood tests, all results are fine.

Doctor said that it can be anxiety disorder; he gave me some Xanax in case of emergencies, I do not like taking pills, I only took xanax 3-4 times and I felt relaxed after a while, but I cannot really say that this solved my problem.

The tendency to walk towards the right side of the street when I get this feeling confuses me.

Any ideas what might be causing my problem?

Thank you

Posted Sat, 24 Nov 2012 in Brain and Spine
Answered by Dr. Sudhir Kumar 14 minutes later

Thank you for posting your query.

I can understand the discomfort that you are facing on account of your problems. More so, because no definite diagnosis has been made so far.

There are a few possibilities in your case, based on the symptoms:

1. Episodic cerebellar ataxia- in this condition, there is imbalance of gait and walking, which come intermittently. This means, there is a period when there are symptoms, followed by a period of normalcy. In this condition, family history may be present.

2. Vestibular dysfunction- in this condition, there is an abnormality in the vestibular organs (located in the ear), which are responsible for maintaining our balance. Due to this, episodic dizziness, imbalance, nausea, etc may occur.

3. Brain ischemia- in this condition, blood supply to back of brain is reduced, resulting in imbalance while walking.

For evaluation, you should consult a neurologist.

MRI and MR angiogram of the brain would be useful. We should also exclude thyroid hormone and vitamin B 12 deficiency.

If all above are normal, then then the current diagnosis of anxiety may be correct.

I hope it helps. Please get back if you require any additional information.

Best wishes,
Dr Sudhir Kumar MD DM (Neurology) XXXXXXX Consultant Neurologist
Apollo Hospitals, Hyderabad, India
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