Headache and dizziness may often go hand in hand with one another and are often defined as vertigo symptoms. Many people who experience the two symptoms together are unsure if they are both the result of an underlying condition or if one symptom is causing the other… It is important to identify if the dizziness is a symptom of the condition causing the headache or whether the dizziness is the result of a headache.
Headaches and Dizziness | Possible Causes
Dizziness may be a part of the aura preceding the migraine or a feature of the migraine attack itself. Sometimes the sensation is closer to that of vertigo.
Hypoglycemia (Low Blood Glucose Levels)
A decrease in blood glucose levels may trigger a headache and is often accompanied by dizziness. If there is a gradual drop in the blood sugar level, the patient may experience a light headed feeling initially which may progress to severe dizziness. In cases of a sudden drop in blood glucose levels, there may be the sudden onset of severe dizziness resulting in fainting.
Diabetics may experience headache and dizziness when their blood glucose levels spike to dangerously high levels.
Blood Pressure Abnormalities
Both high blood pressure and low blood pressure may be present with headaches and dizziness, as well as blurred vision and nausea. Dizziness triggered or aggravated by a sudden change of position, like suddenly standing up, may be indicative of postural hypotension. However, the link between changes in blood pressure, particularly hypertension and headaches is still somewhat controversial although many hypertensive patients report a headache when their blood pressure spikes.
The symptoms of an acute systemic infection, like the flu, includes headaches with dizziness and features of a systemic infection may also be present like a high fever, chills, fatigue, lack of appetite and nausea or vomiting.
With more localized infections of the head like encephalitis, meningitis, a brain abscess and ear infections, headache and dizziness are common and outstanding features of the condition. Localized infections elsewhere on the body which are left untreated may progress into septicemia and headaches with dizziness is among the initial symptoms that appear with septicemia.
Headaches and dizziness are a common feature of head trauma, especially where there is an increase in intracranial pressure either due to inflammation or hemorrhage. Other signs and symptoms may include mental confusion, excessive sleepiness and some sensory impairment. Usually there is a history of a head injury which precedes the onset of the symptoms.
The side effects of many drugs include headaches and dizziness but this is common when using certain antibiotics, hypertensive and GERD drugs.
Other Possible Causes of Headache and Dizziness Include:
- Vertebral artery dissection.
- Otitis media.
- Stroke (cerebrovascular accident or CVA) or transient ischemic attack (TIA).
- Premenstrual tension (PMT).
- Psychological disorders like anxiety, especially if there are panic attacks with hyperventilation.
- Meniere’s disease.
- Labyrinthitis. There may also be some hearing loss and/or tinnitus.
- Ruptured ear drum (tympanic membrane). There may be some hearing loss, tinnitus and ear pain.
- Acoustic neuroma.
- Motion sickness.
- Heart attack. This is a medical emergency and there will be other symptoms like chest pain (Heart Chest Pain), sweating, arm pain, fainting spells, nausea and vomiting.
- T4 syndrome.
- Injury to the cervical spine.
- Brain stem injury.
- Herniated disc
- Spasm of the neck and/or back muscles.
- Heat stroke.
- Poisoning. Nausea and vomiting, along with stomach cramps may also be present.
- Psychotropic drugs.
- Alcohol intoxication and hangover.
*The conditions above are not the only causes of headache and dizziness and medical attention is necessary to isolate the exact cause.