Monday, January 9, 2012

What Causes a Child to be Dizzy? Can it be Dangerous?

Child Dizzy

Child Dizzy

QUESTION: What causes a child to be dizzy? Can it be dangerous?

ANSWER: Dizziness in children can have a number of different causes, ranging
from a psychological disorder to a brain tumor. Don't ever ignore dizziness
in a child; it may indicate a serious underlying problem that needs treatment.

You should also be aware of dizziness in a child who's too young to have
the vocabulary to describe the sensation he's experiencing. A child may
describe dizziness as a spinning feeling, or indicate that he's feeling
unsteady or lightheaded.

Watch, too, for other symptoms that may accompany dizziness. Does the
child suffer from nausea, vomiting, faintness, pallor, or headache, too? Does
he black out or lose consciousness? Is dizziness brought on by rapid movement
of the head? How long, and how frequently, does the dizziness occur? Is your
child able to play or carry out normal activities despite feeling dizzy?
If dizziness occurs in your child, ask your physician about it. He will
need to take a complete history and will ask you and your child a number of
questions to try to pinpoint the cause of the dizziness. In addition, a
thorough physical exam will help rule out a number of possible causes. Lab
tests (looking for blood abnormalities, diabetes, etc.) and even a CT
(computerized tomography) scan will help in the diagnosis. In particular,
your doctor will be interested in any ear or neurologic disorders that often
have dizziness as a symptom. For instance, any obstruction, such as impacted
ear wax, in the auditory canal could result in dizziness.
Chronic ear infections or previous ear surgery could be the culprit.
Your doctor will want to know if your child suffers from any kind of hearing
loss, tinnitus (ring in the ears), pain, or feeling of fullness in his ears
(in one ear or both).
Other possible causes of dizziness can include:
Medications, such as aspirin, antihistamines, or phenytoin and
barbiturates (used to treat epilepsy and other seizure disorders).
Injury to the head, neck or spine.
Infections like meningitis, encephalitis, or brain abscess.
Disorders such as diabetes, low blood sugar, high or low blood pressure,
or hypothyroidism.
Diseases of the blood like anemia or leukemia.
Diseases of the central nervous system like multiple sclerosis.
Lead, arsenic, or alcohol poisoning.
Thiamine or niacin deficiency.
Meniere's disease (although it's more common in adults).
Migraine headaches.
Seizure disorders, such as epilepsy.
Dizziness can also indicate benign paroxysmal vertigo of childhood, a
fairly harmless and common childhood disorder characterized by recurrent
attacks of dizziness that last a few seconds to a few minutes. During an
attack, the patient may have nausea and vomiting and appear pale, with a
constant involuntary movement of the eye balls. This disorder usually
disappears after six months to a year, and rarely occurs after the age of six.
As you can see this is not a simple question with an easy answer. If you
have written because of an actual situation in your family, please get the
child to the doctor as soon as you can. Hopefully the answers in your case
will be simple and without serious consequences.