Blogging with Parkinson's

A personal perspective on Young Onset Parkinson's

“Like a whirlpool…”: Dizziness

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spinIt’s happened twice now.

Both times were under similar circumstances. It was indoors, rather warm, and there was a lot of standing around. I started feeling a bit strange: hot, sweaty and light-headed. Moving around was okay, but what I really wanted to do was sit down. There wasn’t – on the first occasion – anywhere to sit down, although the painted concrete floor was starting to look decidedly inviting. I felt as if I might fall over. I tried to ignore it. It didn’t go away.


I somehow retained enough presence of mind to ask if I might be excused.

Everybody was very nice. Apparently, I had already turned dead pale and wasn’t looking very well. A first aider was called and I got to sit down in the canteen. They called my husband and sent me home.

The second time it happened, I sat down on a handy bench. But I still caused enough concern for a colleague to insist on walking me back to my office (I felt a lot better outside, walking through the damp, windy day).

Once was easy to ignore; I was under the weather, I was tired, maybe I had a virus or something. Twice is almost a pattern.

These days when anything strange happens, I tend to place it at the Parkinson’s door; and it seems that that may well be the right place for this dizziness (although I haven’t managed to consult a health professional yet). Anecdotal evidence on the Web indicates that Parkinson’s is no stranger to dizziness, and that it is likely to be the disease itself that causes it.

The NHS (Britain’s National Health Service) says, under the heading “Automatic dysfunction”:

Your automatic nervous system is the part of your brain and nervous system that regulates functions of your body that you do not have to think about, such as breathing, swallowing, digesting food and passing urine.The changes in brain chemistry that occur in Parkinson’s disease can disrupt many of these functions and cause the following:

  • a sudden drop in blood pressure when moving from a sitting or lying position to a standing one (orthostatic hypotension) – this can cause dizziness, blurred vision and in some cases fainting

Well… it wasn’t a matter of standing up too quickly. It was more of a standing still for too long thing.Further trawling of the Internet dredged up a Portuguese paper that itemised “neurotological complaints” in a varied cohort of Parkinson’s patients:

RESULTS: a) As to the neurotological complaints reported in the anamnesis, there was a prevalence of: tremor (100.0%), dizziness (43.3%), tinnitus (40.0%), gait unbalance and falls (36.6%) in each…

BASSETTO, Jackeline Martins; ZEIGELBOIM, Bianca Simone; JURKIEWICZ, Ari Leon  and  KLAGENBERG, Karlin Fabianne. Neurotological findings in patients with Parkinson’s disease. Rev. Bras. Otorrinolaringol. [online]. 2008, vol.74, n.3, pp. 350-355. ISSN 0034-7299.

That’s over 40% who reported dizziness.
Neurotology, by the way is”a branch of clinical medicine which studies and treats neurological disorders of the ear”.  (definition from Wikipedia).

And to play you out, here are Vic Reeves and the Wonderstuff. I know it should be Tommy Roe, but it was this lot who soundtracked my student years, so it’s this lot yer gettin’. Baby.


One thought on ““Like a whirlpool…”: Dizziness

  1. I should note that, not only was my dizziness not typical of that described for Parkinson’s, but that a curious bug that has been causing dizzy spells has been noted at my workplace. So my own personal dizziness is, actually, more likely to be down to that.

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