Attacks of Dizziness
ATTACKS OF DIZZINESS
Q. Since I passed my 70th birthday, I have had attacks of dizziness, especially when I look upward. Am I in danger of having a stroke?
A. Attacks of dizziness, as one gets older, can be due to a number of reasons, including high or low blood pressure, low blood sugar, and disease of the inner ear, but in your case, it is probably due to a combination of hardening of the arteries and osteoarthritis of the bones of the neck.
Both of these conditions, hardening of the arteries and osteoarthritis, are obviously associated with getting older. The trouble is that osteoarthritis cause small spurs of bone to grow from the bones of the spine which can press on the two arteries, running up through the vertebrae of the neck.
When your neck is straight, there is no interference with the arteries, which go to supply the lower part of the brain; but when you tilt your head back to look upward, the neck extends and the bony spurs press on the arteries, which lack their earlier slasticity, so that the blood cannot run freely up to the brain and you become dizzy.
Now, with regards to having a stroke, this does not mean that you are likely to have one; so, you can avoid the unpleasant attacks of dizziness by being careful about tilting your head backward.