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Health Tip: Dizziness Explained

Mixed signals from motion-sensing systems

(HealthDayNews) -- The disorienting phenomenon we call dizziness results when the brain receives mixed signals from systems that help maintain our balance and equilibrium, according to the American Academy of Otolaryngology -- Head and Neck Surgery.

Our sense of balance is maintained by the complex interaction of four systems: the inner ears; the eyes; skin pressure receptors such as in the joints and spine; and muscle and joint sensory receptors. These systems combine to enable what doctors call our spatial orientation.

Symptoms of dizziness, motion sickness, and vertigo emerge when the central nervous system receives conflicting messages from the other four systems.

Imagine your plane is flying through a bumpy storm. Your eyes may not detect this outside motion because all you see is the inside of the airplane. At the same time, other systems tell your brain that your physical space is being tossed about. The combination of these interactions may make you airsick.

Inner-ear damage -- especially when limited to one side -- can also lead to dizziness, since the damaged ear isn't sending the same signals to the brain as the healthy ear.

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