Rebecca J. Stahl, MA
Dizziness may cause you to feel light-headed or weak. You may feel like you are going to faint. Dizziness can happen for a short period or be a long-lasting condition that gets in the way of your daily activities. It is different from
vertigo, which is a feeling that the room is spinning or rotating while you are still.
Many conditions can cause dizziness such as:
Prescription medications can also cause dizziness. These may include:
Dizziness is a symptom that may be caused by another condition. There are no specific risk factors for dizziness.
Symptoms depend on the type of dizziness you have. Common symptoms include:
Call your doctor if you have:
Call for medical help or go to the emergency room right away if you have:
Look for and know the signs of stroke. These may include:
You will be asked about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done.
Tests may include:
Images may be taken of your bodily structures. This can be done with:
The electrical activity of your heart may be tested. This can be done with an
Other tests may include:
Treatment depends on the cause of the dizziness. If your dizziness is caused by a condition, the treatment may help reduce symptoms. Examples include:
To avoid injuries, make these lifestyle changes:
To help prevent dizziness:
Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians
Vestibular Disorders Association
BC Balance and Dizziness Disorders Society
Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV). EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at:
http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated January 14, 2013. Updated April 22, 2014. Accessed December 1, 2014.
Dizziness and motion sickness. American Academy of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery website. Available at:
http://www.entnet.org/content/dizziness-and-motion-sickness. Updated December 2010. Accessed December 1, 2014.
Dizziness—differential diagnosis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at:
http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated September 8, 2014. Accessed December 1, 2014.
Stroke warning signs and symptoms. American Stroke Association website. Available at:
http://www.strokeassociation.org/STROKEORG/WarningSigns/Stroke-Warning-Signs-and-Symptoms_UCM_308528_SubHomePage.jsp. Accessed December 1, 2014.
Last reviewed November 2015 by Rimas Lukas, MD
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Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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