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 electrocardiogram (EKG).
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:
|Orthostatic hypotension||Medication, lifestyle, and dietary changes|
|Motion sickness||Medication and lifestyle changes|
|Anxiety disorder or other mental health condition||Therapy and medication|
|Infection||Antibiotic or antiviral medication|
|Dizziness due to medication that you are taking||Changes to your medication|
|Imbalance||Physical therapy to build strength and balance|
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
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 Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T360974/Dizziness-differential-diagnosis. 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
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.