by Cynthia M. Johnson, MA
Dizziness is a feeling of lightheadedness or weakness. A person may also feel like they are going to faint. It can happen for a short time or happen often and get in the way of daily activities.
It is not the same as vertigo, which is a feeling that the room is spinning.
Causes may be:
It may also be caused by certain medicines, such as:
The risk of this problem is higher in people who have any of the health problems that cause or and those who take certain medicines.
Problems may be:
When Should I Call My Doctor?
Call your doctor if you have:
When Should I Call for Medical Help Right Away?
Call for medical help or go to the emergency room right away if you have:
Call for emergency medical services right away if you or a loved one has signs of a stroke:
The doctor will ask about your symptoms and health history. A physical exam will be done.
Blood tests may be done to look for a cause.
Images may be taken. This can be done with:
Other tests may be:
Treatment will focus on the cause. This may ease dizziness.
It may take time for treatment to work. It may not ease all dizziness. A person can avoid injury by sitting down as soon as dizziness is felt.
Prevention will depend on the cause. Managing chronic health problems may lower the risk.
Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians
BC Balance and Dizziness Disorders Society
Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV). ENThealth—American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery website. Available at: https://www.enthealth.org/conditions/benign-paroxysmal-positional-vertigo-bppv. Accessed January 26, 2021.
Dizziness in adults—approach to the patient. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/approach-to/dizziness-in-adults-approach-to-the-patient. Accessed January 26, 2021.
Muncie HL, Sirmans SM, et al. Dizziness: Approach to Evaluation and Management. Am Fam Physician. 2017 Feb 1;95(3):154-162.
Stroke symptoms. American Stroke Association website. Available at:
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Accessed January 26, 2021.
Last reviewed December 2020 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Rimas Lukas, MD
Last Updated: 1/26/2021
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