Dizziness can range from fleeting faintness to a severe balance disorder that makes normal functioning impossible. Among adults over age 65, up to 30 percent experience dizziness.
Dizziness may feel like:
Dizziness is often temporary and goes away without treatment. As you talk with your doctor about your condition, try to describe your specific symptoms, how the dizziness makes you feel as it is coming on and after it has passed, what triggers it, and how long it lasts. This will help your doctor diagnose the cause and treat it.
The causes of dizziness are as varied as its symptoms. It can result from something as simple as motion sickness — the queasy feeling that you get on hairpin roads and roller coasters. Or it can be caused by an inner ear disturbance, infection, reduced blood flow due to blocked arteries or heart disease, medication side effects, anxiety, or another condition. Sometimes a cause can't be identified.
Dizziness, particularly vertigo, occurring by itself, without any other symptoms, is generally unlikely to be a sign of a stroke.
Some causes of dizziness include:
Many cases of dizziness are caused by problems that affect the balance mechanism in your inner ear. Examples include:
Dizziness can be caused if your brain doesn't receive enough blood. This can occur for a variety of reasons, including:
Some types of drugs cause dizziness, including some varieties of:
Generally, see your doctor if you experience any recurrent, sudden, severe, or prolonged and unexplained dizziness or vertigo.
Get emergency medical care if you experience new, severe dizziness or vertigo along with any of the following:
In the meantime, these self-care tips may help: