- Orthostatic hypotension, a drop in blood pressure when standing
- Neurological conditions
- Conditions that affect how the heart pumps blood to the body
- Anxiety disorders
- Alcohol or illicit drug use
- Infection or fever
- Head injury
- Hypoglycemia, low blood sugar
- Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors
- Calcium channel blockers
- Tricyclic antidepressants
- Monoamine oxidase inhibitors
|Blood Flow to the Brain|
|In some cases, dizziness may be due to decreased blood flow to the brain.|
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- Nausea or vomiting
- Vision or hearing problems
- Heart palpitations
When Should I Call My Doctor?
- Dizziness that increases or gets worse
- Signs of an infection such as fever or chills
- Concern that your medication may be causing dizziness
- Hearing loss
- A headache that occurs with dizziness
- Other symptoms in addition to dizziness
When Should I Call for Medical Help Immediately?
- A head injury
- Rapid, irregular heartbeat, or chest pain
- High fever
- Face drooping—one side of the face is numb or drooping
- Arm weakness—one arm is numb, weak, or drifts downward when trying to raise it up
- Speech difficulty—includes slurring, inability to speak, or inability to repeat a simple sentence
- Leg numbness or weakness
- Confusion or difficulty understanding
- Difficulty walking
- Loss of balance
- Sudden, severe headache with no known cause
- Blood tests
- Blood pressure measurements
- Tilt table test
- Hearing and vision tests
|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|
Home Care and Lifestyle Changes
- If you are feeling dizzy, sit down right away. Also, avoid activities that could cause harm such as driving, using machinery, or climbing a ladder.
- Remove items in your home that could cause you to lose your balance such as throw rugs and loose electrical cords.
- Place slip-resistant mats in your shower and on your bathroom floor.
- Place night lights in hallways and in the bathroom.
- Use a cane if you feel that you need extra support.
- Avoid sudden movements.
- Avoid bending down or extending your neck.
- Avoid smoking, drinking excess amounts of alcohol, and using illicit drugs.
- Maintain proper treatment for long-term conditions.
- Get treatment when you have an infection.
- Talk to your doctor right away if you have side effects from your medications.
FamilyDoctor.org - American Academy of Family Physicians http://www.familydoctor.org
Vestibular Disorders Association http://www.vestibular.org
Balance and Dizziness Disorders Society http://www.balanceanddizziness.org
Health Canada http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca
Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV). EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://dynamed.ebscohost.com/about/about-us. Updated January 14, 2013. Updated November 21, 2013. Accessed February 13, 2014.
Dizziness and motion sickness. American Academy of Otolaryngology website. Available at: http://www.entnet.org/HealthInformation/dizzinessMotionSickness.cfm. Updated December 2010. Accessed February 13, 2014.
Dizziness-differential diagnosis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated December 16, 2011. Accessed February 13, 2014.
Stroke warning signs and symptoms. American Stroke Association website. Available at: http://www.strokeassociation.org/STROKEORG/WarningSigns/Stroke-Warning-Signs-and-Symptoms%5FUCM%5F308528%5FSubHomePage.jsp. Accessed February 13, 2014.
- Reviewer: Rimas Lukas, MD
- Review Date: 02/2014
- Update Date: 02/13/2014