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Dizziness overview

Dizziness is a common description for many different feelings. The feeling of dizziness, or a "dizzy spell," may be familiar to an individual, yet difficult to describe. The person may have a feeling of lightheadedness, spinning, whirling, or motion, either of themselves or of the surroundings. The person may also feel as if they are going to faint. Dizziness may be just mildly annoying or caused by something possibly life-threatening. Some of the reasons a person might feel the sensation of dizziness include:

Fainting or near fainting, which may result from:

  • Emotional upset
  • Standing up too quickly (orthostatic hypotension) or standing still too long
  • Having the flu, a cold, or other illness
  • Seasickness or motion sickness
  • Fatigue or tiredness

Vertigo, which is similar to, but not the same condition as dizziness, is a medical term to describe a spinning sensation of a person's surroundings, usually caused by head movement or positioning. This is the same feeling an individual might have after getting off a merry-go-round or spinning in place. Several diseases of the balance organs of the inner ear can cause vertigo, or it may be a symptom of a tumor or stroke.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 2/13/2014

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