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Dizziness


Dizziness

Dizziness often describes two different sensations. It is important to know exactly what you mean when you say, "I feel dizzy," because it can help you and your health professional narrow down the list of possible problems.

  • Vertigo is the feeling that you or your surroundings are moving when there is no actual movement. The motion is commonly described as a spinning or whirling sensation, but it can also include sensations of falling or tilting. Vertigo can cause nausea, vomiting, inability to walk or stand, or falls with the possibility of injury.
  • Lightheadedness is a feeling that you are about to pass out. You may feel unsteady and find it hard to remain standing, but there is no spinning or whirling sensation. Many people feel lightheaded when they become ill. Lightheadedness usually goes away or improves after you lie down.

Both vertigo and lightheadedness can be related to ear problems, especially if these sensations occur with a viral infection or allergy symptoms. Vertigo is common with inner ear disorders, such as labyrinthitis, Ménière's disease, an injury to the ear or head, or a noncancerous growth in the space behind the eardrum (cholesteatoma).

Credits

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerWilliam H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerH. Michael O'Connor, MD - Emergency Medicine
Last RevisedJanuary 9, 2012

eMedicineHealth Medical Reference from Healthwise

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