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Symptoms and Signs of Dizziness

Doctor's Notes on Dizziness

Dizziness is a very nonspecific symptom with a number of causes. Medically, dizziness can refer to vertigo, lightheadedness, feeling faint, or unsteadiness. Some of the multiple conditions that may cause lightheadedness include hypotension (low blood pressure), hypertension (high blood pressure), dehydration, endocrine disorders, heart conditions, and orthostatic hypotension.  

Dizziness can be a temporary symptom that goes away on its own. It may be accompanied by a sense of spinning or that one’s surroundings are spinning (known as vertigo). Vertigo is often a result of disturbances in the inner ear or the balance-regulating areas of the brain. Lightheadedness can result from altered blood flow to the brain due to any cause. Depending on the cause, dizziness may have other associated symptoms like chest pain, sweating, weakness, nausea, vomiting, shortness of breath, or fever.

Medical Author:
Medically Reviewed on 3/11/2019

Dizziness Symptoms

With dizziness, the person may feel faint, near passing out, weak, nauseated, confused, tired, clumsy, off balance, or any combination of these. The individual may perceive a sensation of movement, spinning, rocking, or whirling, of themselves or the room (possible vertigo).

Often, dizziness is accompanied by other symptoms such as:

  • Faintness ("lightheadedness") or actual fainting
  • Weakness or tiredness
  • Confusion
  • Feeling off balance
  • Headache or head pressure
  • Chest pain or tightness
  • Nausea or vomiting

Dizziness Causes

Almost all medications list dizziness as a possible side effect, but it is more common with some types of medicines

  • Blood pressure medications, diuretics, sedatives, tranquilizers, antidepressants, pain relievers, and some antibiotics

Almost all medications list dizziness as a possible side effect, but it is more common with some types of medicines

  • Blood pressure medications, diuretics, sedatives, tranquilizers, antidepressants, pain relievers, and some antibiotics

Dizziness may be attributed to a wide variety of causes. Sometimes doctors find no specific diagnosis for the affected individual, but some causes of dizziness are dangerous. Some causes of dizziness are listed.

Dizziness may be attributed to a wide variety of causes. Sometimes doctors find no specific diagnosis for the affected individual, but some causes of dizziness are dangerous. Some causes of dizziness are listed.

  • Depression, anxiety, or panic disorder
  • Hyperventilation is from breathing too fast or too deeply, usually from anxiety or metabolic disorders
  • Somatization is the conversion of a mental illness, such as anxiety or depression, into physical symptoms. Often, the patient may be unaware of the underlying mental illness and insist they have only physical complaints.
  • Anxiety also causes stress, and vice-versa, which can cause dizziness.
  • Depression, anxiety, or panic disorder
  • Hyperventilation is from breathing too fast or too deeply, usually from anxiety or metabolic disorders
  • Somatization is the conversion of a mental illness, such as anxiety or depression, into physical symptoms. Often, the patient may be unaware of the underlying mental illness and insist they have only physical complaints.
  • Anxiety also causes stress, and vice-versa, which can cause dizziness.

Balance Disorders Vertigo, Motion Sickness, Labyrinthitis, and More Slideshow

Balance Disorders Vertigo, Motion Sickness, Labyrinthitis, and More Slideshow

A balance disorder is a condition that makes you feel unsteady or dizzy, as if you are moving, spinning, or floating, even though you are standing still or lying down. Balance disorders can be caused by certain health conditions, medications, or a problem in the inner ear or the brain.

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REFERENCE:

Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.

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