Dizziness: Light-Headedness and Vertigo (2022)

Is dizziness your main problem?

Yes

Dizziness

No

Dizziness

How old are you?

3 years or younger

3 years or younger

4 to 11 years

4 to 11 years

12 years or older

12 years or older

Are you male or female?

Male

Male

Female

Female

The medical assessment of symptoms is based on the body parts you have.

  • If you are transgender or non-binary, choose the sex that matches the body parts (such as ovaries, testes, prostate, breasts, penis, or vagina) you now have in the area where you are having symptoms.
  • If your symptoms aren’t related to those organs, you can choose the gender you identify with.
  • If you have some organs of both sexes, you may need to go through this triage tool twice (once as "male" and once as "female"). This will make sure that the tool asks the right questions for you.

Have you had a head injury?

Yes

Head injury

No

Head injury

Could you be having symptoms of a heart attack?

If you're having a heart attack, there are several areas where you may feel pain or other symptoms.

Yes

Symptoms of heart attack

No

Symptoms of heart attack

Do you have symptoms of shock?

Yes

Symptoms of shock

(Video) Difference Between Lightheadedness & Vertigo

No

Symptoms of shock

Did you pass out completely (lose consciousness)?

Yes

Lost consciousness

No

Lost consciousness

If you are answering for someone else: Is the person unconscious now?

(If you are answering this question for yourself, say no.)

Yes

Unconscious now

No

Unconscious now

Are you back to your normal level of alertness?

After passing out, it's normal to feel a little confused, weak, or light-headed when you first wake up or come to. But unless something else is wrong, these symptoms should pass pretty quickly and you should soon feel about as awake and alert as you normally do.

Yes

Has returned to normal after loss of consciousness

No

Has returned to normal after loss of consciousness

Did the loss of consciousness occur during the past 24 hours?

Yes

Loss of consciousness in past 24 hours

No

Loss of consciousness in past 24 hours

Have you had any new neurological symptoms other than dizziness?

Yes

Other neurological symptoms

No

Other neurological symptoms

Do you have these symptoms right now?

Yes

Neurological symptoms now present

No

Neurological symptoms now present

Is the dizziness severe?

Severe means that you are so dizzy that you need help to stand or walk.

Yes

Severe dizziness

No

Severe dizziness

(Video) 12 Causes of Dizziness

Have you noticed any irregular heartbeats or changes in your heart rate?

Yes

Arrhythmia or change in heart rate

No

Arrhythmia or change in heart rate

Do you have symptoms of a serious illness?

Yes

Symptoms of serious illness

No

Symptoms of serious illness

Do you have vertigo?

Yes

Vertigo

No

Vertigo

Have you had sudden, severe hearing loss?

Yes

Sudden, severe hearing loss

No

Sudden, severe hearing loss

Is vertigo a new problem?

Yes

New vertigo

No

New vertigo

Are your symptoms getting worse?

Yes

Dizziness is getting worse

No

Dizziness is getting worse

Did the symptoms start after a recent injury?

Yes

Symptoms began after recent injury

No

Symptoms began after recent injury

(Video) Balance and Dizziness Problems Addressed at Penn Medicine

Have you recently had moments when you felt like you were going to faint?

Yes

Episodes of feeling faint

No

Episodes of feeling faint

Have you felt faint or light-headed for more than 24 hours?

Yes

Has felt faint or light-headed for more than 24 hours

No

Has felt faint or light-headed for more than 24 hours

Are you nauseated or vomiting?

Nauseated means you feel sick to your stomach, like you are going to vomit.

Yes

Nausea or vomiting

No

Nausea or vomiting

Are you nauseated a lot of the time or vomiting repeatedly?

Yes

Persistent nausea or vomiting

No

Persistent nausea or vomiting

Do you think that a medicine could be causing the dizziness?

Think about whether the dizziness started after you began using a new medicine or a higher dose of a medicine.

Yes

Medicine may be causing dizziness

No

Medicine may be causing dizziness

Have you been feeling dizzy for more than 5 days?

Yes

Dizziness for more than 5 days

No

Dizziness for more than 5 days

(Video) All About Lightheadedness and Dizziness: What Causes a Lightheaded Feeling?

Is the problem disrupting your daily activities?

Yes

Dizziness interfering with daily activities

No

Dizziness interfering with daily activities

Many things can affect how your body responds to a symptom and what kind of care you may need. These include:

  • Your age. Babies and older adults tend to get sicker quicker.
  • Your overall health. If you have a condition such as diabetes, HIV, cancer, or heart disease, you may need to pay closer attention to certain symptoms and seek care sooner.
  • Medicines you take. Certain medicines, such as blood thinners (anticoagulants), medicines that suppress the immune system like steroids or chemotherapy, or natural health products can cause symptoms or make them worse.
  • Recent health events, such as surgery or injury. These kinds of events can cause symptoms afterwards or make them more serious.
  • Your health habits and lifestyle, such as eating and exercise habits, smoking, alcohol or drug use, sexual history, and travel.

Try Home Treatment

You have answered all the questions. Based on your answers, you may be able to take care of this problem at home.

  • Try home treatment to relieve the symptoms.
  • Call your doctor if symptoms get worse or you have any concerns (for example, if symptoms are not getting better as you would expect). You may need care sooner.

HomeTreatment

RelatedInformation

Vertigo is the feeling that you or your surroundings are moving when there is no actual movement. It may feel like spinning, whirling, or tilting. Vertigo may make you sick to your stomach, and you may have trouble standing, walking, or keeping your balance.

Symptoms of a heart attack may include:

  • Chest pain or pressure, or a strange feeling in the chest.
  • Sweating.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Nausea or vomiting.
  • Pain, pressure, or a strange feeling in the back, neck, jaw, or upper belly, or in one or both shoulders or arms.
  • Light-headedness or sudden weakness.
  • A fast or irregular heartbeat.

For men and women, the most common symptom is chest pain or pressure. But women are somewhat more likely than men to have other symptoms, like shortness of breath, nausea, and back or jaw pain.

Symptoms of serious illness may include:

  • A severe headache.
  • A stiff neck.
  • Mental changes, such as feeling confused or much less alert.
  • Extreme fatigue (to the point where it's hard for you to function).
  • Shaking chills.

Heartbeat changes can include:

  • A faster or slower heartbeat than is normal for you. This would include a pulse rate of more than 120 beats per minute (when you are not exercising) or less than 50 beats per minute (unless that is normal for you).
  • A heart rate that does not have a steady pattern.
  • Skipped beats.
  • Extra beats.

Neurological symptoms—which may be signs of a problem with the nervous system—can affect many body functions. Symptoms may include:

  • Numbness, weakness, or lack of movement in your face, arm, or leg, especially on only one side of your body.
  • Trouble seeing in one or both eyes.
  • Trouble speaking.
  • Confusion or trouble understanding simple statements.
  • Problems with balance or coordination (for example, falling down or dropping things).
  • Seizures.

Many prescription and non-prescription medicines can make you feel light-headed or affect your balance. A few examples are:

  • Antibiotics.
  • Blood pressure medicines.
  • Medicines used to treat depression or anxiety.
  • Pain medicines.
  • Medicines used to treat cancer (chemotherapy).

Shock is a life-threatening condition that may quickly occur after a sudden illness or injury.

Adults and older children often have several symptoms of shock. These include:

  • Passing out (losing consciousness).
  • Feeling very dizzy or light-headed, like you may pass out.
  • Feeling very weak or having trouble standing.
  • Not feeling alert or able to think clearly. You may be confused, restless, fearful, or unable to respond to questions.

Seek Care Now

Based on your answers, you may need care right away. The problem is likely to get worse without medical care.

  • Call your doctor now to discuss the symptoms and arrange for care.
  • If you cannot reach your doctor or you don't have one, seek care in the next hour.
  • You do not need to call an ambulance unless:
    • You cannot travel safely either by driving yourself or by having someone else drive you.
    • You are in an area where heavy traffic or other problems may slow you down.

Seek Care Today

Based on your answers, you may need care soon. The problem probably will not get better without medical care.

  • Call your doctor today to discuss the symptoms and arrange for care.
  • If you cannot reach your doctor or you don't have one, seek care today.
  • If it is evening, watch the symptoms and seek care in the morning.
  • If the symptoms get worse, seek care sooner.

HomeTreatment

RelatedInformation

Call 911 Now

Based on your answers, you need emergency care.

Call 911 or other emergency services now.

After you call 911, the operator may tell you to chew 1 adult-strength (325 mg) or 2 to 4 low-dose (81 mg) aspirin. Wait for an ambulance. Do not try to drive yourself.

Sometimes people don't want to call 911. They may think that their symptoms aren't serious or that they can just get someone else to drive them. But based on your answers, the safest and quickest way for you to get the care you need is to call 911 for medical transport to the hospital.

Make an Appointment

Based on your answers, the problem may not improve without medical care.

  • Make an appointment to see your doctor in the next 1 to 2 weeks.
  • If appropriate, try home treatment while you are waiting for the appointment.
  • If symptoms get worse or you have any concerns, call your doctor. You may need care sooner.

HomeTreatment

RelatedInformation

Call 911 Now

Based on your answers, you need emergency care.

Call 911 or other emergency services now.

Sometimes people don't want to call 911. They may think that their symptoms aren't serious or that they can just get someone else to drive them. But based on your answers, the safest and quickest way for you to get the care you need is to call 911 for medical transport to the hospital.

(Video) How Could Dizziness, Imbalance, or Light headedness Be Caused by Your Neck Pain

Head Injury, Age 4 and Older

Head Injury, Age 3 and Younger

FAQs

When should I worry about dizziness and lightheadedness? ›

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: Sudden, severe headache. Chest pain.

What is the difference between lightheadedness dizziness and vertigo? ›

While these words are often used interchangeably, they describe different sensations. Dizziness is the feeling of being lightheaded, foggy or unsteady. Vertigo, which is less common than dizziness, is an overall spinning sensation.

How do I know if it's vertigo or something else? ›

Signs and Symptoms of Vertigo
  1. Dizziness.
  2. Feeling like you're moving or spinning.
  3. Problems focusing the eyes.
  4. Hearing loss in one ear.
  5. Balance problems.
  6. Ringing in the ears.
  7. Sweating.
  8. Nausea or vomiting.

What are the red flags for dizziness? ›

“Red flag” symptoms should alert you to a non-vestibular cause: persistent, worsening vertigo or dysequilibrium; atypical “non-peripheral” vertigo, such as vertical movement; severe headache, especially early in the morning; diplopia; cranial nerve palsies; dysarthria, ataxia, or other cerebellar signs; and ...

How do I know if my dizziness is heart related? ›

In most cases, dizziness associated with heart problems is accompanied by other symptoms. These may include shortness of breath, swollen extremities, frequent fatigue or chest pain. In the event heart disease is suspected, you will undergo one or more tests to get to the root of your problem.

How do I know if my vertigo is neurological? ›

If you have been experiencing vertigo for more than a day or two, it's so severe that you can't stand or walk, or you are vomiting frequently and can't keep food down, you should make an appointment with a neurologist.

What is the most common cause of lightheadedness? ›

The main causes of lightheadedness are: dehydration — this can happen if you haven't had enough to drink, if it's very hot, or if you are sick. side effects of some medicines. a sudden drop in blood pressure when you stand up quickly.

Can High BP cause vertigo? ›

Vertigo probably isn't a blood pressure issue

“Vertigo symptoms are very unlikely to be caused by any type of blood pressure issues,” Dr. Laffin says. “For most people, it's an inner ear issue.” If you're experiencing frequent vertigo, it's important to talk to your doctor to try to identify and treat the cause.

Why do I feel lightheaded everyday? ›

Causes of lightheadedness may be dehydration, medication side effects, sudden blood pressure drops, low blood sugar, and heart disease or stroke. Feeling woozy, lightheaded, or a little faint is a common complaint among older adults.

Can dehydration cause vertigo? ›

Can dehydration lead to vertigo? If you're dehydrated, you may start to feel dizzy. This feeling can cause you to also experience lightheadedness, wooziness, fairness and unsteadiness. You may also experience a very specific form of dizziness called vertigo.

What are signs of low blood pressure? ›

Low blood pressure (hypotension)
  • lightheadedness or dizziness.
  • feeling sick.
  • blurred vision.
  • generally feeling weak.
  • confusion.
  • fainting.

Can a brain tumor cause vertigo? ›

This is especially true if an individual experiences frequent vomiting and becomes dehydrated. Less commonly, tumors that develop in the cerebellum—the part of the brain that controls movement—may cause vertigo, a condition characterized by balance problems and room-spinning sensations.

What illnesses can mimic vertigo? ›

If the dizziness or vertigo comes in episodes that last for minutes to hours, it could be due to vestibular migraine (usually without hearing symptoms) or Menière's disease (usually with hearing symptoms), but it also can be the result of a pre-stroke (transient ischemic attack, or TIA).

How can I test myself to see if I have vertigo? ›

How To Perform a BPPV Test Yourself:
  1. Get in what we call the long sitting position with two or three pillows behind you. ...
  2. Quickly lower yourself down over those pillows. ...
  3. Stay there for thirty seconds. ...
  4. After thirty seconds, wait about one minute, then test the other ear to make sure it's not in the other ear.

Is vertigo a symptom of stroke? ›

Overall, dizziness and vertigo are the symptoms most tightly linked to missed stroke.

What is a dizzy stroke? ›

Symptoms of brain stem stroke include: Vertigo, dizziness and loss of balance. Nausea and/or vomiting. Double vision. Slurred speech.

What are the three types of dizziness? ›

Dizziness can be classified into four main types: vertigo, disequilibrium, presyncope, or lightheadedness. Although appropriate history and physical examination usually leads to a diagnosis, the final cause of dizziness is not identified in up to one in five patients.

Can a clogged artery cause dizziness? ›

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.

What cardiac conditions cause dizziness? ›

What heart conditions can cause lightheadedness/dizziness?
  • Aortic dissection.
  • Arrhythmia.
  • Atrial fibrillation.
  • Cardiac arrest.
  • Cardiogenic shock.
  • Cardiomyopathy.
  • Heart attack.
  • Heart murmur.

What kind of heart disease causes lightheadedness? ›

We defined “cardiovascular” to include disorders that might cause dizziness through a global hypotensive mechanism; this included both primary cardiac diseases (e.g., myocardial infarction, arrhythmia) and disorders of the vascular tree (e.g., orthostatic hypotension, neurocardiogenic syncope).

Do you need a brain scan for vertigo? ›

In some people with vertigo—in particular those who also have hearing loss—doctors may recommend an MRI scan to obtain a closer look at the inner ear and surrounding structures.

Can an MRI tell if you have vertigo? ›

MRI is preferred over CT due to its superiority in visualizing the posterior fossa, which is often the location for a central etiology of vertigo. MRI will rule out acute and chronic ischemic disease, cerebellopontine lesions such as vestibular schwannomas and meningiomas, as well as multiple sclerosis.

What can a doctor do for vertigo? ›

You should seek medical advice if vertigo symptoms persist for a couple of hours or keep reoccurring for more than a couple of days. A doctor may prescribe medication, such as prochlorperazine and antihistamines, or recommend vestibular rehabilitation training (VRT).

Can lack of vit D cause dizziness? ›

Vitamin D deficiencies can also result in bone diseases such as rickets in children and osteomalacia and osteoporosis in adults. But you may not be aware that if you're not getting enough vitamin D, you may also suffer from dizziness, headaches, and yes, low energy and fatigue.

What can cause sudden vertigo? ›

The most common causes include:
  • benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV)
  • head injury.
  • labyrinthitis.
  • vestibular neuronitis.
  • Ménière's disease.
  • taking certain types of medication.

Does anxiety cause vertigo? ›

About 5 percent of American adults experience vertigo, and many people notice it when they're feeling stressed or anxious. Even though stress doesn't directly cause vertigo, it can contribute to dysfunction of the part of your inner ear that controls balance, called your vestibular system.

What are the 5 symptoms of high blood pressure? ›

Symptoms of High Blood Pressure
  • Blurry or double vision.
  • Lightheadedness/Fainting.
  • Fatigue.
  • Headache.
  • Heart palpitations.
  • Nosebleeds.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Nausea and/or vomiting.

Can drinking water do good for vertigo? ›

Dehydration may cause different conditions, including migraines, that contribute to having vertigo. Keeping yourself hydrated can do wonders for your vertigo symptoms. Make sure to drink at least eight glasses of water every day to combat dehydration and vertigo.

Is rest good for vertigo? ›

“In rare cases, people who experience debilitating vertigo might need surgery, but I find that lying down in the dark, avoiding lights, TVs, and other distractions, and just getting some rest can ease my symptoms,” she said.

Does drinking water help with lightheadedness? ›

Dizziness is sometimes caused by dehydration. Drinking water can help alleviate it in many cases. Dizziness can often get better without treatment.

How does a person behave when his blood pressure is low? ›

It's sometimes called the fainting reflex. People with this type of low blood pressure may feel lightheaded or dizzy or may faint. Other symptoms may include chronic fatigue, muscle aches, headaches and confusion.

What happens when blood sugar is too low? ›

This can lead to blurred vision, difficulty concentrating, confused thinking, slurred speech, numbness, and drowsiness. If blood glucose stays low for too long, starving the brain of glucose, it may lead to seizures, coma, and very rarely death.

What is immediate remedy for low BP? ›

Drink more water.

Fluids increase blood volume and help prevent dehydration, both of which are important in treating hypotension.

What is usually the first symptom of a brain tumor? ›

Usually, the first sign of a brain tumor is a headache, generally in conjunction with other symptoms.

What kind of tumors cause vertigo? ›

Acoustic neuroma (vestibular schwannoma)

Acoustic neuroma, also known as vestibular schwannoma, is a noncancerous and usually slow-growing tumor that develops on the main (vestibular) nerve leading from your inner ear to your brain.

Can blood test detect dizziness? ›

Routine blood tests – Tests for blood sugar, blood counts, electrolytes and thyroid function help identify cases of dizziness. For example anemia and low blood sugar are known to cause dizziness.

Can a blood test detect vertigo? ›

He has discovered that two recently identified inner ear proteins can be found in small quantities in the blood. Their levels correlate with inner ear disorders. There is potential for these biomarkers to help with early detection and diagnosis of hearing loss or vertigo.

How long is too long for lightheadedness? ›

See a doctor if your lightheadedness doesn't go away after a week or if you are feeling nauseous and unwell. You should also seek help if your lightheadness causes you to injure yourself. Call an ambulance on triple zero (000) and ask for an ambulance if you are very lightheaded and you also: have lost a lot of blood.

How long is too long for dizziness? ›

How long will the dizziness last? Depending on the cause, mild vertigo usually lasts no longer than 1 to 2 weeks. More severe vertigo can last several weeks. With Ménière's disease, the vertigo may come and go, or it might become an ongoing problem.

How long should dizziness last before seeing a doctor? ›

If you have been experiencing vertigo for more than a day or two, it's so severe that you can't stand or walk, or you are vomiting frequently and can't keep food down, you should make an appointment with a neurologist.

Why do I feel lightheaded almost everyday? ›

Dizziness has many possible causes, including inner ear disturbance, motion sickness and medication effects. Sometimes it's caused by an underlying health condition, such as poor circulation, infection or injury. The way dizziness makes you feel and your triggers provide clues for possible causes.

Can High BP cause lightheadedness? ›

Most people who have high blood pressure do not have symptoms. In some cases, people with high blood pressure may have a pounding feeling in their head or chest, a feeling of lightheadedness or dizziness, or other signs.

Is being dizzy for 3 days normal? ›

In general, if dizziness lasts longer than a few days, or is severe enough to keep you from normal activities, you should talk with your doctor. Depending on the cause, there are medications and physical therapy options that may give you some relief.

What happens when vertigo doesn't go away? ›

If the symptoms are very severe and don't go away, surgery on the vestibular system (the organ of balance) may be considered. This involves destroying either the nerve fibers in the affected semicircular canal, or the semicircular canal itself. The sensory hair cells can then no longer pass information on to the brain.

Is vertigo a symptom of a stroke? ›

Overall, dizziness and vertigo are the symptoms most tightly linked to missed stroke.

Should you rest with vertigo? ›

If vertigo returns, remember that you can easily lose your balance, fall, and hurt yourself. To help keep symptoms from getting worse and to help keep you safe: Sit down right away when you feel dizzy. To get up from a lying position, slowly sit up and stay seated for a few moments before standing.

Can I drive with vertigo? ›

Vertigo could also affect your ability to drive. You should avoid driving if you've recently had episodes of vertigo and there's a chance you may have another episode while you're driving.

Videos

1. Constant dizziness / lightheadedness | My story with PPPD and treatment!
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2. Dizzy? Signs You Need to Call Your Doctor NOW! IMMEDIATELY!
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3. Dizziness and Vertigo, Part I - Research on Aging
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4. Dizziness: what are the main causes?
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5. The Difference Between Feeling Dizzy, Lightheaded, and Vertigo
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