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What Causes Vertigo and Dizziness?

August 2, 2022

Dizziness can be caused by a lot of things. Because your eyes, brain, ears, and nerves in your feet and spine work together to keep you balanced, you can feel dizzy if one of those things is not working right.

If you stand up one day and suddenly notice that you’re dizzy, you should call your doctor.

A doctor will look at your specific symptoms to diagnose the issue that is affecting you, but there are some common causes of dizziness:

  • Vertigo
    If you feel like the room is spinning around you, you may have a unique kind of dizziness called vertigo. It often gets worse when you move your head. Vertigo usually results from a problem with the inner ear or part of the brain that controls balance. It can occur after a head injury or as you age. Problems with your inner ear can result in the wrong signals getting sent to your brain.
    Some forms of vertigo can be treated with exercise. Others are caused by antibiotics.
  • Infection
    If the nerves in your ears get inflamed, they can cause vertigo. The condition is caused by an infection, usually resulting from a virus. However, a middle ear infection or meningitis can also cause the problem. Symptoms of infection-caused dizziness include a sudden onset of dizziness and ringing ears. You may get nauseous, develop a fever, and experience ear pain.
  • Meniere’s disease
    This condition can cause intense vertigo that can last hours. Symptoms include pressure in the ear, ringing in your ears, hearing loss, and nausea. People with Meniere’s disease have too much fluid in the inner ear. Though no cure exists, it is typically treated with dietary changes and medicine to control the dizziness.
  • Circulation problems
    Dizziness can result from a blood flow problem. If you cannot pump sufficient oxygen-rich blood to the brain, you can feel lightheaded and even faint. Low blood flow may be caused by blood clots, heart failure, arterial obstructions, and irregular heartbeats. The problem can worsen with age.
  • Medication issues
    Several drugs can cause dizziness. Check with your doctor if you take:

    • Antibiotics like gentamicin and streptomycin.
    • Anti-depressants.
    • Anti-seizure medications.
    • Blood pressure medicine.
  • Dehydration
    If you are severely dehydrated, your blood pressure can drop, your brain may not get enough oxygen, and you can feel dizzy. Other symptoms of dehydration include thirstiness, tiredness, and dark urine. To help with dehydration, drink plenty of water or fruit juice, and limit coffee, tea, and soda.
  • Low Blood Sugar
    Diabetics need to check their blood sugar levels frequently. You can get dizzy if the levels drop too low. That can also result in hunger, shakiness, sweating, and confusion. A quick fix is to eat or drink something with sugar, like juice or candy.
  • Other causes
    Dizziness can result from other illnesses, including:

    • Stress or anxiety.
    • Nervous-system problems like multiple sclerosis.
    • Tumors in the brain or inner ear.

Get the Care You Need 

Many cases of dizziness may go away, but you should consult a doctor, especially if you lose consciousness or fall. If you don’t have a doctor, Grady can help. If you need a primary care physician, call us at (404) 616-1000. We’ll arrange an appointment at a Primary Care Center near you. Doctors there can treat most conditions and provide access to Grady’s unparalleled medical specialty expertise.

Causes of Dizziness