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You are here : 3-RX.com > Medical Encyclopedia > Medical Symptoms > Dizziness
      Category : Health Centers > Brain and Nervous System


Alternate Names : Dizzy, Lightheadedness

Overview, Causes, & Risk Factors | Symptoms & Signs | Diagnosis & Tests | Prevention & Expectations | Treatment & Monitoring

Dizziness is a term that is used to describe a wide range of symptoms. These include lightheadedness, faintness, confusion, spinning, and feeling giddy or unsteady.

What is going on in the body?

Dizziness is not a very precise term. When someone complains of dizziness, the healthcare provider will need to know what a person means. Many people use the term dizzy to describe a feeling that occurs right before passing out. Others use it to describe feeling as though they or the room is spinning. Causes range from mild to serious.

What are the causes and risks of the symptom?

Common conditions that may cause dizziness include the following:

  • aging, which may cause a mild sensation of dizziness during activity
  • anemia, or a low red blood cell count
  • being overheated, which commonly makes people feel "woozy" or may even cause them to pass out
  • congestive heart failure, a condition in which a weakened heart is unable to pump enough blood to the brain
  • drug use or withdrawal, such as alcohol withdrawal or marijuana use
  • fear, anxiety, or emotional distress
  • inner ear problems, such as labyrinthitis or Meniere's disease, which can cause vertigo, a type of dizziness in which a person feels that the room is spinning
  • low blood pressure
  • low blood sugar, or hypoglycemia
  • low oxygen or blood flow to the brain, which may happen during a stroke
  • medications used to treat high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, seizures, infections, and anxiety
  • nervous system disorders, such as seizures, Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis, or a brain tumor
  • psychological conditions, such as depression and anxiety
  • Other causes are possible as well. In some cases, no cause can be found.


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    Dizziness: Symptoms & Signs

    Author: Adam Brochert, MD
    Reviewer: Gail Hendrickson, RN, BS
    Date Reviewed: 03/01/01

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