Neuroscience Institute

Dizziness and Vertigo

Dizziness and Vertigo

Dizziness is a term that is often used to describe two different symptoms: light-headedness and vertigo. Light-headedness is a feeling like you might faint. Vertigo is a feeling that you are spinning or moving, or that the world is spinning around you.
Most causes of dizziness are not serious and either quickly get better on their own or are easily treated. Light-headedness occurs when your brain does not get enough blood. This may occur if:
  • You have a sudden drop in blood pressure
  • Your body does not have enough water (is dehydrated) because of vomiting, diarrhea, fever, and other conditions
  • You get up too quickly after sitting or lying down (this is more common in older people)
Light-headedness may also occur if you have the flu, low blood sugar, a cold or allergies.
Vertigo may be due to:
  • Benign positional vertigo, a spinning feeling that occurs when you move your head
  • Labyrinthitis, a viral infection of the inner ear that usually follows a cold or flu
  • Meniere's disease, a common inner ear problem
Other causes of lightheadedness or vertigo may include:
  • Use of certain medications
  • Stroke
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Seizures
  • Brain tumor
  • Bleeding in the brain


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