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Dizziness is a common condition that can be caused by many factors such as poor circulation, inner ear disease, medication usage, injury, infection, allergies, or neurological disease. Dizziness is highly treatable, but it is important for your doctor to determine the cause so that the correct treatment is implemented. While each person will be affected differently, symptoms that warrant a visit to the doctor include a high fever, severe headache, convulsions, persistent vomiting, chest pain, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, inability to move an arm or leg, a change in vision or speech, or hearing loss.

Causes of dizziness include:

  • Poor circulation
  • Prescription medications
  • Excess sodium in the body
  • Emotional stress, anxiety, and tension
  • Vertigo, a condition that causes the unpleasant sensation of the world rotating, usually associated with nausea and vomiting. The condition can occur when the inner ear fails to receive enough blood flow
  • Benign positional vertigo, a disorder that causes vertigo symptoms after a change in head position such as lying down, turning in bed, looking up, or stooping. It lasts about 30 seconds and ceases when the head is still. This condition occurs when a small crystal that occurs naturally in the inner ear enters one of the semicircular balance canals. It can last for days, weeks, or months. The most common treatment is a repositioning or Epley treatment performed by an otolaryngologist.
  • Neurological diseases such as multiple sclerosis, syphilis, tumors, etc. These are uncommon causes, but your doctor may perform certain tests to rule these out.
  • Meniere's disease, an inner ear disorder with attacks of vertigo (lasting hours), nausea, or vomiting, and ringing in the ear, which often feels blocked or full. There is usually a decrease in hearing as well.
  • Migraines
  • Viruses or infections
  • Injuries
  • Allergies

Your doctor will ask you to describe your dizziness and answer questions about your general health. Along with these questions, he or she will examine your ears, nose, and throat. Some routine tests will be performed to check your blood pressure, nerve and balance function, and hearing. Possible additional tests may include a CT or MRI scan of your head, special tests of eye motion after warm or cold water or air is used to stimulate the inner ear and, in some cases, blood tests or a cardiology evaluation. Balance testing may also include rotational chair testing and posturography, a clinical test to assess balance function. Your doctor will determine the best course of action based on your symptoms and potential causes. Treatments may include medications and balance exercises.