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Dizziness is the disorienting feeling of being unbalanced or lightheaded. You may feel like you’re about to faint or your surroundings are moving or spinning around you.
Both feelings sometimes occur along with nausea or vomiting. Dizziness is not a medical condition on its own. It’s a symptom of an underlying cause.
Some possible causes of dizziness include:
- benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV)
- taking certain medications
- inner ear problems
- circulation problems
- certain conditions, such as anemia, migraines, or anxiety
- motion sickness
- head injuries
- certain illnesses such as the common cold
Treating your dizziness usually involves treating one of these other conditions.
Certain foods and nutrients may help relieve symptoms of dizziness.
Dehydration is a common cause of dizziness. If you feel tired and thirsty and urinate less often when you’re dizzy, try drinking water and staying hydrated.
Ginger may help relieve symptoms of motion sickness and dizziness. It may also help treat nausea in pregnant women.
You can take ginger in many forms. Add fresh or ground ginger to your diet, drink ginger tea, or take ginger supplements.
However, you should always consult your doctor before taking any kind of supplement, even if it’s natural. Supplements can interfere with other medical conditions you have or medications you take.
- bell peppers
Vitamin E can help maintain the elasticity of your blood vessels. This can help prevent circulation problems. Vitamin E can be found in:
- wheat germ
Vitamin D has been shown to help you improve after BPPV attacks.
If your doctor thinks you have anemia, they may encourage you to get more iron. Iron can be found in foods such as:
- red meat
- dark leafy greens
Medications to treat dizziness often focus on treating the underlying condition.
Preventative migraine medicine, for example, is often prescribed if you have vertigo or dizziness with migraines. Anti-anxiety medications can also be prescribed to reduce the severity of anxiety attacks that cause dizziness.
Other medications that may be used for dizziness include:
- Water pills or diuretics may be used as treatment for conditions like Meniere’s disease that cause a fluid buildup in the inner ear
- Antihistamines and anticholinergics are two of the only prescription medications that focus entirely on treating dizziness instead of the underlying condition
- Over-the-counter antihistamines are another option, though the nondrowsy variations are less effective at treating dizziness.
When you start to feel dizzy, lying down as soon as possible can often help. If you have a severe case of vertigo, close your eyes while lying down. If you’re overheated, get a cool drink and move to a shaded, air-conditioned area.
The Epley maneuver, which you can do at home, is an exercise that can help treat dizziness, especially from BPPV. It’s designed to dislodge crystals from the ear canals and reduce dizziness.
According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, the Epley maneuver involves the following steps:
- Sit on a bed and turn your head halfway to the right.
- Lie down on your back while keeping your head turned. A pillow should be under your shoulders only, with your head reclining.
- Hold this position for 30 seconds.
- Turn your head without raising it so it’s looking halfway to the left. Wait another 30 seconds.
- Keeping your head turned, turn your body to the left so that you’re lying on your side. Wait 30 seconds.
- Sit up on your left side.
If you’re prone to dizziness, let your doctor know. That information can help when you’re undergoing treatment.
If you’re more aware that you may fall or lose your balance, you may be more prepared to prevent an injury. If you can identify what triggers your dizziness, you can avoid the triggers.
Acupuncture may help treat dizziness. Acupuncture is the practice of inserting tiny, thin needles into specific areas of the skin. In a
A special type of physical therapy called vestibular rehabilitation may help. Physical therapy can also improve balance.
Living a healthy lifestyle can help treat and prevent dizziness.
Try to reduce the amount of stress in your life. Drink plenty of water. Get enough sleep.
You should also avoid salt, alcohol, caffeine, and tobacco. According to the Mayo Clinic, frequent consumption of these substances can increase your symptoms.
There are different causes of dizziness. Some are less serious than others.
Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) is one of the most common causes of vertigo. It’s caused by specific changes in the positioning of your head. It can cause short episodes of mild to severe dizziness, usually started by head movements.
BPPV is often idiopathic, which means no cause is known. However, it can be caused by a blow to the head. According to the Mayo Clinic, there’s a link between BPPV and migraines.
Hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, is one of the most common causes of dizziness. Hypotension, or low blood pressure, can also cause fatigue and dizziness.
Certain medications can also cause dizziness.
For example, blood pressure medications may lower your blood pressure too much and lead to dizziness. Sedatives and tranquilizers have dizziness as a common side effect. Antiseizure drugs and antidepressants can also cause dizziness.
Talk to your doctor if you think dizziness is caused by any medications that you take.
Other common causes of dizziness can include:
- inner ear problems, such as infections or fluid buildup, which can affect balance
- circulation problems, including poor blood circulation that prevents adequate blood flow from reaching the brain or inner ear
- heat stroke or becoming overheated
- head or neck injuries
There are times when dizziness is a medical emergency. If you experience dizziness along with blurred or double vision, weakness or numbness in the body, slurred speech, or severe headaches, call 911 immediately.
Conditions associated with dizziness
Some conditions are associated with dizziness. These include: