People experiencing dizziness may describe it as any of a number of sensations, such as:

  • A false sense of motion or spinning (vertigo)
  • Lightheadedness or feeling faint
  • Unsteadiness or a loss of balance
  • A feeling of floating, wooziness or heavy-headedness

These feelings may be triggered or worsened by walking, standing up or moving your head. Your dizziness may accompanied by nausea or be so sudden or severe that you need to sit or lie down. The episode may last seconds or days and may recur.

When to see a doctor

Call 911 or seek emergency medical help if you experience dizziness with:

  • A sudden or severe headache
  • Ongoing vomiting
  • A sudden change in speech, vision or hearing
  • Stumbling or difficulty walking
  • Fainting
  • Chest pain or an irregular heart rate
  • Numbness or weakness
  • Shortness of breath
  • A high fever
  • A very stiff neck
  • A head injury
  • Seizures

Consult with your doctor if you experience recurrent, sudden, severe dizziness or prolonged episodes of dizziness, faintness, lightheadedness or vertigo.

Aug. 11, 2015