Tests and diagnosis

By Mayo Clinic Staff

If your doctor suspects you're having or may have had a stroke, are older or suffered a blow to the head, he or she may immediately order an MRI or CT scan.

Most people visiting their doctor because of dizziness will first be asked about their symptoms and medications and then be given a physical examination. During this exam, your doctor will check how you walk and maintain your balance and how the major nerves of your central nervous system are working.

You may also need a hearing test and balance tests, including:

  • Eye movement testing. Your doctor may watch the path of your eyes when you track a moving object. And you may be given an eye motion test in which cold and warm water or air are placed in your ear canal.
  • Head movement testing. If your doctor suspects your vertigo is caused by benign paroxysmal positional vertigo, he or she may do a simple head movement test called the Dix-Hallpike maneuver to verify the diagnosis.
  • Posturography. This test tells your doctor which parts of the balance system you rely on the most and which parts may be giving you problems. You stand in your bare feet on a platform and try to keep your balance under various conditions.
  • Rotary-chair testing. During this test you sit in a computer-controlled chair that moves very slowly in a full circle. At faster speeds, it moves back and forth in a very small arc.

In addition, you may be given blood tests to check for infection and other tests to check heart and blood vessel health.

Aug. 11, 2015