The causes of dizziness are as varied as its symptoms. It can result from something as simple as motion sickness — the queasy feeling that you get on hairpin roads and roller coasters. Or it can be caused by an inner ear disturbance, infection, reduced blood flow due to blocked arteries or heart disease, medication side effects, anxiety, or another condition. Sometimes a cause can't be identified.

Dizziness, particularly vertigo, occurring by itself, without any other symptoms, is generally unlikely to be a sign of a stroke.

Some causes of dizziness include:

Inner ear problems

Many cases of dizziness are caused by problems that affect the balance mechanism in your inner ear. Examples include:

  1. Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV)
  2. Ear infection (middle ear)
  3. Meniere's disease
  4. Migraine

Reduced blood flow

Dizziness can be caused if your brain doesn't receive enough blood. This can occur for a variety of reasons, including:

  1. Arteriosclerosis / atherosclerosis
  2. Dehydration
  3. Heart arrhythmias
  4. Orthostatic hypotension (postural hypotension)
  5. Stroke
  6. Transient ischemic attack (TIA)

Certain medications

Some types of drugs cause dizziness, including some varieties of:

  1. Antidepressants
  2. Anti-seizure drugs
  3. Drugs to control high blood pressure
  4. Sedatives
  5. Tranquilizers

Other causes of dizziness

  1. Anemia
  2. Concussion
  3. Generalized anxiety disorder
  4. Hypoglycemia
  5. Motion sickness: First aid
  6. Panic attacks and panic disorder

Causes shown here are commonly associated with this symptom. Work with your doctor or other health care professional for an accurate diagnosis.

Aug. 07, 2015