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. Anemia
  3. Dehydration
  4. Hypoglycemia
  5. Heart arrhythmia (heart rhythm problems)
  6. Orthostatic hypotension (postural hypotension)
  7. Stroke
  8. 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. Carbon monoxide poisoning
  2. Concussion
  3. Depression (major depressive disorder)
  4. Generalized anxiety disorder
  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.

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Oct. 21, 2020

See also

  1. Acoustic neuroma
  2. Agoraphobia
  3. Anaphylaxis
  4. Anemia
  5. Angina
  6. Anorexia nervosa
  7. Aplastic anemia
  8. Aspirin allergy
  9. Infographic: Asymptomatic Carotid Disease
  10. Autonomic neuropathy
  11. Bee sting
  12. Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV)
  13. Blood tests for heart disease
  14. Adult Congenital Heart Defects
  15. Adult congenital heart disease: What patients and families should know
  16. Heart disease in women
  17. Video: Septal myectomy and apical myectomy
  18. Bump on the head: When is it a serious head injury?
  19. Calcium supplements: A risk factor for heart attack?
  20. Can vitamins help prevent a heart attack?
  21. Carbon monoxide poisoning
  22. Cardiac MRI animation
  23. Cardiomyopathy
  24. Kinser's story
  25. Carotid artery disease
  26. Chelation therapy for heart disease: Does it work?
  27. Chest pain
  28. Chiari malformation
  29. Concussion
  30. Concussion in children
  31. Concussion Recovery
  32. Concussion Telemedicine
  33. Infographic: Congenital Heart Disease and Lifelong Care
  34. Congenital heart disease in adults
  35. Coronary artery spasm: Cause for concern?
  36. Cough headaches
  37. Craving and chewing ice: A sign of anemia?
  38. CSF leak (Cerebrospinal fluid leak)
  39. Cyclic vomiting syndrome
  40. Daily aspirin therapy
  41. Dehydration
  42. Diabetic neuropathy
  43. Diabetic neuropathy and dietary supplements
  44. Types of diabetic neuropathy
  45. Dilated cardiomyopathy
  46. Do you drink enough water?
  47. Drug addiction (substance use disorder)
  48. Drug allergy
  49. Drummer Beats Heart Disease
  50. Dumping syndrome
  51. Egg allergy
  52. Eisenmenger syndrome
  53. Enlarged heart
  54. Essential thrombocythemia
  55. Fasting diet: Can it improve my heart health?
  56. Fibromuscular dysplasia
  57. Flu Shot Prevents Heart Attack
  58. Flu shots and heart disease
  59. Food poisoning
  60. Genetics and Cardiomyopathy
  61. Grass-fed beef
  62. Hangovers
  63. Healthy eating: One step at a time
  64. Healthy Heart for Life!
  65. Heart attack
  66. Heart attack prevention: Should I avoid secondhand smoke?
  67. Heart attack symptoms
  68. Heart Attack Timing
  69. Heart disease
  70. Heart disease in women: Understand symptoms and risk factors
  71. Heart-healthy diet: 8 steps to prevent heart disease
  72. Heart murmurs
  73. Heat exhaustion
  74. Hidden Heart Attack
  75. Infographic: How heart-healthy people can suffer a heart attack
  76. Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy
  77. Infographic: Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy
  78. Intracranial hematoma
  79. Iron deficiency anemia
  80. Jellyfish stings
  81. Left ventricular hypertrophy
  82. Menstrual cramps
  83. Menus for heart-healthy eating
  84. Mitral valve prolapse
  85. New Test for Preeclampsia
  86. Nocturnal panic attacks: What causes them?
  87. NSAIDs: Do they increase my risk of heart attack and stroke?
  88. Nuts and your heart: Eating nuts for heart health
  89. Omega-3 in fish
  90. Omega-6 fatty acids
  91. Panic attacks and panic disorder
  92. Paraneoplastic syndromes of the nervous system
  93. Peanut allergy
  94. Penicillin allergy
  95. Pericardial effusion
  96. Peripheral nerve tumors
  97. Persistent post-concussive symptoms (Post-concussion syndrome)
  98. Polycythemia vera
  99. Polypill: Does it treat heart disease?
  100. Preeclampsia
  101. Progressive supranuclear palsy
  102. Protein: Heart-healthy sources
  103. Pseudotumor cerebri (idiopathic intracranial hypertension)
  104. Put fish on the menu
  105. Radiation sickness
  106. Red wine, antioxidants and resveratrol
  107. Rhabdomyolysis
  108. Robotic or minimally invasive cardiac surgery for adult-adolescent congenital heart disease
  109. SCAD 2 Social Media as a Lifesaving Link
  110. Scleroderma
  111. Shellfish allergy
  112. Silent heart attack
  113. Spider bites
  114. Spinal headaches
  115. Spontaneous coronary artery dissection (SCAD)
  116. Spontaneous coronary artery dissection (SCAD)
  117. Heart disease prevention
  118. Sudden cardiac arrest
  119. Sudden death in young people: Heart problems often blamed
  120. Sulfa allergy
  121. Takayasu's arteritis
  122. Thrombocytosis
  123. Traumatic brain injury
  124. Ventricular tachycardia
  125. Infographic: Ventricular Tachycardia
  126. What is ventricular tachycardia?
  127. Cardiac ablation: treatment for ventricular tachycardia
  128. Vertigo
  129. Video: Heart and circulatory system
  130. Viral hemorrhagic fevers
  131. Vitamin deficiency anemia
  132. What is meant by the term "heart age"?
  133. Wheat allergy
  134. Whiplash
  135. Infographic: Women and Heart Disease
  136. Yellow fever