What causes dizziness?

Dizzy sensations that are difficult to describe may include feeling “spaced out” or having the sensation of spinning inside your head. Your doctor may refer to this as nonspecific dizziness. 

Dizziness: a sensation of light-headedness, faintness, or unsteadiness. Dizziness does not involve a rotational component. 

Some causes include:

  • Inner ear disorders. Some inner ear abnormalities can cause persistent, non-vertigo-type dizziness. 
  • Anxiety disorders. Certain anxiety disorders, such as panic attacks and a fear of leaving home or being in large, open spaces (agoraphobia), may cause dizziness. Sometimes one cause — such as a vestibular disorder — may produce symptoms, but then anxiety causes your dizziness to persist even after your inner ear problem has resolved. 
  • Low iron levels (anaemia). Other signs and symptoms that may occur along with dizziness if you have anaemia include fatigue, weakness and pale skin. 
  • Low blood sugar (hypoglycaemia). This condition occurs in people with diabetes who use insulin. Sweating and confusion may accompany dizziness. 
  • Chronic subjective dizziness. A specific clinical syndrome characterized by persistent nonspecific dizziness that doesn’t have an apparent medical cause. Chronic subjective dizziness is associated with hypersensitivity to one’s own action. This type of dizziness is made worse by complex visual environments (such as the grocery store), visual motion (such as a movie), visual patterns and precision visual tasks.
  • Medications. Blood pressure lowering drugs may cause faintness if they lower your blood pressure too much. Many other drugs can cause nonspecific feelings of dizziness that resolve when you stop the medication. 
  • Ear infections. Sometimes, ear infections can cause dizziness. This type of dizziness will go away when the infection clears up. 
  • Overheating and dehydration. If you’re active in hot weather, or if you don’t drink enough fluids, you may feel dizzy from overheating (hyperthermia) or from dehydration. This is especially true if you take certain heart medications. Resting in a cool place and drinking water or a sports drink (Gatorade, Powerade, others) will usually help ease the dizzy feeling.

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What causes dizziness?