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What is dizziness?

It’s likely you’ve experienced a dizzy feeling before, maybe after you’ve stood up too quickly - the lightheadedness, being unsteady on your feet, or that feeling that the room is spinning. Dizziness related to low blood pressure, so it can sometimes cause you to faint.

It is pretty common, and is usually nothing to worry about and should pass on its own.

However, although isolated instances are usually not anything to worry about, if it is severe, causes you to fall, or if these types of episodes are regular, you should see a doctor, as recurring dizzy spells can be a symptom of something else.

If you feel worried about your symptoms , our doctors can help.

Dizziness symptoms

The symptoms of dizziness include:

  • Lightheadedness
  • Feeling faint or fainting
  • Unsteadiness on your feet
  • Feeling of floating
  • Giddiness
  • You may feel sick or be sick
  • Confusion
  • Feeling like your surroundings are spinning, which is known as vertigo

You should try sitting or lying down until the symptoms pass. If the symptoms persist, seek medical advice.

Are certain people more susceptible to dizziness?

Dizziness can affect many people, and for a variety of different reasons. There are some people that can be more susceptible to dizziness and this can usually be attributed to medications, such as antidepressants (we’ll cover this in more detail below) or other medical conditions.

You should speak to a doctor if you experience any other symptoms, or if you are worried about the dizzy spells you are experiencing.

What can dizziness be a symptom of?

There are a number of medical conditions that can lead to dizziness, including:

Labrynthitis

This is a disorder of the inner ear, where the nerve that detects head movement becomes inflamed and can make you feel dizzy.

Hypotension

Hypotension is a drop-in blood pressure that can make you experience a dizzy feeling. You may experience this if you stand up too quickly, but this is usually nothing to be concerned about.

Hypertension

Also known as high blood pressure, this can have very few symptoms, but dizziness could be one of the first signs.

Heart attack

When the blood flow that usually supplies the heart is cut off, it causes a heart attack. If you experience dizziness and other symptoms associated with a heart attack, then you should call 999 urgently.

Hypoglycaemia

When the level of sugar (glucose) in your blood drops, this can make you feel dizzy. It is common in people with diabetes, when their blood sugar drops to a dangerous level.

Ear Infection

An ear infection of the middle ear, otitis media, is caused by bacteria or a virus that inflames the ear behind the eardrum. You may feel dizzy and also experience temporary hearing loss.

Other conditions or factors that can cause you to feel dizzy include:

  • Migraine
  • Inner ear problems
  • Motion sickness
  • Dehydration
  • Hypothermia
  • Heat exhaustion
  • Vertigo
  • Stroke
  • Congenital heart disease
  • Concussion
  • Panic attacks
  • Toxic shock syndrome
  • Carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • Stress and anxiety
  • Anaemia
  • Alcohol abuse
  • Drug abuse
  • Vision problems, such as adjusting to new glasses or contact lenses
  • Reduced blood pressure, which can be caused by a number of different medical conditions

One of the common causes of dizziness in women over 50 can be the menopause, with hormonal fluctuations during this time sometimes resulting in lightheadedness.

Medications that cause dizziness

If you have started a new medication to treat an existing condition and you experience dizziness, it could be the medicine you are taking that is causing the symptoms. Common types of medications that can cause dizziness include:

  • Anti-seizure medicines
  • Sedatives
  • Tranquilizers
  • High blood pressure medication
  • Antidepressants

If you are currently taking any of these, or have been taking them for a while, and start to experience episodes of dizziness, you should discuss this with a doctor. They will be able to determine if the medication is the cause of the problem and suggest an alternative.

When should I see a GP about dizziness?

If you believe you may have an underlying condition that’s causing your dizziness, it’s a good idea to see a doctor. Our GPs can discuss the severity of your symptoms and when they occur with you. This will help them identify the cause of your dizziness.

You should also see a doctor if:

  • your dizziness is a regular occurrence
  • your dizziness is persistent
  • it affects your hearing, such as you can hear ringing in your ears

See a doctor urgently if:

  • you have double or blurred vision
  • you have numbness in your face, arms or legs

If you are worried about your dizzy spells, a doctor will able to help reassure you, and find out the cause.

How to stop dizziness

The dizziness you have will usually pass on its own. However, you can do some things to help it pass more quickly.

  • Lie down and avoid sudden movements.
  • Rest until you feel well again
  • Drink plenty of fluids to keep hydrated - water is best and you should avoid things that can make you dizzy, such as caffeine or alcohol

It is very important that you do not drive or do anything else that might put you in danger while you are dizzy.

How can Push Doctor help?

At Push Doctor, you can see a GP online, on any device, whether you are at home, work or even on the go. They can discuss your problems with dizziness over a video consultation, listen to your symptoms and suggest the right treatment if you need it. This will help you get you back up on your feet and back to your usual routine as quickly as possible.

You can see a GP about your dizziness at a time that suits you best. The doctors are available 7 days a week. If necessary, our doctors can refer you to a specialist for further investigation or treatment.