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Dizziness is a term that is often used to describe 2 different symptoms: lightheadedness and vertigo.

Most causes of dizziness are not serious, and they either quickly get better on their own or are easy to treat.

Lightheadedness occurs when the brain does not get enough blood. This may occur due to:

  • A sudden drop in blood pressure
  • Dehydration
  • Getting up too quickly after sitting or lying down
  • Use of certain medicines

More serious conditions that can lead to lightheadedness include:

  • Heart problems, such as a heart attack or abnormal heart beat
  • Stroke
  • Internal bleeding
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Seizures
  • Brain tumor
  • Bleeding in the brain

Vertigo may be due to:

  • Benign positional vertigo
  • Labyrinthitis
  • Meniere disease

Signs & Symptoms

Lightheadedness is associated with feeling faint. Vertigo is a feeling of spinning or moving.


A Deborah Heart and Lung Center physician will perform a physical exam and ask questions about the patient’s medical history and symptoms.

Tests that may be done include:

  • Blood pressure reading
  • Electrocardiogram (ECG)
  • Hearing tests
  • Balance testing (ENG)
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)