Dizziness is a common issue that can be caused by a wide range of factors. Many of these causes, such as anxiety, dehydration, or motion sickness, are not necessarily signs of a serious health problem. However, in some cases, dizziness could be a result of dangerous environmental factors or medical conditions. Some examples include:

  • Cardiovascular problems, such as low blood pressure
  • Neurological issues, such as migraines
  • Anemia
  • Certain injuries, such as concussions
  • Inner ear tumors or conditions
  • Carbon monoxide poisoning
  • Certain medications
One symptom closely related to dizziness is vertigo, which causes a sensation that your surroundings are spinning around you. Both of these medical problems can cause you to feel unsteadiness and a loss of balance; additionally, they can be caused by many of the same factors. There are two types of vertigo: peripheral vertigo, which occurs due to problems with your vestibular nerve, and central vertigo, which occurs as a result of a brain condition.

Isolated episodes of dizziness or vertigo are not necessarily a cause for concern. However, if these symptoms are frequent or constant, it’s important to visit a doctor to rule out serious underlying causes and receive treatment for your symptoms to prevent them from causing physical injuries or other complications.


How are dizziness and vertigo diagnosed?

It may be difficult for you to tell the difference between dizziness and vertigo. Your doctor will typically perform a physical exam as well as one or more diagnostic tests to determine whether you may have vertigo. Some examples of these tests include:

  • The Fukuda-Unterberger test, which involves walking in place for 30 seconds with your eyes closed
  • Romberg’s test, which determines whether you feel unbalanced while standing with your eyes closed
  • A head impulse test, during which your eye movements are observed as you keep your focus on a specific spot while your head is moved from side to side
  • Vestibular testing, during which you perform simple tasks and answer questions while your body’s impulses and physical responses are observed

Your doctor may also order diagnostic imaging tests such as computed tomography (CT) scans or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). These are helpful for identifying potential indicators of an underlying condition that may be causing your symptoms, such as lesions on your brain or spine.

How are dizziness and vertigo treated?

Treatment for dizziness or vertigo largely depends on the underlying cause of either symptom. Some options to treat the symptoms themselves include motion sickness medications, vestibular rehabilitation therapy (which involves various exercises to improve dizziness caused by an inner ear problem), and surgery (in specific cases where this treatment is effective, such as a tumor or certain injuries).

Dizziness can be both concerning and disruptive to your daily life, and it’s important to get treatment from a specialist if it’s severe or isn’t going away. Jamaica Hospital Medical Center’s Division of Neurology is fully-equipped to offer advanced diagnostic care to determine the cause of your dizziness and find the right approach to treatment for you. To schedule an appointment with a Queens, NYC dizziness specialist, please email neuro@jhmc.org.