Dizziness can range from a quick feeling of faintness to a severe balance disorder that makes normal functioning impossible. Among adults over age 65, up to 30 percent experience dizziness.
Dizziness may feel like:
A false sense that you or your surroundings are spinning or moving (vertigo)
Floating, swimming, or heavy headedness
Lightheadedness, as though you might pass out
Unsteadiness or a loss of balance
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.
Dizziness often gets better without treatment. Within a couple of weeks, the body usually adapts to whatever is causing it. If you seek treatment, your doctor will base it on the cause of the dizziness and your symptoms. This may include medications and balance exercises. If no cause is found or if dizziness continues, prescription drugs and other treatments may help to make your symptoms more manageable.
Lifestyle and home remedies
If you experience repeated episodes of dizziness, consider these tips:
Avoid sudden movements and walk with a cane for stability, if needed.
Avoid using caffeine, alcohol, salt, and tobacco. Excessive use of these substances can worsen your symptoms.
Drink enough fluids, eat a healthy diet, get enough sleep, and avoid stress.
Not all treatments, tests and services are available at all Mayo Clinic Health System locations. Check with your preferred location in advance.