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When Is Dizziness a Medical Problem?

Apr 02, 2024
When Is Dizziness a Medical Problem?
Dizziness is not a fun feeling, and if you can’t seem to shake it, you could be suffering from an underlying issue. Take a moment to find out more about dizziness and when you should see a specialist for care.

Dizziness is an uncomfortable condition that can trigger issues with your balance. Your dizziness may be accompanied by feelings of spinning, difficulty controlling your body’s position, vision issues, and unsteadiness. 

It’s not unusual to feel dizzy every once in a while, but if your dizziness persists or is severe, you should seek medical care. 

At Advanced Specialty Associates with offices in Baxter and The Village at Mendota Heights, Minnesota, our board-certified providers are committed to helping patients get the care they need to put an end to dizziness.

Take a moment to learn more about dizziness, what causes it, and when you should seek medical care for it.

What is dizziness?

Everyone feels dizzy at certain moments, from standing up too quickly in the morning or feeling lightheaded in the heat. This sensation of dizziness can be caused by balance disorders, and for some people, it happens without an obvious cause. 

Keeping your sense of balance requires your body’s different systems to function both independently and together. Your joints, eyes, inner ears, heart, vascular system, bones, and muscles all play a part, and any issue with one of these systems can cause a balance problem or disorder. 

There are many symptoms of a balance disorder, including dizziness. You may experience vertigo, unsteadiness, nausea or vomiting, vision changes, confusion, falling, or moving to one side while walking. 

Some people describe a sensation of feeling like they’re on a boat, and balance disorders can make it difficult to tell or control where your body is positioned. 

Is dizziness a medical problem? 

There are several underlying conditions that can cause the balance issues that make you dizzy. While some of these conditions resolve on their own, others require medical intervention, which is why it’s important to seek specialist care if your symptoms persist. 

Most people with balance issues have benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV), a condition that develops when calcium crystals in your inner ear move out of position. These crystals help control balance, and the condition resolves on its own, but medication can help. 

Two other common conditions include (1) vestibular neuritis, an inflammatory disorder that affects the nerves in your inner ear that help with balance and which usually goes away after several days without medication, and (2) persistent postural perceptual dizziness (PPPD), which makes you feel like you’re floating or rocking and develops after you undergo a stressful or alarming event.

Dizziness can also be brought on by these other common causes:

  • Vestibular migraine (migraine with dizziness)
  • Swelling in the inner ear (labyrinthitis)
  • Low blood sugar
  • Dehydration
  • Pregnancy
  • Acoustic neuroma (a benign tumor) 
  • Stroke or heart disease
  • Circulatory issues (e.g., low blood pressure; hypertension)
  • Ménière’s disease
  • Spinal cord or brain injuries
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Multiple sclerosis (MS)
  • Peripheral neuropathy
  • Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease

Dizziness and balance issues may also be caused by certain medications or by certain bacterial and viral infections. 

There are so many different causes of dizziness that it’s always a good idea to talk to your provider if your dizziness isn’t going away.

What helps with dizziness?

The first step in treating your ongoing dizziness is getting an accurate diagnosis from a specialist, like one of our board-certified providers at Advanced Specialty Associates. 

Your provider reviews your symptoms and medical history, then performs a physical exam and may order lab work or an audiogram. With all of this information, your provider develops a specialized treatment plan to treat your dizziness and the underlying issue.

Your plan may include vestibular rehabilitation, a form of physical therapy that strengthens the vestibular system, canalith repositioning maneuvers, guided movements to ensure calcium deposits in the inner ear are in the right location, or medications such as antihistamines or migraine medications to treat symptoms. 

In some rare cases, a balance condition may be severe or related to a tumor. In these cases, surgery might be required to put an end to your dizziness. 

If you’ve been experiencing persistent dizziness, now’s the time to put an end to your symptoms. Schedule an appointment online or over the phone at Advanced Specialty Associates in Baxter or The Village at Mendota Heights, Minnesota, today.