Light-headedness - dizzy; Loss of balance; Vertigo
If you tend to get light-headed when you stand up:
- Avoid sudden changes in posture.
- Get up from a lying position slowly, and stay seated for a few moments before standing.
- When standing, make sure you have something to hold on to.
If you have vertigo, the following tips can help prevent your symptoms from becoming worse:
- Keep still and rest when symptoms occur.
- Avoid sudden movements or position changes.
- Slowly increase activity.
- You may need a cane or other help walking when you have a loss of balance during a vertigo attack.
- Avoid bright lights, TV, and reading during a vertigo attacks, because they may make symptoms worse.
Avoid activities such as driving, operating heavy machinery, and climbing until 1 week after your symptoms disappear. A sudden dizzy spell during these activities can be dangerous.
Call your health care provider if
Call your local emergency number (such as 911) or go to an emergency room if you are dizzy and have:
- A head injury
- Fever over 101°F, headache, or very stiff neck
- Trouble keeping fluids down
- Chest pain
- Heart skipping beats
- Shortness of breath
- Inability to move an arm or leg
- Change in vision or speech
- Fainting and losing alertness for more than a few minutes
Call your doctor for an appointment if you have:
- Dizziness for the first time
- New or worsening symptoms
- Dizziness after taking medication
- Hearing loss
What to expect at your health care provider's office
Your doctor will perform a physical exam and ask questions about your medical history and symptoms, including:
- When did your dizziness begin?
- Does your dizziness occur when you move?
- What other symptoms occur when you feel dizzy?
- Are you always dizzy or does the dizziness come and go?
- How long does the dizziness last?
- Were you sick with a cold, flu, or other illness before the dizziness began?
- Do you have a significant amount of stress or anxiety?
Tests that may be done include:
Blood pressurereading ECG
- Hearing tests
- Balance testing (
Your health care provider may prescribe medications to help you feel better, including:
- Anti-nausea medication
Surgery may be needed if you have Meniere's disease.
Review Date: 05/02/2009
Reviewed By: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.