For the film, see Dizziness (film).
Classification and external resources
Specialty otolaryngology
ICD-10 R42
ICD-9-CM 780.4
DiseasesDB 17771
MedlinePlus 003093
eMedicine neuro/693
MeSH D004244

Dizziness is an impairment in spatial perception and stability.[1] Because the term dizziness is imprecise,[2] it can refer to vertigo, presyncope, disequilibrium,[3] or a non-specific feeling such as giddiness or foolishness.[4]

One can induce dizziness by engaging in disorientating activities such as spinning.

A stroke is the cause of isolated dizziness in 0.7% of people who present to the emergency room.[5]


Dizziness is broken down into 4 main subtypes: vertigo (~50%), disequilibrium (less than ~15%), presyncope (less than ~15%) and lightheadedness (~10%).[6]

Differential diagnosis

Many conditions are associated with dizziness. Dizziness can accompany certain serious events, such as a concussion or brain bleed, epilepsy and seizures (convulsions), strokes, and cases of meningitis and encephalitis. However, the most common subcategories can be broken down as follows: 40% peripheral vestibular dysfunction, 10% central nervous system lesion, 15% psychiatric disorder, 25% presyncope/dysequilibrium, and 10% nonspecific dizziness.[7] Some vestibular pathologies have symptoms that are comorbid with mental disorders.[8] The medical conditions that often have dizziness as a symptom include:[7][9][10][11]


Many conditions cause dizziness because multiple parts of the body are required for maintaining balance including the inner ear, eyes, muscles, skeleton, and the nervous system.[10]

Common physiological causes of dizziness include:


About 20–30% of the population report to have experienced dizziness at some point in the previous year.[5]

See also


  1. "dizziness" at Dorland's Medical Dictionary
  2. Dizziness at the US National Library of Medicine Medical Subject Headings (MeSH)
  3. Reeves, Alexander G.; Swenson, Rand S. (2008). "Chapter 14: Evaluation of the Dizzy Patient". Disorders of the Nervous System: A Primer. Dartmouth Medical School.
  4. 1 2 Branch Jr., William T.; Barton, Jason J. S. (February 10, 2011). "Approach to the patient with dizziness". UpToDate.
  5. 1 2 3 Neuhauser HK, Lempert T (November 2009). "Vertigo: epidemiologic aspects". Semin Neurol. 29 (5): 473–81. doi:10.1055/s-0029-1241043. PMID 19834858.
  6. Post RE, Dickerson LM (August 2010). "Dizziness: a diagnostic approach". Am Fam Physician. 82 (4): 361–8, 369. PMID 20704166.
  7. 1 2 Chan Y (June 2009). "Differential diagnosis of dizziness". Curr Opin Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 17 (3): 200–3. doi:10.1097/MOO.0b013e32832b2594. PMID 19365263.
  8. Lawson, B. D., Rupert, A. H., & Kelley, A. M. (2013). Mental Disorders Comorbid with Vestibular Pathology. Psychiatric Annals, 43(7), 324.
  9. Tusa RJ (March 2009). "Dizziness". Med. Clin. North Am. 93 (2): 263–71, vii. doi:10.1016/j.mcna.2008.09.005. PMID 19272508.
  10. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 "Dizziness and Vertigo". Merck Manual. 2009.
  11. Bronstein AM, Lempert T (2010). "Management of the patient with chronic dizziness". Restor. Neurol. Neurosci. 28 (1): 83–90. doi:10.3233/RNN-2010-0530. PMID 20086285.
  12. O'Connor RE, Brady W, Brooks SC, et al. (November 2010). "Part 10: acute coronary syndromes: 2010 American Heart Association Guidelines for Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation and Emergency Cardiovascular Care". Circulation. 122 (18 Suppl 3): S787–817. doi:10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.110.971028. PMID 20956226.
  13. http://www.fda.gov/Drugs/DrugSafety/ucm245011.htm
  14. http://www.rxlist.com/coumadin-side-effects-drug-center.htm
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