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Dizziness

Intro

Dangerous, life-threatening illness may start only with dizziness. Call a doctor if any of the following occur:

  • Any severe first time or new instances of dizziness
  • Dizziness without a clear or certain cause
  • Any change in an established pattern of dizziness
  • Worsening or new symptoms
  • Dizziness after taking newly prescribed medications, or recent changes in previous prescriptions

Call an ambulance unless you are certain of the cause of the dizziness, or unless the feeling goes away quickly.

  • Dizziness may be the only symptom of a heart attack  or stroke.
  • If you have a possibility of heart disease, or known heart disease, an ambulance may save your life.
  • All dizziness with loss of consciousness needs emergency evaluation.

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Self-Care at Home

Dizziness may be a symptom of something dangerous and should always be discussed with a doctor.

At home, it is recommended for the patient to do the following:

  • Get plenty to drink, have regular meals, and get plenty of rest.
  • Standing up more slowly may help dizziness associated with position changes.
  • Reassurance can help an anxious person who feels dizzy.
  • Make your home safe for a chronically dizzy person.
  • Banisters, a walker or cane, and tub mats are safety measures that may help avoid injury to the patient.
  • Secure rugs and carpeting to avoid falls.
  • A doctor can recommend resources for a professional home-safety consultant visit.
Outlook

Most causes of dizziness are harmless, and the problem goes away on its own. Sometimes dizziness will be the only symptom of serious disease, the course of which may be life-threatening or easily treatable.
Some dizziness may be attributed to aging blood vessels or nerves. The patient may need the services of a specialist, or very detailed specialized testing to uncover the cause and develop a treatment plan for the patient's dizziness.
Timely and careful evaluation of dizziness offers the best outcome, whatever the cause.

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