What is dizziness?

Dizziness can describe several different sensations. Dizziness is an impairment of spatial orientation. A dizzy spell doesn't always indicate a life-threatening condition, but it can be unnerving. Dizziness can be associated with more serious conditions, such as a stroke or cardiovascular problems. Even on its own, though, if dizziness leads to a fall, it can be dangerous.

Dizziness can occur when you’re moving, standing still or lying down. When you’re dizzy, you may feel:

  • Faint.
  • Lightheaded.
  • Nauseous.
  • Unsteady.
  • Woozy.

What’s the difference between dizziness and vertigo?

Intense vertigo can make you nauseous or so unsteady you can’t drive or walk. It feels like you or objects around you are:

  • Floating.
  • Spinning.
  • Swaying.
  • Tilting.

How common is dizziness?

It’s common to experience dizziness. Almost half of people see their healthcare provider at some point because of feeling dizzy. The older you are, the more likely you are to have this symptom.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 06/25/2020.

References

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