There are many potential causes of sudden dizziness. It could be something as simple as dehydration or low blood sugar. Or it may potentially be a sign of a more severe injury, a stroke, or an infection.
Sometimes the dizziness comes with nausea, vomiting, blurred vision, or fainting, but not always.
Whether you think you know the cause of your dizziness or not, it’s essential to see a doctor as soon as you can to rule out any severe medical conditions.
Inner Ear Problems
Dizziness is typically caused by a problem with the inner ear. The inner ear contains fluid-filled canals that help us keep our balance. If these canals are irritated or prevented from functioning correctly, you will feel dizzy and unsteady.
Problems with your inner ear include:
- Labyrinthitis – an infection or inflammation of the inner ear structure known as the labyrinth
- Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) – is a condition that occurs when tiny calcium crystals become dislodged in the inner ear
- Vestibular neuritis – an inflammation of the vestibulocochlear nerve that carries signals from the inner ear to the brain
- Meniere’s disease – a condition that causes fluid build-up in the inner ear
- Stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA) – a sudden interruption of blood flow to parts of the brain
Each of these has different accompanying symptoms, but all can cause dizziness. Your doctors will perform tests and assess your symptoms to arrive at a diagnosis and determine the best course of treatment.
Orthostatic hypotension is when your blood pressure drops when you stand up or change positions too fast. You may have felt this yourself when you’ve jumped out of bed or off the couch too quickly and felt lightheaded or unsteady.
If you are dehydrated, have low blood sugar or low blood pressure, or are taking certain medications, you may be more likely to experience orthostatic hypotension. The sudden drop in blood pressure may also cause you to faint, which can easily lead to serious injury.
What To Do If You Are Dizzy
To stay safe, move slowly when changing positions, and stay near your chair or something you can grab onto until you are sure you are steady.
Drink plenty of fluids daily, especially water, and eat regular meals to maintain your blood sugar levels.
Tell your doctor about any dizzy spells you experience, even if they seem brief and not severe. They could be a sign of an underlying health condition that needs to be treated, or you might need to change to a different medication.
If you lose your balance, you could fall and hurt yourself, especially if you are older. And if you faint, you could fall and hit your head, which could lead to a concussion or more severe injury.
In many cases, dizziness may go away on its own. But it is always best to see a doctor to rule out any serious causes.