Dizziness often describes two different sensations. It is important
to know exactly what you mean when you say, "I feel dizzy," because it can help
you and your health professional narrow down the list of possible
Vertigo is the feeling
that you or your surroundings are moving when there is no actual movement. The
motion is commonly described as a spinning or whirling sensation, but it can
also include sensations of falling or tilting. Vertigo can cause nausea,
vomiting, inability to walk or stand, or falls with the possibility of
Lightheadedness is a feeling that
you are about to pass out. You may feel unsteady and find it hard to
remain standing, but there is no spinning or whirling sensation. Many people
feel lightheaded when they become ill. Lightheadedness usually goes away or
improves after you lie down.
Both vertigo and lightheadedness can be related to ear problems,
especially if these sensations occur with a viral infection or allergy
symptoms. Vertigo is common with inner ear disorders, such as
Ménière's disease, an injury to the ear or head, or a
noncancerous growth in the space behind the eardrum (cholesteatoma).
Primary Medical Reviewer
William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.