Do you ever feel dizzy, lightheaded, or like the world is spinning around you? If so, it may be time to see a doctor. Mild to severe dizziness can have many causes and should not be ignored. This article will explore when it’s time to see your doctor for dizziness.
Causes of Dizziness
Dizziness is a common problem, affecting 25% of the world’s population at some point in their lifetime. Feeling lightheaded or off balance can be attributed to a range of sources. From environmental factors to dietary choices to medical issues, numerous potential causes of dizziness exist. Common causes of dizziness include:
- Inner ear issues such as vertigo, BPPV (benign paroxysmal positional vertigo), and labyrinthitis
- Side effects of certain medications
- Dehydration or lack of food
- Low blood sugar levels
- Vitamin B12 deficiency
- Migraine headaches or other types of headache disorders
- Concussions from head trauma
- Major depressive disorder or generalized anxiety disorder
- Motion sickness due to traveling or riding in a vehicle for an extended period
- Panic attacks and panic disorders can cause feelings of intense fear or dread
Dizziness can be divided into two separate categories, let’s examine each.
Are There Different Types of Dizziness?
Various factors can cause dizziness, and the symptoms generally fall into two distinct categories: lightheadedness or vertigo.
Lightheadedness is a common phenomenon experienced by many people at some point. It occurs when there is a decline in blood pressure and circulation to the head and brain, resulting in feelings of faintness or dizziness.
The decrease in blood flow can be due to various conditions such as low oxygen levels, dehydration, changes in posture, and lack of food intake or medications. In severe cases, lightheadedness may be caused by an underlying medical condition that requires attention from a healthcare provider.
Vertigo is a disorienting movement sensation, even when standing still. It can cause feelings of nausea and vomiting, making it difficult to stay oriented in your surroundings.
In some cases, vertigo may make you feel as if the room around you is spinning or tilting, even though no physical movement has occurred. Other symptoms, such as headache or ear pressure, can accompany this. So, should you see a doctor for dizziness? Keep reading.
How do I Know if I Should See a Doctor About My Dizziness?
Roughly one-third of the population experiences dizziness from time to time, and this is usually not something that requires medical attention. However, if you generally enjoy good health but suddenly start feeling unusually dizzy or lightheaded, you should contact your family physician for a checkup.
A doctor can help determine whether the cause of the dizziness needs further investigation or treatment. Some symptoms that indicate you should see your doctor about your dizziness are:
- The dizziness is persistent over several days. If the sensation lasts longer than one day and occurs during certain activities (like standing up), then this may indicate an underlying health condition such as vertigo, Meniere’s disease, or a vestibular disorder, and may need medical treatment.
- You have other symptoms like nausea, vomiting, or headaches. These could be signs of a more serious condition, such as an inner ear infection or stroke.
- Vision changes accompany your dizziness. If you experience blurred vision or double vision along with your dizziness, then this could indicate a medical emergency, and you should seek medical attention immediately.
- You have difficulty walking. If the sensation is severe enough to affect your ability to walk safely, this may be cause for concern as well, and it’s best to get checked out by your doctor.
No matter what, if you don’t feel well and your symptoms are persistent or severe enough to affect your daily activities, then it is always best to speak with a healthcare professional.
Of course, if your dizziness is severe, you might need to bypass your doctor and visit your nearest urgent care center.
When to Visit an Urgent Care After Dizziness
If your dizziness persists or intensifies after a few hours or after making lifestyle adjustments such as drinking fluids and reducing caffeine intake, it is wise to seek help at an urgent care center. Here are cues it’s time to go:
- When the dizziness is severe or lasts for more than a few minutes
- If you experience other symptoms along with the dizziness, such as nausea, vomiting, confusion, or difficulty speaking
- You have any existing medical conditions that may be causing your dizziness
- The dizziness is accompanied by chest pain, shortness of breath, fainting spells, or blurred vision
- Over-the-counter medications are not helping to alleviate your symptoms
- You feel like the dizziness is affecting your balance and ability to walk or stand
At the urgent care facility, medical professionals can assess your condition through physical examination and arrange for tests or scans if needed. They may also prescribe medications that will reduce dizziness and enable you to function normally again.
Unfortunately, it might be time to brave the ER if your dizziness has progressed to the following stage.
When to Visit the Emergency Room after Dizziness
If you are experiencing dizziness and other unusual symptoms, it is essential to seek medical attention immediately. If you have:
- Blurry vision
- Slurred speech
- Numbness or pain in your arms
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
These symptoms can all indicate a serious health concern, particularly if you are over 60 and the vertigo-like sensation lingers for more than a few hours.
As we age, feeling dizzy or losing balance can sometimes signal a stroke with reduced blood flow to the brain, requiring urgent medical attention.
In addition, if you are also experiencing high blood pressure in combination with dizziness, it’s time to get yourself immediately to the emergency room.
Is it Time to Do Something About Your Dizziness?
If you experience dizziness, it might be time to talk with your doctor about potential causes and treatments. Dizziness can have a number of underlying causes that require medical attention, and many of these conditions can be treated effectively if caught early.
Don’t wait until it’s too late – visit your doctor provider to regain control of your health and well-being.