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Dizziness, Nonvertigo

  • Cynthia M. Johnson, MA
Publication Type:


Dizziness, Nonvertigo

(Nonvertigo Dizziness)


Dizziness is a feeling of lightheadedness or weakness. A person may also feel like they are going to faint. It can happen for a short time or happen often and get in the way of daily activities.

It is not the same as vertigo, which is a feeling that the room is spinning.


Dizziness may be caused by:

It may also be caused by certain medicines, such as:

  • Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors
  • Calcium channel blockers
  • Nitrates
  • Antipsychotics
  • Tricyclic antidepressants
  • Monoamine oxidase inhibitors
Blood Flow to the Brain.

In some cases, dizziness may be due to decreased blood flow to the brain.

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Risk Factors

The risk of dizziness is higher in people who have any of the health problems that cause it. The risk is also higher for people who take certain medicines.


A person may have:

  • Lightheadedness
  • Balance problems
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Headache
  • Vision or hearing problems
  • Fast heartbeat


The doctor will ask about symptoms and health history. A physical exam will be done.

Blood tests may be done to look for a cause.

Images may be taken. This can be done with:

Other tests may be done, such as:

  • Tilt table test to see how a change in position affects heart and blood pressure
  • Hearing and vision tests
  • EKG to test the electrical activity of the heart


Treatment will focus on the cause. This may ease dizziness.

It may take time for treatment to work. It may not ease all dizziness. A person can avoid injury by sitting down as soon as dizziness is felt.


Prevention will depend on the cause. Managing chronic health problems may lower the risk.

When Should I Call My Doctor?

Call your doctor if you have:

  • Dizziness that increases or gets worse
  • Signs of an infection, such as fever or chills
  • Concern that your medicine may be causing dizziness
  • Hearing loss
  • A headache that happens with dizziness
  • Other symptoms that happen with dizziness




  • Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV). ENThealth—American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery website. Available at: https://www.enthealth.org/conditions/benign-paroxysmal-positional-vertigo-bppv.
  • Dizziness in adults—approach to the patient. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/approach-to/dizziness-in-adults-approach-to-the-patient.
  • Muncie, H.L., Sirmans, S.M., et al. Dizziness: approach to evaluation and management. American Family Physician, 2017; 95 (3): 154-162.
  • Stroke symptoms. American Stroke Association website. Available at: http://www.strokeassociation.org/STROKEORG/WarningSigns/Stroke-Warning-Signs-and-Symptoms_UCM_308528_SubHomePage.jsp.


  • James P. Cornell, MD
Last Updated:

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.