Dizziness Nonvertigo



Dizziness may be caused by:

  • A drop in blood pressure when standing— this is called orthostatic hypotension
  • Problems with the nerves
  • Health problems that affect how the heart pumps blood to the body
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Alcohol use disorder or illegal drug use
  • Infection or fever
  • Brain injury
  • Low blood sugar—also called hypoglycemia
  • Anemia

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
Nucleus factsheet image
In some cases, dizziness may be due to decreased blood flow to the brain.
Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

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

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

When Should I Call for Medical Help Right Away?

Call for medical help or go to the emergency room right away if you have:

  • A head injury
  • Rapid, irregular heartbeat, or chest pain
  • High fever

Call for emergency medical services right away if you or a loved one has signs of a stroke:

  • Face drooping—one side may be numb and smile is uneven
  • Arm weakness—one arm will drift down when both are raised
  • Speech problems—slurring or cannot repeat a short sentence


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:

  • CT scan
  • MRI scan

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.

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.

Edits to original content made by Denver Health.