Dizziness refers to feelings of lightheadedness, vertigo, or disequilibrium:
The causes of dizziness are wide-ranging. Lightheadedness is often the result of a drop in blood pressure (orthostatic hypotension) or not enough blood flow from the heart. Heart problems, stroke, internal bleeding, and shock can all contribute. Lightheadedness also can occur with viruses, low blood sugar, allergies, and dehydration.
Vertigo is usually associated with a vestibular disorder (a dysfunction of the balance organs of the inner ear) or central vestibular disorder (a dysfunction of one or more parts of the central nervous system that help process balance and spatial information). Inflammation, fluid build-up, and infections of the inner ear are common causes of vertigo, along with a condition called benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) and migraines.
Finally, disequilibrium, or loss of balance, can be caused by inner ear problems; joint, muscle, or sensory disorders; neurological conditions; and even certain medications.
Dizziness can sometimes indicate a more serious health problem, so it's important to seek medical help for repeated dizzy spells. How a doctor treats dizziness will depend upon the cause and specific symptoms.
All A to Z dictionary entries are regularly reviewed by KidsHealth medical experts.
|Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) The CDC (the national public health institute of the United States) promotes health and quality of life by preventing and controlling disease, injury, and disability.|
|National Institutes of Health (NIH) NIH is an Agency under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and offers health information and scientific resources.|
|American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) The AAP is committed to the health and well-being of infants, adolescents, and young adults. The website offers news articles and tips on health for families.|
|American Academy of Family Physicians This site, operated by the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), provides information on family physicians and health care, a directory of family physicians, and resources on health conditions.|
|I Got Dizzy Playing Sports: What's Going On? Find out what the experts have to say.|
|Fainting Fainting is pretty common in teens. The good news is that most of the time it's not a sign of something serious.|
|First Aid: Fainting Fainting is a loss of consciousness that can be caused by many things. Here's what to do if your child faints or is about to faint.|
|When Blood Sugar Is Too Low Hypoglycemia is the medical word for low blood sugar level. It needs to be treated right away. Learn more about what to do when blood sugar is too low in this article for kids.|
|When Blood Sugar Is Too Low When blood glucose levels drop too low, it's called hypoglycemia. Very low blood sugar levels can cause severe symptoms that need to be treated right away.|
|Migraines: What a Pain! A migraine is a really bad kind of headache. Find out more in this article for kids.|
|Stroke A stroke means that something has stopped the normal blood flow to the brain. Find out more in this article for kids.|
|Balance Disorders Most kids stumble and fall from time to time, but a child who continually loses his or her balance might have a balance disorder.|
|A to Z: Migraine A migraine is a recurring headache that often causes nausea, dizziness, and sensitivity to light, sound, or smell.|
|Migraine Headaches If you've ever had a migraine, you know that these headaches can cause severe pain and other symptoms. Read this article to learn about what causes migraines, migraine treatments, and lots more.|
|A to Z: Syncope (Fainting) Syncope, or fainting, is a temporary loss of consciousness caused when blood flow to the brain suddenly drops, depriving the brain of oxygen.|
|A to Z: Orthostatic Hypotension Learn about orthostatic hypotension, an abnormal drop in blood pressure that occurs when someone moves from sitting or lying down to standing up.|
|Strokes This "brain attack" happens when blood flow to the brain stops, even for a brief second. Signs and symptoms of strokes in kids are similar to those in adults.|
|Dehydration Your body is about two thirds water. When the water level dips below that level, you could be dehydrated. Read about what causes dehydration, what it does to your body, and how to prevent it.|
|What's Motion Sickness? Have you ever had motion sickness? Find out how to handle it in this article for kids.|
|Hypoglycemia When blood glucose levels drop too low, it's called hypoglycemia. Very low blood sugar levels can cause severe symptoms that require immediate treatment.|
|What Is Hypoglycemia? Lots of people wonder if they have hypoglycemia, but the condition is not common in teens. Get the facts on hypoglycemia.|
|Ototoxicity (Ear Poisoning) Learn about this side effect of taking certain medications.|
|Ear Injuries Ear injuries not only can affect a child's hearing, but sense of balance, too. That's because our ears also help keep us steady on our feet.|
|First Aid: Heat Illness In hot weather, a child's internal temperature can rise and cause heat exhaustion, which can progress to heatstroke if not treated quickly.|
|A to Z Symptoms: Fainting In most cases, fainting is not a sign of a dangerous problem, but should still be discussed with a doctor.|
|Perforated Eardrum Perforated eardrums can really hurt. And if you can't hear as well as usual, they can be scary. The good news is, most people who have them get all their hearing back eventually.|
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