How to Overcome Dizziness

Two Parts:Overcoming Dizziness at HomeSeeking Medical Intervention

Dizziness is a general, non-specific term often used to describe a variety of associated symptoms, such as feeling faint, lightheaded, nauseous, weak or unsteady. If your dizziness is creating the sense that you or your surroundings are spinning, then that is more accurately called vertigo.[1] Dizziness is a common reason for doctor visits and is certainly uncomfortable or annoying to experience, but it's unlikely to represent a serious, life-threatening condition. There are many ways to overcome dizziness at home, but be aware of the "red flags" that signal the need for medical intervention.

Part 1
Overcoming Dizziness at Home

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    Reduce your stress or anxiety. High levels of stress can cause changes in breathing rates and hormone levels, which can lead to dizziness or feelings of light-headedness and nausea. Certain anxiety disorders, such as panic attacks or various phobias also cause dizziness.[2] As such, reduce the stress and anxiety in your life as much as you can by communicating your feelings and trying to resolve relationship conflicts. Becoming less overwhelmed may reduce your dizzy spells.
    • Sometimes a change of job, reduced hours, a different schedule or working more from home can reduce stress and anxiety issues.
    • Natural stress-relieving practices you can try at home include meditation, yoga, tai chi and deep breathing exercises. Watching how-to videos online before you start can be helpful.
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    Drink more water. Acute or chronic (long term) dehydration is also a common cause of dizziness, especially light-headedness.[3] If your body doesn't contain enough water — due to either vomiting, diarrhea, fever or not drinking enough on a hot day — then your blood becomes a little thicker and your brain doesn't get the oxygen it needs, which can lead to dizziness. Furthermore, dehydration also leads to overheating (hyperthermia), another common cause of dizziness. As such, focus on drinking more water, especially on hot and humid days, and see if that positively impacts your dizziness.
    • Aim for about 8 eight-ounce glasses of water per day (64 ounces total) if you're physically active or outside on hot days.
    • Avoid drinking alcohol and caffeinated beverages such as coffee, black tea, soda pop and energy drinks. Alcohol and caffeine are diuretics and make you urinate more often than normal.
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    Eat something easily digestible. Another common cause of dizziness, light-headedness, headaches and overall lethargy is low blood sugar levels.[4] Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia). Low blood glucose (hypoglycemia) is a common problem for diabetics who take too much insulin or people who skip breakfast and get too busy to eat the rest of the day. Your brain needs adequate glucose in the blood to function properly. As such, consider changing the amount of insulin you inject (with your doctor's approval) if you're diabetic, or eat something that your stomach / intestines can quickly digest and see if your dizziness goes away. With hypoglycemia, dizziness is often accompanied by sweating and confusion.[5]
    • Fresh sweet fruit (especially ripe bananas and blueberries), fruit juice (especially sweetened apple or grape juice), white bread, ice cream and honey are all good foods to eat to quickly raise your blood sugar level.
    • Conversely, constantly having too much sugar in the blood (hyperglycemia) can also cause dizziness due to dehydration and over-acidity.[6] Chronic hyperglycemia usually occurs in people with undiagnosed / untreated diabetes.
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    Stand up slowly. Perhaps the most common cause of short-term bouts of dizziness, especially in the elderly, is a condition called orthostatic hypotension.[7] This condition occurs in people with relatively low blood pressure (particularly the systolic number) who stand up too quickly from a supine or seated position. As they stand up quickly, there is not quite enough pressure in the arteries that supply blood to the head to compensate fast enough, so the brain gets less oxygen than it needs for a few seconds or so. The result is temporary dizziness or a feeling of faintness. If this sounds like the cause of your dizziness, then take more time while standing up and make sure you're gripping something stable to keep your balance.
    • If you're getting up from a lying position, transition to a seated position for a few moments first, before standing up.
    • Chronic hypotension may be due to taking too much blood pressure medication, muscle relaxants or vasodilators, such as Viagra and similar drugs for erectile dysfunction.
    • Peripheral nerve problems, dehydration, and other medications may also cause hypotension.
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    Get more sleep. Not getting enough sleep, either in terms of quantity or quality, is another possible cause of dizziness, brain fog and overall grogginess. Chronically poor sleeping patterns are associated with higher levels of stress, hypertension, depression, diabetes and cardiovascular disease, all of which can cause dizziness to varying degrees.[8] Sleep disruption is linked to chronic anxiety, emotional / psychological trauma, chronic pain, caffeine use, over-medication, restless legs syndrome and many other issues, such as narcolepsy and sleep apnea (heavy snoring). As such, turn off the TV or computer and go to bed a little earlier and avoid caffeinated beverages (coffee, black tea, soda pop) at least 8 hours before bedtime.
    • Sleeping late on the weekends is fine and may make you feel more rested and/or less dizzy, but you'll never be able to properly "catch up" on the sleep you lost during the work week.
    • Natural sleep aids that you can take shortly prior to bedtime include chamomile tea, valerian root extract, magnesium (relaxes muscles) and melatonin (a hormone that regulates sleep and circadian rhythms).
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    Avoid head trauma. Head trauma from car accidents and contact sports is a common cause of mild-to-moderate brain injuries, usually called contusions or concussions. The main symptoms of a concussion include dizziness, along with dull headaches, nausea, brain fog and ringing in the ears.[9] Head trauma tends to be cumulative, meaning it gets worse with each injury and builds over time, so try to reduce the risk or incidence of getting your "bell rung."
    • Sports such as boxing, football, rugby and ice hockey are particularly risky for suffering significant head trauma.
    • Always wear your seat belt while driving (prevents severe whiplash), and avoid activities that jar your head and neck such as bouncing on a trampoline, bungee jumping or going on roller-coaster rides.

Part 2
Seeking Medical Intervention

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    Ask your doctor about drug side effects and interactions. In reality, almost all medications (both over-the-counter and prescription) list dizziness as a potential side effect, but it's more common with specific types of drugs.[10] In particular, blood pressure meds, diuretics, sedatives, tranquilizers, anti-depressants, strong pain relievers and some antibiotics are most likely to cause dizziness. However, ask you family physician if any of the drugs you're taking is a likely culprit, or if the combination of your medications is a good possibility.
    • Never stop taking a medication "cold turkey" without the supervision of your doctor, even if you believe it to be the cause of your dizziness. It's better to wean yourself off and/or switch to a drug with similar actions.
    • Due to the complexities of chemical interactions in the body, it's practically impossible to predict how more than 2 medications may interact with each other.
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    Talk to your doctor about cold and flu symptoms. Viral infections that cause the common cold and flu are primarily respiratory pathogens, so most of the symptoms affect the lungs, throat, sinuses and inner ears. As such, the build-up of mucous and other fluid can clog breathing passages and/or the inner ear, leading to dizziness and loss of balance. If that's the cause of your dizziness, then simply wait it out for a few days, keep hydrated and clear your sinuses by gently blowing into a tissue or rinsing them out with warm salt water.
    • Plugging your nose and then trying to blow through it is a method of clearing out the narrow Eustachian tubes, which run from the throat to the middle ear. The tubes allow the equalization of pressure on each side of the eardrum, and dizziness or poor balance is often a consequence of having them clogged.[11]
    • Other conditions often associated with dizziness include allergies, migraine headaches and anemia (low red blood cell count).[12]
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    Get your blood pressure checked. As noted above, both low blood pressure (hypotension) and high blood pressure (hypertension) can cause dizziness, so get your family doctor to measure yours. In general, blood pressure should be below 120 (systolic) over 80 (diastolic).[13] Of the two conditions, hypertension is the more potentially dangerous and sometimes a symptom of heart disease. In fact, most serious issues with the heart, such as cardiomyopathy (diseased heart muscle), congestive heart failure and arrhythmia (irregular heart rhythms), cause hypertension and dramatically increase the risk of chronic, reoccurring dizziness.[14]
    • If you're had a mild heart attack or stroke, less blood will circulate to your brain and cause dizziness and other symptoms. Your doctor make take an electrocardiogram (ECG) to rule out a heart attack.
    • The unfortunate irony is that medication for reducing hypertension is notorious for causing dizziness.
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    Get a blood sugar test. Also as noted above, both hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia can cause dizziness. If you are a diabetic and hypoglycemic, then your doctor may adjust your insulin levels such that you're taking less. However, if you're hyperglycemic, that may be an indication you've developed diabetes. Your doctor can send you for a blood sugar test, which measures the amount of glucose — a major source of energy for the brain and most other cells in the body. Normal levels for a fasting blood glucose test are between 70-100 mg/dL.[15]
    • You can buy blood glucose monitors from pharmacies, which require you to prick your finger for a blood sample. Without fasting, normal readings should be below 125 mg/dL for a general reference.
    • Short-term hyperglycemia can also be caused by eating lots of refined sugar (called a sugar high or rush), which may lead to some dizziness.
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    Get a referral to an ear specialist. If your dizziness is significant and disabling and best described as the world is spinning around you, then your may have vertigo. Vertigo may be due to benign positional vertigo (spinning feeling that occurs with head movements), labyrinthitis (an inner ear viral infection) or Meniere's disease (build up of fluid in the inner ear).[16] Essentially, vertigo results from a change in the balance mechanism in the inner ear (vestibular system) or in the connections of that mechanism to the brain. IN short, you're vestibular system thinks you're moving, but you're not, creating a spinning feeling. However, vertigo is often self resolving as the body usually adapts to whatever is causing the problem.
    • Benign positional vertigo is often caused when crystals inside the ear become dislodged and irritate the semicircular canals.[17]
    • Sometimes vertigo is severe enough to cause nausea, vomiting, headache and loss of balance for hours at a time.
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    See an osteopath or chiropractor. Osteopaths and chiropractors are spinal specialists who focus on establishing normal motion and function of the small spinal joints that connect the vertebrae, called spinal facet joints.[18] A relatively common cause of dizziness and vertigo is jammed / misaligned / dysfunctional joints of the upper neck, typically where it attaches to the skull. Manual joint manipulation, also called an adjustment, can be used to unjam or reposition facet joints that are slightly misaligned. You can often hear a "popping" sound with a spinal adjustment.
    • Although a single spinal adjustment can sometimes completely relieve your dizziness or sense of vertigo if it's caused by upper neck issues), more than likely it will take 3-5 treatments to notice significant results.
    • Arthritis of the upper neck, especially rheumatoid arthritis, can lead to chronic bouts of dizziness.


  • The elderly are more likely to have medical problems that cause dizziness and more likely to take meds that cause dizziness.
  • Avoid driving a car or operating heavy machinery if you experience frequent bouts of dizziness or light-headedness.
  • If you suffer from dizziness, avoid consuming caffeine, alcohol and tobacco, as they can worsen your symptoms.
  • If you feel nauseous due to dizziness, keep a bucket or similar container near by in case you need to vomit.
  • Practice yoga, especially postures which put your head lower to the ground. The blood getting to your head brings relief if the cause is poor circulation or low blood pressure.
  • If you are feeling somewhat dizzy, then try and keep away from screens because it help you to look at them when they are turned on.


  • If your dizziness is severe (resulting in extreme tunnel vision, vomiting or fainting), seek medical attention immediately.
  • Speak with your doctor if the attacks are occurring on a more regular basis, as there may be a serious underlying cardiovascular cause.

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Categories: Cardiovascular Health and Blood Pressure | Ear Care