Dizziness – what is behind it?

"The floor sways", "everything is spinning" or "the feeling of falling to one side" – Those affected can experience dizziness in very different ways. In this information you will learn how dizziness develops and which treatments are possible.

At a glance

Various organs and perceptions are involved in making us feel balanced: the eyes, the ears, the balance organs in the inner ears, the nervous system, the cardiovascular system and emotional sensations.

If the balance is disturbed, we perceive it as a hoax. This can manifest itself very differently. Affected persons often perceive dizziness as threatening.

Mostly, however, the cause of the hoax is harmless. It often stops on its own. Dangerous causes of dizziness are rare. To rule these out, you should consult a doctor or physician.

What is dizziness?

When our balance is disturbed, we feel unsafe in space. Walking and standing are difficult. Often other complaints are added, for example sweating, nausea or vomiting. Visual or hearing disorders are also possible. Dizziness is often experienced by sufferers as frightening. General practitioners or family doctors indicate that about every 13. Patient or patient visits her practice because of dizziness. Older people report dizziness more frequently than younger people.

How dizziness arises?

Different senses provide information to the brain in which position the body is located in space. The following are involved: vision, balance perception in the inner ears, and tactile and depth sensation in the skin, muscles and joints. When these senses send different information, the brain gets "confused". Sometimes the cause lies in the brain itself: It no longer processes sensory impressions correctly. This is the case, for example, when it is not properly supplied with blood, lacks nutrients or is affected by toxins. Also the mental feeling has an influence on whether we feel in the balance or not. So dizziness can have many different causes.

What the doctor should know

From the type and duration of the vertigo, the doctor can well deduce what the cause is. Therefore, describe your hoax as precisely as possible:

How do you feel about the dizziness?

"Like being on a merry-go-round" – spinning dizziness

"Like boating, swaying"

"I feel dizzy."

"I am uncertain when I walk, my head is clear."

How long does the scam last?

  • Seconds, minutes, hours, days or longer?
  • Does it recur or does it persist permanently?

What else can be important:

Some head movements, physical exertion or raising the body from a lying position can cause dizziness, as can new glasses, certain medications and metabolic diseases such as diabetes. Also tell your doctor if you have any other symptoms, such as vomiting, hearing problems, heart palpitations, or a sad mood.


After the doctor has questioned you in detail, he or she examines you physically. This includes, for example: Looking at your movements, eyes, ears, and cervical spine; taking your blood pressure and pulse; and running various tests to check your brain and nervous system. Often, after questioning and physical examination, it is possible to tell what triggers the vertigo. Rarely, additional technical examinations or referral to a specialist are necessary.

What does the doctor or physician conclude from this?

In about half of those affected, the doctor or physician does not find a physical cause. Then, for example, come into question:

Age-related vertigo: With age, organs and perceptions important for balance can change, for example, the eyes, the ears or the nerve sensitivity of the legs.

Psychogenic vertigoIt occurs in the case of mental stress such as family and professional problems. It is often experienced as light-headedness and can occur along with an anxiety disorder or depression. Other signs such as vomiting tend not to occur.

If the doctor finds a physical cause, the most common cause is dizziness Benign positional vertigo before. This spinning dizziness occurs in fits and starts several times a day for days to weeks at a time. It lasts from a few seconds to minutes. Triggers are rapid movements of the head, for example when getting out of bed. Caused by tiny "ear stones, which cause confusion in the organ of equilibrium. More rare causes of spinning dizziness are other diseases in the inner ear or brain, for example inflammation or migraine.

Cardiovascular diseases, circulatory disorders in the brain (strokes), hypoglycemia, problems with the cervical spine, nerve damage and poisoning can also trigger dizziness.


Dizziness is unpleasant and interferes with everyday life. However, it is rarely dangerous. In this case, specialists should take care of him or her.

Often, no treatment is necessary. The body slowly gets used to the dizziness on its own. Then the complaints stop.

Medication against dizziness should be taken only for a short time, if at all. While they may temporarily relieve symptoms. But only without medication can the body adapt to dizziness in the long term.

For some types of vertigo, symptoms can be specifically improved:

psychogenic vertigo: psychological and medication support

Age-related vertigo: early balance training and physiotherapy

benign positional vertigo: certain movement technique (Positioning maneuvers) learn

What you can do yourself

If the dizziness is new, persists for a long time or is very severe, you should consult a doctor.

Describe your dizziness and other symptoms as accurately as possible. The doctor can deduce the cause from your description.

Try to stay calm and be patient. The vertigo usually stops on its own.

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