Dizziness - Diagnosis

Not ready to share? Read other Patient Comments

Please describe your diagnosis of your dizziness.

Share your story with others:

MedicineNet appreciates your comment. Your comment may be displayed on the site and will always be published anonymously.Patient Comments FAQs

Enter your Comment

Tell us a bit about your background to make your comments more useful to other MedicineNet users. (Optional)

Screen Name: *

Gender of Patient: Male Female

Age Range of Patient:

I am a: Patient Caregiver

* Screen Name will appear next to the published comment. Please do not include your full name or email address.

By submitting your comment, and other materials (collectively referred to as a "Submission") to MedicineNet, you grant MedicineNet permission to use, copy, transmit, publish, display, edit and modify your Submission in connection with its Web site. MedicineNet will not pay you for your Submission. You represent that you have all rights necessary for MedicineNet to use your Submission as set forth above.

Please keep these guidelines in mind when writing your comment:

  • Please make sure you address the question asked.
  • Due to the overwhelming number of comments received, not all comments will be published.
  • When selecting comments to publish, our staff will choose those that are educational and complement the topic. Please try to stay on topic.
  • Your comment may be edited. We would typically edit comments to make them clearer and more readable. We will remove personal information such as last names, email and web addresses, and other potentially harmful information.
  • We will not notify you if your comment has been published. We suggest that you check back on the topic article regularly.
  • We do not provide medical or healthcare advice, treatment, or diagnosis.

Thank you for participating!

I have read and agree to abide by the MedicineNet Terms and Conditions and the MedicineNet Privacy Policy (required).

To prevent our systems from spam, please complete the following prior to submitting your comment.

Please select the white square:

How is dizziness diagnosed?

The diagnosis of dizziness begins with the health care professional evaluating whether the complaint of dizziness refers to lightheadedness or vertigo. Further direction continues once this distinction is made.

The key to the diagnosis of dizziness is a thorough history and physical examination. Often the diagnosis is made by listening to the patient's story. The health care professional may ask about triggers that cause and relieve the symptoms of dizziness.

  • "Is it related to changing positions quickly?"
  • "Does it resolve on its own or does the patient have to do something, like lie down to make it better?"
  • "Does turning the head bring on the symptoms? Do they resolve when the patient is very still?"
  • "Is there associated hearing loss or ringing in the ears?"

A review of systems is a series of questions that review the patient's body functions. Questions may be asked about associated symptoms including fever, vomiting, diarrhea, chest pain, shortness of breath, palpitations, or abnormal bleeding. The past medical history may be reviewed, and this includes reviewing medications the patient is currently taking.

A thorough physical examination will likely be done; this may include:

Vital signs: Taking the patient's blood pressure and pulse rate lying down and standing (called orthostatic or postural vital signs) often will indicate the fluid status of the body. In patients who are dehydrated or bleeding, the vital signs may rise on changing position. However, patients taking medications such as beta blockers will not generate an increased pulse rate.

Tailored physical examination: Often, the physical examination is tailored to the patient based upon the information provided in the patient's medical history. For example, a woman with a heavy menstrual period may need a pelvic examination, or a patient with cough and shortness of breath may need a closer examination of the heart and lungs. A patient thought to have vertigo will have closer focus on the neurologic exam, including the cerebellum, the portion of hte brain responsible for balance and coordination.

Imaging studies and blood tests: The need for imaging studies and/or and blood tests will depend on the concerns the health care professional and patient have in regard to the cause of the dizziness. Common tests that may be ordered include:

  • Complete blood count (CBC) to screen for anemia or infection
  • Electrolyte levels
  • Blood sugar tests
  • Kidney function tests
  • Thyroid tests

X-rays, CT scans, and MRI may be indicated depending upon the patient's needs.

Return to Dizziness

See what others are saying

Comment from: ninkinindy, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: May 21

When I"m dizzy if I close my eyes it feels like everything around me is moving; side to side and up and down. It feels like I"m on a boat with rough seas. I have some or all of the following: headache, blurred/double vision, poor balance - I look like I"m drunk; I am sweaty, very spacy, very shaky, and can"t think or remember. The doctor sent me to the emergency room (ER) for blood work and an MRI which was, thankfully, normal. Diagnosis was vertigo. I"d had some of the symptoms off and on for months, and couldn"t figure out why I felt so bad. I have many medical problems but none that would account for this. No medicines were prescribed, but ER doctor suggested Benadryl if symptoms got bad again. Last few days I"ve felt relatively normal. I"ve been referred to a neurologist. I"ve been told there"s not a lot that can be done for vertigo, but I"ll appreciate any relief.

Was this comment helpful?Yes
Comment from: radha, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: May 21

I feel spaced out for a split second, while sitting, walking, talking, etc. Sometimes my vision gets blurred. This has been continuing for a week now. Six months back I had sustained a blunt head injury.

Was this comment helpful?Yes


Get the latest health and medical information delivered direct to your inbox!