Dizziness is not a disease but rather a symptom that can result from a huge variety of underlying disorders or, in some cases, no disorder at all. Readily determining its cause and how best to treat it — or whether to let it resolve on its own — can depend on how well patients are able to describe exactly how they feel during a dizziness episode and the circumstances under which it usually occurs.
Dr. Kevin A. Kerber, an IHPI member and neurotologist at U-M, says that dizziness is one of the most common symptoms that primary care and emergency department doctors see, as common as back pain and headache. He cited a nationally representative health survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2008 in which 10 percent of adults said they had felt dizzy within the past year and had been referred to or seen by a health care specialist because of the symptom.
Typically, those reporting dizziness in the survey indicated they each had experienced three of the following different types: a spinning or vertigo sensation, including a rocking of yourself or your surroundings; a floating, spacey or tilting sensation; feeling lightheaded, without a sense of motion; feeling as if you are going to pass out or faint; blurring of your vision when you move your head; or feeling off-balance or unsteady.