You suddenly get dizzy. The cause of dizziness can range from stress to an inner ear condition. In 1 in 3 patients, a clear diagnosis is often not made. Often no clear cause is found. We tell what some of the possible causes of dizziness can be. An attack of dizziness can be very scary, but luckily there is hardly anything serious going on. About 1 in 30 GP visits are related to dizziness, and women go to the doctor twice as often as men. Sudden dizziness is more common with age.

Dizziness: What Types Are There?

It is difficult to explain dizziness. Everyone experiences different complaints. Roughly you can divide dizziness into two categories. With vertigo, it seems as if all objects are moving around you, or you feel as if you are moving. In addition, you may experience nausea and vomiting, look pale, and be anxious. Sometimes your eyeballs also move back and forth. In the second category, the light-in-your-head dizziness, as the name suggests, you have a light-headed feeling, as if you could almost pass out.

Dizziness without cause

Dizziness often occurs because the balance organ is disturbed. The vestibular organ is a small, fragile organ hidden in the inner ear. Position dizziness is sudden dizziness due to a movement of your head. Think of turning in bed, bending over, or looking up. The dizziness lasts no more than a few minutes. The complaints of an imbalanced organ of balance pass for most people.

An inflamed inner ear

A disrupted organ of balance can also result from an inflamed inner ear. With an inflamed inner ear, an attack of dizziness often lasts longer than with vertigo. If you are bothered by this, sometimes you can do nothing but lie on your bed with your eyes closed. Slowly but surely, the complaints diminish; that can sometimes take a few weeks.

Spinning vertigo due to Ménière's disease

Spinning vertigo may also be due to Ménière’s disease. Ménière’s disease is characterized by attacks of vertigo, hearing impairment, and ringing in the ears. Although the immediate cause is not clear, Ménière’s disease is likely caused by an accumulation of inner ear fluid in the inner ear. During an attack, you usually suffer from poor hearing and ringing in the ears. The disease often manifests itself in one ear. In some cases, the disease also spreads to the other ear. An attack usually lasts 20 minutes, but can also last several hours. After the attack, the complaints can remain for a few days.

Light in your head: causes

Do you feel light-headed, like you might almost pass out? Then there may be an anxiety disorder at stake. Hyperventilation from, for example, a panic attack or shallow breathing can cause dizziness. Anxiety can also make you dizzy, but it works the other way around, too: because you’re dizzy, you can get scared or panic. Even if you suffer from depression, this can be accompanied by dizziness.

The elderly may suffer from a drop in blood pressure. This can cause light-headedness after they get up from a sitting or lying position.

What is the diagnosis?

It is often difficult for a GP to make a good diagnosis quickly. As you can see, dizziness can have many different causes. In addition to the above causes, dizziness can also be related to medication use (antibiotics, painkillers, sleeping pills, and water pills, for example), high fever, migraine, heart disorder, dementia, poor vision, diabetes or alcohol, and drug use. In addition, complaints can vary widely per person.

When should I see a doctor?

Make an appointment with the doctor immediately if you suddenly get dizzy and:

  • Suddenly you have difficulty talking, swallowing or walking
  • You suddenly see double
  • You suddenly have reduced strength in your arm or leg
  • Suddenly you can hear less
  • You suddenly experience severe head or neck pain
  • You feel like you should pass out or passed out
  • You get a headache and feel sick after you’ve been in a closed, not well-ventilated area for a while
  • You have diabetes and may suffer from low blood sugar

Also go to the doctor if you get dizzy and:

  • You are over 65 years old
  • You have an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases, such as diabetes
  • You have previously had a stroke or other cardiovascular disease
  • You use blood thinners
  • You experience a lot of nuisance in your daily life
  • You worry
  • Your complaints are getting worse
  • Your complaints last longer than four weeks