Almost half of all Americans, in their lifetime, will experience dizziness or balance symptoms severe enough to visit a doctor. Dizziness can describe many sensations – spinning, lightheadedness, unsteadiness, floating or even fainting – and are symptoms of a problem with the brain's normal receiving and processing signals from our eyes, inner ears and nervous system.
At the Utah Valley Balance Center, our highly qualified and experienced therapists and audiologists work with patients to evaluate the source of their dizziness and balance problems and provide a treatment plan to provide relief.
The onset of dizziness symptoms can be upsetting, and sometimes even incapacitating. Although it's rare for a serious condition to be the cause of your symptoms, accurate diagnosis of the underlying cause of the symptoms requires medical professional expertise.
Due to the complexity of the balance system in the body, a team of medical professions from a variety of backgrounds may be called upon to perform tests and assist in the evaluation and treatment.
Is it an emergency? If you experience sudden, severe dizziness along with any of the following, seek medical attention immediately!
- Significant head injury
- New, different or severe headache
- Very stiff neck
- Blurred vision
- Sudden hearing loss
- One side of the face droops
- Trouble speaking
- Leg or arm weakness
- Loss of consciousness
- Falling or difficulty walking
- Chest pain
- Rapid or slow heart rate
The following risk factors increase the chance of becoming dizzy and having balance problems.
- Age and/or medications: When older than 65, one is more likely to have medical conditions or take medications that predispose them to having dizziness.
- Previous episodes of dizziness: Those who have a history of dizziness are more likely to have future episodes.
Tests and Diagnosis
In addition to your physician’s physical examination, you may need to undergo testing to provide the necessary information to accurately determine the cause of your symptoms:
Before Your Appointment
- Complete a dizziness questionnaire ahead of time. A copy can be mailed or email to you, or you can download it here.
- Bring a list of all medications (including over-the-counter medications), and any vitamins or other supplements you might be taking.
- Be prepared to share any health conditions or symptoms you have, even if they seem unrelated to your dizziness.
- For some tests, your physician may direct you to restrict food and some medications for a brief time prior to testing.
- Prepare to describe your symptoms in details, describing them in specific terms.