Harvard Women's Health Watch

What you can do for dizzy spells

When you sense the ground spinning under your feet, it could be vertigo. But there may be a simple remedy.

An episode of dizziness is one of the things most likely to drive you to the doctor—and for good reason. The sense that you're literally losing your footing can be terrifying.

As medical director of the vestibular diagnostic laboratory at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, Dr. Richard Lewis sees a lot of dizzy people. He says that when people say they feel dizzy, it could mean that they have vertigo (an illusion of motion, usually spinning). But it could also mean that they have a balance problem or a feeling of faintness that is usually due to low blood pressure (see "Dizziness without the spin"). And while each of those problems has a different origin and a different treatment, generally they are not serious or life-threatening.

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