Dizziness is a common complaint with many possible causes

Dr. Jeff Hersh

Q: When my cousin developed dizziness and nausea she went to the emergency room and they told her she bad benign vertigo. She got better with their treatments and was discharged with a prescription. When my dad developed similar symptoms we eventually took him to the ER and they said he had a stroke and admitted him. How can the diagnosis be so different?

A: Dizziness is a common complaint, accounting for more than two out of every 100 ER visits. Although anyone can get episodes of dizziness, it is more common with age, eventually occurring in over 40 percent of people over age 40. Not all “dizziness” is the same. Some people describe “lightheadedness” as dizziness, while others describe vertigo, a feeling of movement, either of the patient themselves or their surroundings. We have all had this feeling when we spun ourselves around as part of a child’s game.

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