The 3 Kinds of Dizziness

There are 3 kinds of dizziness:

  • Vertigo
  • Dysequilibrium
  • Pre-syncope

Vertigo is the most common form of dizziness. Vertigo is characterized by a sensation of motion. You might feel like the room is spinning, you might feel like the room is moving, you might feel like you are moving. These are all vertigo.

Dysequilibrium is when you bump into things without feeling particularly off-balance before-hand.

Pre-syncope is when you feel like you are about to faint. Fainting is called syncope. That’s why the feeling that you are about to faint is called pre-syncope. Some patients describe this kind of dizziness as light-headedness.


Vertigo is most often described as the room spinning, but can simply be any sensation of movement.

The causes of vertigo are divided into 2 general categories:

  • Central vertigo
  • Peripheral vertigo

Central vertigo means vertigo caused by a problem in the brain. This is very rare.

Peripheral vertigo (very common) is caused by a problem of the inner ear. There are 3 causes of peripheral vertigo:

  1. Benign Positional Vertigo (BPV)
  2. Labyrinthitis
  3. Meniere’s Disease

BPV is the most common causes of vertigo. This is an internal derangement of the inner ear. It is characterized by vertigo on moving the head. The treatment for this kind of vertigo involves medication and physical therapy.

Labyrinthitis is the second most common cause of vertigo. This is a viral infection of the inner ear. Labyrinthitis is characterized by constant vertigo, even when you’re not moving. The treatment for labyrinthitis is medication and time.

Meniere’s Disease is an uncommon, chronic condition of the inner ear which is characterized by a triad of symptoms:

  1. Vertigo
  2. Hearing Loss
  3. Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)


Dysequilibrium is usually caused by a problem in the brain. These causes are often serious, such as a brain tumor, hydrocephalus (water on the brain), and stroke. Fortunately, true dysequilibrium is rare.


Pre-syncope (feeling like you’re about to faint) has many possible causes. Some of these causes are:

  1. Low blood pressure (for example, if your blood pressure medicine dose is too high)
  2. Anemia
  3. Dehydration
By | 2018-02-03T06:12:58+00:00 October 10th, 2016|Categories: Health, Seniors, Wellness|1 Comment

One Comment

  1. Alice December 3, 2016 at 6:16 pm - Reply

    Useful article, thank you!

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