When Seniors Need to Seek Treatment for Dizziness

Nick Rosen, MD
Medically reviewed by Nick Rosen, MDJanuary 21st, 2021
dizzy senior

There’s nothing worse than frequent dizzy spells, especially if you have no idea what’s causing them. Are you simply tired and maybe a little dehydrated, or is there a more serious underlying condition at play? The answer depends on a number of factors, from how frequent your spells are to other health concerns you may have. So, read on for our guide to dizziness, including common causes and advice on when to seek treatment.

Does All Dizziness Point to Vertigo?

It’s a commonly held belief that dizziness points to vertigo, but in reality, vertigo is just one type of dizziness that you can experience. Dizziness from vertigo creates the feeling that you or the room around you is moving/spinning, creating a disorienting feeling of imbalance that often leads to nausea. But dizziness is also marked by simple lightheadedness, unsteadiness, and weakness, all of which can be attributed to other underlying causes. This distinction is important to make because dizziness is often a symptom of another condition that should be addressed.

Common Causes of Dizziness

So, what conditions should you be on the lookout for when experiencing dizziness? Here are some of the most common culprits:

Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV)

BPPV is the most common cause of dizziness in people over the age of 65. On its own, it’s not a huge cause for concern, but it’s important to note that this condition can increase the risk of falls, which are the leading cause of both fatal and non-fatal injuries in older adults. If you’re mobility impaired or generally unsteady on your feet and experiencing dizziness, be sure to talk to your doctor to see if BPPV treatment could help reduce your risk of falling.

Circulation Issues

Problems with circulation, including both poor circulation and low blood pressure, can also lead to dizziness. Orthostatic hypotension—a drop in systolic blood pressure after standing up too quickly—can make you feel faint or lightheaded. And cardiomyopathy, heart arrhythmias, heart attack, and transient ischemic attacks can also cause dizziness, sometimes by interrupting the flow of blood to the brain/inner ear. These issues present their own health concerns—but when it comes to the symptom of dizziness, the most important consideration is the increased risk of falls they present.

Neurological Conditions

Did you know that dizziness and/or loss of balance can be symptomatic of neurological conditions such as Parkinson’s disease and multiple sclerosis? If your dizziness is paired with tremors, slowed movement, rigidity in your muscles, or speech changes, it could be Parkinson’s. And multiple sclerosis symptoms, along with dizziness, also include vision problems, slurred speech, and numbness/weakness in limbs on one side of the body.

Low Iron/Blood Sugar

Frequent dizziness, along with fatigue, pale skin, and weakness, can point to anemia—a condition marked by too few red blood cells, which are essential for oxygenating the blood. If you’re experiencing any of these other symptoms, you might have an iron deficiency.

Low blood sugar can also cause dizziness. This is mostly experienced by people with diabetes who take insulin. Paired with sweating and anxiety, dizzy spells could mean that your blood sugar levels need attention.

When to Seek Treatment for Dizziness

If your dizzy spells are becoming more frequent, sudden, severe, or prolonged, it’s a good idea to see a doctor. Aside from the fact that dizziness can be symptomatic of a serious condition that warrants medical attention, it can also increase your risk of a fall—something that shouldn’t be taken lightly, especially if you’re already mobility impaired.


But mobility impaired individuals often have a hard time getting to the doctor’s office, which sometimes results in delaying important medical care. That’s where DispatchHealth steps in! We offer the same-day medical attention you need within the comfort of your own home. Requesting care is easy—simply give us a call, download our app, or request care on our website, and we’ll arrive on your doorstep within a few hours equipped with most of the gear you’ll find in an emergency room. We accept most major forms of medical insurance, too—including Medicare and Medicaid—and offer an affordable flat rate for uninsured patients. Feel free to get in touch with us anytime to seek quick, convenient care for your dizzy spells!


DispatchHealth relies only on authoritative sources, including medical associations, research institutions, and peer-reviewed medical studies.

Sources referenced in this article:

  1. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/dizziness/symptoms-causes/syc-20371787
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4306472/
  3. https://www.parentgiving.com/elder-care/vertigo-and-preventing-falls-among-seniors/
  4. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/vertigo/symptoms-causes/syc-20370055
  5. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28718303/
  6. https://www.ncoa.org/news/resources-for-reporters/get-the-facts/falls-prevention-facts/
  7. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/parkinsons-disease/symptoms-causes/syc-20376055
  8. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/multiple-sclerosis/symptoms-causes/syc-20350269
  9. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/anemia/symptoms-causes/syc-20351360
The DispatchHealth blog provides tips, tricks and advice for improving lives through convenient, comfortable healthcare.

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