Conditions & Symptoms
Dizziness & Fainting
Dizziness is a common condition that causes many people to visit their doctors. It can result in a range of sensations — feeling faint, woozy, lightheaded, or unsteady. With certain conditions, dizziness and fainting can occur together.
Understanding Dizziness & Fainting
Experiencing frequent dizzy spells can greatly affect your ability to live and enjoy your life. Though many causes of dizziness are not dangerous, it can sometimes indicate a deeper issue or condition that requires treatment. It is important to reach out to your doctor if you are experiencing bouts of dizziness.
Fainting (also known as syncope) is when you lose consciousness for a brief period of time. Your brain depends on your heart pumping oxygenated blood to it, and many heart conditions prevent the heart from pumping blood and oxygen effectively. When fainting happens as a result of a heart problem, it is called cardiac syncope.
Cardiac Issues That Can Cause Dizziness and Fainting
- Arrhythmia: Arrhythmia is an irregular heartbeat. Your heart may beat too fast or too slow. It is caused by issues with the heart's electrical system and can cause dizziness, lightheadedness, shortness of breath, or fainting.
- Cardiomyopathy: This heart muscle disease makes it harder for your heart to pump blood. It can lead to heart failure. Symptoms can include dizziness, fainting, and trouble breathing.
- Heart attack: If you have a heart attack, there may not be enough blood flow to your brain. This can lead to dizziness, lightheadedness, or fainting.
- Aortic valve stenosis: This condition is a type of heart valve disease in which the valve between the heart and the aorta is narrowing. It can be present at birth or develop as you age.
- Transient ischemic attack (TIA): A TIA is a mini stroke caused by a blood clot that blocks off a blood vessel to the brain. It is temporary and causes no permanent damage.
Treating Dizziness and Fainting
The treatment for fainting and dizziness will depend on the cause. Treatments may include testing deemed appropriate by your provider, including but not limited to:
- Lab work
- Heart monitoring devices