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Understanding Vertigo: When to Seek Neurological Care for Dizziness

May 14, 2024
Understanding Vertigo: When to Seek Neurological Care for Dizziness
Getting dizzy as a child — whirling or spinning — was fun. But as an adult, dizziness and a problem called vertigo, in which you feel as though the room is spinning, can be dangerous. Here’s when to see a doctor.

Vertigo is the sensation of dizziness that may come on without warning. Vertigo in adults is often accompanied by the sensation that you are in motion or are spinning, even when you’re still.


About 35% of people over age 40 experience vertigo or another vestibular disorder at some point in their lives. Vertigo and dizziness put you at increased risk for fall, which could lead to a serious fracture or even early death.

At Advanced Medical Care, with offices in Forest Hills, Queens, and Brighton Beach, Brooklyn, New York, our neurologists take dizziness seriously. 

Vertigo is a symptom of an underlying problem. When is dizziness normal and when should you seek medical care? Use this guide to help you understand when medical intervention is necessary.

Is your vertigo recent?

If your world has just started spinning, your vertigo may be a sign of an impending stroke. Symptoms and sensations that could indicate your vertigo is related to stroke risk include:

  • Dizziness
  • Lightheadedness
  • Loss of balance
  • Floating feeling
  • Rocking sensation

Call us or go at once to the emergency room if you experience sudden-onset vertigo accompanied by other symptoms such as an inability to walk.

If you’ve suffered from intermittent dizziness or vertigo for years, you may not be at increased risk for a stroke. However, if you haven’t yet found an underlying cause for your vertigo, consult one of our neurologists so you can get the treatment you need.

Is your vertigo accompanied by hearing loss?

If you feel dizzy and also suddenly lose your ability to hear, call us immediately or head straight to the emergency room. If you don’t get treatment in time, you could lose your hearing permanently.

Other symptoms that suggest you need immediate medical attention include:

  • Clumsiness
  • Weakness
  • Numbness
  • Facial droop
  • Hiccups
  • Slurred speech
  • Swallowing problems
  • Nausea

Also consult a doctor if you have new neck pain or a new headache. If you suffer from migraines, dizziness may be one of your recurrent symptoms.

Do you have hypertension or diabetes?

You’re more at risk for vertigo if you’re older or have a chronic condition. Both hypertension and diabetes are associated with an increased risk of vertigo. 

Your body may not be getting enough oxygen or energy to function properly. If an underlying condition is at the root of your vertigo, we partner with your primary care doctor or specialist to manage or resolve it.

Did you take a fall, or are you at risk for one?

A spell of dizziness as an older adult could lead to a broken hip, wrist, or a concussion. This is an even more urgent situation if you’ve been diagnosed with osteopenia or osteoporosis or if you’ve previously fallen or fractured a bone.

Does your vertigo last for seconds? Or hours?

The longer vertigo lasts, the more serious it may be. If you feel slightly lightheaded when you stand up after a long period of sitting, you may quickly recover. Or you may feel dizzy after exercising if you didn’t hydrate sufficiently. 

However, if your vertigo is a chronic condition, you may have Meniere’s disease or another disorder. You shouldn’t tolerate vertigo or dizziness that lasts for hours or days at a time. Recurrent dizziness isn’t normal and should be diagnosed and treated.

Treatment depends on the underlying cause

If you have episodes of vertigo, they could have a number of different causes, including:

  • Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV)
  • Meniere's disease
  • Vestibular neuritis
  • Labyrinthitis
  • Inner ear infections
  • Cardiovascular problems
  • Neurological problems
  • Stress

Effective treatment begins with a thorough workup and diagnosis. You don’t have to live with dizziness, vertigo, or the increased risk for falls that they bring. Contact the caring team of neurologists at Advanced Medical Care today for a vertigo diagnosis and treatment plan.

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At Advanced Medical Care, care is not just a part of our name — it is in our hearts. Our providers strive to put our patients first and find solutions to meet their needs on every level. If you’re ready to start improving your health, we encourage you to schedule an appointment at our office in Queens or Brooklyn.