Fall Because of Dizziness, Weakness, or Loss of Balance

The symptoms that led to your fall have been evaluated. Your healthcare provider feels it's safe for you to return home.

Many things can cause you to become dizzy. Everyone means a little something different by the word dizzy. People may describe their symptoms using these words:

  • It doesn’t feel right in my head

  • It feels like spinning in my head

  • It seems like the room is spinning

  • My balance feels off

  • I feel lightheaded, like I am going to pass out

All these descriptions can have real causes. 

Your main balance mechanism is in your inner ear. Anything disturbing it can make you feel dizzy, whether it's from a cold, an injury, or many other things. Anything that causes your blood pressure to drop suddenly can make you feel lightheaded, or like you are going to faint. This is because at that moment there might not be enough blood flowing to your brain. Causes include:

  • Medicines

  • Dehydration

  • Standing up or bending over too quickly

  • Becoming overheated

  • Taking a hot shower or bath

  • Straining hard while lifting something or using the toilet

  • Strokes, heart attack, heart valve disease, very slow or very fast heart rate

  • Low blood sugar

  • Ear infection

  • Hyperventilation

  • Anemia (low red blood cell levels)

  • Injury

  • Infection

  • Panic attack

  • Pregnancy

You may be at risk of repeat falls. Take precautions described below to prevent another fall.

Home care

  • If you become lightheaded or dizzy, lie down immediately or sit and lean forward with your head down. It's better to do this than fall and seriously hurt or injure yourself.

  • Rest today. When changing position, take a moment to be sure any dizziness goes away before standing and walking.

  • If you have been prescribed a walker, be sure to use it whenever you walk, even if it's a short distance.

  • If you were injured during the fall, follow the advice from your healthcare provider regarding care of your injury.

  • Tell your healthcare provider about all the medicines, herbs, vitamins, and supplements you take. Some medicines can cause dizziness.

  • Cut back on alcohol use.

  • Don't drive until your healthcare provider says it's OK. You don't want to have a dizzy spell when you' re driving.

Follow-up care

Unless you're given other advice, call your primary healthcare provider on the next office day to advise of your fall and to schedule a follow-up appointment. You may need further treatment for the underlying condition that caused today’s fall.

If X-ray or a CT scan were done, you'll be told of the results, especially if it affects treatment.

Call 911

Call 911 if any of these occur:

  • Trouble breathing

  • Confused or trouble arousing

  • Fainting or loss of consciousness

  • Rapid or very slow heart rate

  • Seizure

  • Trouble with speech or vision, weakness of an arm or leg

  • Trouble walking or talking, loss of balance

  • Numbness or weakness in 1 side of your body, facial droop

When to get medical advice

Call your healthcare provider right away if any of these occur:

  • Another fall

  • More dizzy spells

  • Severe headache

  • Blood in vomit or stools (black or red color)

© 2000-2022 The StayWell Company, LLC. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.
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