Generally, high blood pressure doesn’t cause any symptoms. But if you’re experiencing dizziness and you’ve been diagnosed with high blood pressure, it’s important to reach out to your healthcare provider, as this could be a side effect of blood pressure medication.
If your dizziness comes on suddenly and you’re experiencing other symptoms, such as loss of balance or coordination, seek immediate medical attention, as these may be signs of a stroke. In this article, we’ll explore what causes dizziness, as well as preventing and managing it.
Can High Blood Pressure Cause Dizziness?
Hypertension can cause dizziness for some people. However, some medications used to treat high blood pressure can also cause dizziness as a side effect. It’s important to speak with your provider about any symptoms you experience after starting new medication.
In rare but more serious cases, dizziness can also be a warning sign of a stroke, especially if it comes on suddenly. Since high blood pressure is a risk factor for stroke, you shouldn’t ignore feelings of dizziness if you have high blood pressure—whether you take medication or not. If you experience dizziness that comes on suddenly, loss of balance or coordination, and/or difficulty walking or talking, it’s important to seek emergency medical attention.
Other Conditions that Cause Dizziness
Dizziness is a symptom that can be caused by many different conditions. There are also different types of dizziness, including vertigo, disequilibrium (feeling like you’re about to fall), presyncope (feeling like you’re about to faint), and lightheadedness.
Different conditions can cause different types of dizziness. Some common conditions that can cause dizziness include:
- Dysfunction of the vestibular system
- Changes in blood pressure
- Low blood pressure
- Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV)
- Ménière disease
- Atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries)
- Psychological disorders
- Inner ear infections
- Heart problems (including cardiomyopathy, heart attack, heart arrhythmia, and stroke)
- Blood loss
Risks of Untreated Dizziness
Because there are so many possible causes of dizziness, the risks of untreated dizziness vary from mild to severe. In serious cases, leaving your symptoms untreated can lead to problems with your heart and central nervous system, including your brain. If you’re experiencing dizziness that won’t go away or is accompanied by other symptoms, it’s important to reach out to your healthcare provider to identify the root cause and right treatment plan.
Strategies to manage dizziness vary depending on the cause of your dizziness. In some cases, your provider may recommend lifestyle changes, such as drinking adequate fluids and rest. In other cases, medications may be recommended.
Dizziness cannot always be prevented. However, there are some things you can do to reduce the risk of feeling dizzy.
Get enough sleep
One study suggests that sleep quality can affect certain disease subtypes associated with dizziness, including psychogenic dizziness. These findings suggest that getting regular, quality sleep may help to prevent certain types of dizziness.
Drinking plenty of fluids, such as water and other non-caffeinated beverages, can help prevent dehydration, which can cause dizziness.
Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and tobacco
Alcohol in the blood can cause dizziness and affect inner ear balance. Tobacco and caffeine can also cause dizziness in some people, which is why avoiding both can help prevent dizziness.
Manage stress levels
Acute and chronic stress can lead to feelings of lightheadedness and hyperventilation. Finding ways to safely and reliably manage your stress levels can help prevent these symptoms.
Controlling your blood pressure
High and low blood pressure can both cause dizziness or equilibrium problems, so controlling your blood pressure can help prevent these symptoms. There are many habits you can form—including regularly measuring your blood pressure and maintaining an active lifestyle—to help control your blood pressure.
Eat a healthy diet
Eating a healthy diet can help keep your blood sugar levels stable and reduce feelings of vertigo, especially in the elderly. Research suggests that eating adequate amounts of fiber and reducing fat and carbohydrate intake may help to prevent dizziness and the harmful effects of high levels of triglycerides on the inner ear.
When to See a Medical Provider
You should reach out to your healthcare provider if you’re experiencing severe or prolonged dizziness that doesn’t go away on its own.
Additional symptoms that warrant medical attention include:
- Sudden, severe headache
- Chest pain
- Difficulty breathing
- Numbness or paralysis of arms or legs
- Rapid or irregular heartbeat
- Confusion or slurred speech
- Stumbling or difficulty walking
- Ongoing vomiting
- A sudden change in vision or hearing
- Facial numbness or weakness
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Frequently Asked Questions
K Health articles are all written and reviewed by MDs, PhDs, NPs, or PharmDs and are for informational purposes only. This information does not constitute and should not be relied on for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment.
K Health has strict sourcing guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We avoid using tertiary references.
Association between complaints of dizziness and hypertension in non-institutionalized elders. (2013.)
Differential diagnosis and treatment of vertigo in hypertensive patients. (2005.)
Is there a Possible Association between Dietary Habits and Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo in the Elderly? The Importance of Diet and Counseling. (2015.)
Managing High Blood Pressure. (2020.)
Older Adults and Balance Problems. (2022.)
Relationship between sleep quality and dizziness. (2018.)
The Relationship Between Fatigue and Cardiac Functioning. (2009.)
What are the Symptoms of High Blood Pressure? (2016.)