Potential Cardiac Causes of Dizziness

From medication to inner-ear infection to anxiety, there are many reasons why most people experience episodes of dizziness at some point in their lives. Most of the time, the causes for dizziness are not life-threatening. However, episodes of dizziness can indicate a problem with blood flowing to the brain due to one of several heart conditions.

Blood pressure

A number of different problems with blood pressure can cause dizziness, including low or high blood pressure and a change in pressure upon standing or sitting up.

Irregular heart rhythms

When your heart rhythm is abnormal, blood cannot circulate efficiently. At times, dizziness is one of the noticeable symptoms that patients experience. Left untreated, arrhythmia increases risk of stroke and heart attack. 

Stroke or mini-stroke

Strokes and transient ischemic attacks (mini-strokes) are defined by a blockage that stops blood flow to the brain. In TIA, the blockage is temporary and smaller but can still cause dizziness. 


The thickening or hardening of artery walls makes it harder for your heart to pump blood to your brain. This can result in a lack of oxygen-rich blood and subsequent dizziness.

Heart attack

Dizziness can be a symptom of heart attack. Other symptoms include chest pain, shortness of breath, or pain in the jaw or down the arm. A combination of these is cause for immediate medical attention.

When a patient reports dizzy spells, doctors will do a full exam and begin investigating potential causes for it, including possible cardiac causes. Dizziness may be the first indication of a condition that needs treatment, but the good news is that many of these cardiac conditions are easily treated. 

Intense episodes of dizziness, especially if they involve fainting, are cause for immediate medical attention. If they are accompanied by chest pain, shortness of breath, or other signs of heart attack or stroke, call 911 immediately. If you do not need immediate medical attention but are experiencing dizziness on a regular basis, schedule an appointment with one of our specialists to help diagnose the root cause.