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Does dizziness mean I have multiple sclerosis (MS)?

ANSWER

Is the room spinning? Multiple sclerosis (MS) can make you feel lightheaded or off-balance, usually when you’re standing up and moving around.

If you’re dizzy and nauseous when you’re lying down, or if you stumble to one side, it could be a problem with your inner ear, which controls your balance. Medications, such as those for depression and seizure disorders, can cause similar problems, too. If the dizziness or stumbling are sudden or new, go to the emergency department at your local hospital to be checked out. It could be a stroke.

Did a quick wave of lightheadedness hit? That’s often a sign of low blood sugar, dehydration, or a sudden drop in blood pressure you get when you stand up quickly. You may need to slowly rise instead of hopping to your feet.

SOURCES:

Britt Stone, MD, neurologist, Baylor Scott & White Health, Round Rock, Texas.

National Multiple Sclerosis Society: “What is MS?” “Fatigue,” “Vision problems,” “Speech problems,” “Pain.”

National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke: “NINDS Multiple Sclerosis Information Page,” “Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Fact Sheet.”

Cleveland Clinic: “Multiple sclerosis: Q&A,” “Avoiding dehydration, proper hydration,” “Dizziness,” “Aging and Your Eyes,” “Acute vs. chronic pain.”

American Diabetes Association: “Peripheral Neuropathy.”

National Institutes of Diabetes and Digestive Kidney Disease: “Hypoglycemia.”

CDC: “Postural hypotension: What it is and how to manage it.”

Nahin, R. The Journal of Pain, August 2015.

Reviewed by Christopher Melinosky on September 14, 2020

SOURCES:

Britt Stone, MD, neurologist, Baylor Scott & White Health, Round Rock, Texas.

National Multiple Sclerosis Society: “What is MS?” “Fatigue,” “Vision problems,” “Speech problems,” “Pain.”

National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke: “NINDS Multiple Sclerosis Information Page,” “Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Fact Sheet.”

Cleveland Clinic: “Multiple sclerosis: Q&A,” “Avoiding dehydration, proper hydration,” “Dizziness,” “Aging and Your Eyes,” “Acute vs. chronic pain.”

American Diabetes Association: “Peripheral Neuropathy.”

National Institutes of Diabetes and Digestive Kidney Disease: “Hypoglycemia.”

CDC: “Postural hypotension: What it is and how to manage it.”

Nahin, R. The Journal of Pain, August 2015.

Reviewed by Christopher Melinosky on September 14, 2020

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