Not all dizziness problems are caused by vestibular issues, in some cases, there are non-vestibular causes of dizziness. In this article, we will talk about some different causes of dizziness.

Blood Sugar + Blood Pressure Levels

If you are experiencing dizziness at rest at a consistent time of day related to mealtimes, then blood sugar level fluctuations may be contributing. Be sure to report these symptoms to your healthcare provider as this may be a symptom of hypoglycemia.

Older adult patients may be malnourished due to limited financial resources or limited ability to obtain food, which can contribute to fluctuations in blood sugar levels and sporadic episodes of dizziness, even in individuals without diabetes.

Older adults may find frozen “TV dinners” or canned soups convenient and/or cost-effective, but it may cause them to consume high levels of sodium. The high levels of sodium in these convenience foods can result in elevated blood pressure and causing symptoms of dizziness.

What to Do

If access to food is the main problem, then I suggest looking into additional resources such as Meals on Wheels or social services to help with access to healthy, nutritious meals on a regular basis.

This may help address symptoms of your blood sugar level fluctuations or blood pressure spikes, which may be causing non-vestibular symptoms such as dizziness due to improper nutrition.

Talk to your doctor about any link between your blood pressure and dizziness or vertigo.

Dehydration Is Another Cause of Dizziness

Other non-vestibular causes of dizziness can include dehydration. Dizziness due to dehydration can be related to the reduced sensation of thirst in older adults.

Dehydration can also be caused “diuretic” beverages, which are drinks that make you urinate more often. This list includes alcohol and caffeine in tea, coffee, or soda.

If an older adult is experiencing depression or grief, the use of alcohol may dramatically increase. I see this in my patients who may have recently lost a loved one such as a spouse.

Alcohol may also interact with certain medications, causing dizziness.

Bladder Problems can Contribute to Dehydration

In older adults who are incontinent, dehydration may also be purposeful to avoid embarrassing accidents. This can cause dizziness.

Incontinence can also cause falls.

Finding a provider who can skillfully assess and treat incontinence in older adults may be a key component of resolving complaints of dizziness due to purposeful dehydration.

I also have created this E-course for people who want to improve bladder control problems.

This article has more free, helpful information about what to do if you have bladder control problems.

The bottom line is that the vestibular system can cause dizziness for many patients, but non-vestibular causes of dizziness should not be overlooked.


This blog is provided for informational purposes only. The content and any comments by Dr. Kim Bell, DPT are not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. The details of any case mentioned in this post represent a typical patient that Dr. Bell might see and do not describe the circumstances of a specific individual.

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