When your heart doesn’t efficiently pump blood to your brain or inner ear, it can cause a dizzy or lightheaded feeling called vertigo. Pankaj Lal, MD, diagnoses the cause of vertigo and offers customized treatment plans to restore your cardiovascular health. You can make an appointment with Dr. Lal at Capital Cardiac Care in Gaithersburg, Maryland, by calling the practice or using the online scheduling tool.

request an appointment

What is vertigo?

Vertigo is a sudden sense of dizziness, loss of balance, or lightheadedness. It’s most often associated with inner ear disorders, but is also caused by sudden drops in blood pressure and other cardiovascular issues.

How is vertigo linked to heart health?

When your heart doesn’t circulate your blood efficiently, or you have a condition like carotid artery disease, cardiomyopathy, heart arrhythmia, ischemia, or heart attacks, you may experience dizziness or vertigo. It’s caused by an inadequate amount of blood being supplied to your brain or inner ear.

A sudden drop in blood pressure can also cause vertigo. Typically this occurs when you stand up quickly after a prolonged period of sitting.

What is carotid artery disease?

Carotid artery disease occurs when the two carotid arteries, which deliver fresh, oxygenated blood to your brain, become clogged with a waxy plaque. Like other arterial diseases, carotid artery disease is caused by high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and smoking. It’s the leading cause of stroke.

Carotid artery disease limits the amount of blood and oxygen that reaches your brain, which can cause vertigo or dizziness. Carotid artery disease may not exhibit any symptoms before causing ischemia or a full-blown stroke.

How is the cause of my vertigo diagnosed?

If you experience vertigo, you should make an appointment for Dr. Lal to make a diagnosis, as the condition is a warning sign you may have serious cardiovascular health issues. Dr. Lal provides a comprehensive exam to determine the cause of your vertigo, including a conversation about your symptoms, lifestyle, and personal and family medical history.

Dr. Lal orders diagnostic tests to check your cardiovascular health, including:

Carotid ultrasound

This painless test uses sound waves to create images of your carotid arteries. It shows Dr. Lal if plaque has built up on the insides of your blood vessels and how narrow they’ve become.

CT scans and MRIs

These imaging scans show Dr. Lal your carotid arteries and help him identify any blockages or issues that could be causing your dizziness.

Carotid angiography

Dr. Lal injects a dye into your bloodstream and uses a special X-ray machine to track the dye as it moves through your carotid arteries. This test is often ordered if the carotid ultrasound results aren’t clear.

If you’re concerned about vertigo and heart health, call or schedule an appointment online today.