Family physicians see many patients complaining of dizziness. Analysis of data gathered from the 1981 and 1985 National Ambulatory Medical Care Surveys reveals that nearly 45 percent of all nonhospitalized patients with dizziness seek treatment from family physicians or general practitioners. Instances of dizziness as a symptom increase proportionately with the age of the patient, according to the survey of primary care practices, which included family physicians, general practitioners, and general internists. Nearly seven percent of patients aged 85 years and older complain of the symptom. Women complain of dizziness more frequently than men, especially among the elderly. Most patients (89 percent) who visited primary care practices received a drug prescription to treat the symptom. Among the patients studied, the major cause of dizziness was hypertension. Hypertension, as well as other conditions diagnosed as causing dizziness, including diabetes, unspecified dizziness, and coronary arteriosclerosis, differed from common causes of dizziness cited by specialty clinics.
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