What is Vertigo? And How Do You Get It
What is vertigo, Vertigo is a symptom where a person feels as if they or the objects around them are moving when they are not. Often it feels like a spinning or swaying movement. This may be associated with nausea, vomiting, sweating, or difficulties walking. It is typically worse when the head is moved. Vertigo is the most common type of dizziness.
The most common diseases that result in vertigo are benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV), Ménière’s disease, and labyrinthitis. Less common causes include stroke, brain tumors, brain injury, multiple sclerosis, migraines, trauma, and uneven pressures between the middle ears.
Physiologic vertigo may occur following being exposed to motion for a prolonged period such as when on a ship or simply following spinning with the eyes closed. Other causes may include toxin exposures such as to carbon monoxide, alcohol, or aspirin.
Vertigo typically indicates a problem in a part of the vestibular system. Other causes of dizziness include presyncope, disequilibrium, and non-specific dizziness.
Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo is more likely in someone who gets repeated episodes of vertigo with movement and is otherwise normal between these episodes. The episodes of vertigo should last less than one minute. The Dix-Hallpike test typically produces a period of rapid eye movements known as nystagmus in this condition.
In Ménière’s disease there is often ringing in the ears, hearing loss, and the attacks of vertigo last more than twenty minutes. In labyrinthitis the onset of vertigo is sudden and the nystagmus occurs without movement. In this condition vertigo can last for days. More severe causes should also be considered.This is especially true if other problems such as weakness, headache, double vision, or numbness occur.
What are the symptoms of vertigo?
- balance problems and lightheadedness
- a sense of motion sickness
- nausea and vomiting
- a feeling of fullness in the ear
Vertigo is a sensation of spinning while stationary. It is commonly associated with nausea or vomiting, unsteadiness (postural instability), falls, changes to a person’s thoughts, and difficulties in walking. Recurrent episodes in those with vertigo are common and frequently impair the quality of life. Blurred vision, difficulty in speaking, a lowered level of consciousness, and hearing loss may also occur. The signs and symptoms of vertigo can present as a persistent (insidious) onset or an episodic (sudden) onset.
Persistent onset vertigo is characterized by symptoms lasting for longer than one day and is caused by degenerative changes that affect balance as people age. Naturally, the nerve conduction slows with aging and a decreased vibratory sensation is common. Additionally, there is a degeneration of the ampulla and otolith organs with an increase in age. Persistent onset is commonly paired with central vertigo signs and symptoms.
The characteristics of an episodic onset vertigo are indicated by symptoms lasting for a smaller, more memorable amount of time, typically lasting for only seconds to minutes. Typically, episodic vertigo is correlated with peripheral symptoms.
Who gets Vertigo?
Dizziness affects approximately 20–40% of people at some point in time, while about 7.5–10% have vertigo. About 5% have vertigo in a given year. It becomes more common with age and affects women two to three times more often than men. Vertigo accounts for about 2–3% of emergency department visits in the developed world.
What is vertigo and how is it treated?
Tests for vertigo often attempt to elicit nystagmus and to differentiate vertigo from other causes of dizziness such as presyncope, hyperventilation syndrome, disequilibrium, or psychiatric causes of lightheadedness. Tests of vestibular system (balance) function include electronystagmography (ENG), Dix-Hallpike maneuver, rotation tests, head-thrust test, caloric reflex test, and computerized dynamic posturography (CDP).
The HINTS test, which is a combination of three physical exam tests that may be performed by physicians at the bedside has been deemed helpful in differentiating between central and peripheral causes of vertigo. The HINTS test involves the horizontal head impulse test, observation of nystagmus on primary gaze, and the test of skew. CT scans or MRIs are sometimes used by physicians when diagnosing vertigo.
Tests of auditory system (hearing) function include pure tone audiometry, speech audiometry, acoustic reflex, electrocochleography (ECoG), otoacoustic emissions (OAE), and the auditory brainstem response test.
A number of specific conditions can cause vertigo. In the elderly, however, the condition is often multifactorial.
A recent history of underwater diving can indicate a possibility of barotrauma or decompression sickness involvement but does not exclude all other possibilities. The dive profile (which is frequently recorded by dive computer) can be useful to assess a probability for decompression sickness, which can be confirmed by therapeutic recompression.
Will vertigo go away on its own?
Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo is caused by a problem in the inner ear. For some people, BPPV goes away by itself in a few weeks. But it can come back again. BPPV is not a sign of a serious health problem But it’s always best to consult a Doctor.
Please consult your physician for personalized medical advice. Always seek the advice of a physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions regarding a medical condition. Never disregard or delay seeking professional medical advice or treatment because of something you have read online.
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