What are the Causes and Symptoms of Vertigo?

What are the Causes and Symptoms of Vertigo?

Vertigo is a sensation of dizziness where you feel as if you or your surroundings are spinning or moving when you are actually not. It’s often caused by issues with the inner ear or the vestibular system, which helps maintain balance and spatial orientation. Symptoms of vertigo may include:

  • Spinning Sensation: Feeling like you’re spinning or the world is spinning around you.
  • Balance Issues: Difficulty maintaining balance or feeling unsteady on your feet.
  • Nausea or Vomiting: Feeling nauseous, especially during or after the episode of vertigo.
  • Swaying or Tilting Sensation: Feeling like you are tilting or swaying, even when you are standing or sitting still.
  • Problems with Coordination: Difficulty coordinating movements or performing precise tasks.
  • Nystagmus: Involuntary, rapid eye movements, often jerking or twitching, that may accompany vertigo.
  • Lightheadedness: Feeling lightheaded or woozy, often preceding or following a vertigo episode.
  • Hearing Loss or Tinnitus: Sometimes, individuals with vertigo may experience hearing loss, ringing in the ears (tinnitus), or changes in hearing.
  • Headache or Migraine: Some people may experience headaches or migraines in association with vertigo.

Causes of vertigo can be varied and include:

  • Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV): Caused by small calcium particles (canaliths) becoming displaced in the inner ear.
  • Meniere’s Disease: An inner ear disorder characterized by episodes of vertigo, tinnitus, hearing loss, and a feeling of fullness or pressure in the ear.
  • Vestibular Neuritis: Inflammation of the vestibular nerve, often due to a viral infection, causing severe vertigo.
  • Labyrinthitis: Inflammation of the inner ear, usually caused by an infection.
  • Migraine-Associated Vertigo (MAV): A type of migraine that includes vertigo as a symptom.
  • Inner Ear Disorders: Other inner ear problems such as acoustic neuroma, autoimmune inner ear disease, or otosclerosis.
  • Head or Neck Injury: Trauma to the head or neck can affect the inner ear and cause vertigo.
  • Certain Medications: Some medications may cause vertigo or worsen existing vertigo.
  • Anxiety Disorders: Anxiety or panic disorders can trigger or exacerbate episodes of vertigo.

Proper diagnosis and management of vertigo involve identifying the underlying cause through a thorough medical evaluation, which may include a physical examination, hearing tests, imaging studies, and balance testing. Treatment will depend on the cause and may include medication, physical therapy, lifestyle changes, or procedures to help alleviate symptoms.

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