What are the Symptoms of Vertigo?

Vertigo is a specific type of dizziness characterized by the sensation of spinning or a spinning-like motion. It can be caused by various underlying conditions and may be accompanied by a range of symptoms. Common symptoms of vertigo include:

  • Spinning Sensation: The hallmark symptom of vertigo is a false sensation of spinning or the environment moving around you. This feeling can be mild or severe and is often described as if you or the room is rotating, tilting, or whirling.
  • Nausea and Vomiting: The sensation of vertigo can lead to nausea and, in some cases, vomiting. This is because the conflicting signals between the inner ear and the visual system can cause motion sickness-like symptoms.
  • Unsteadiness and Loss of Balance: Individuals with vertigo may feel unsteady on their feet and have difficulty maintaining their balance. This can increase the risk of falls.
  • Nystagmus: Nystagmus is an abnormal, rhythmic eye movement. During an episode of vertigo, the eyes may move involuntarily, usually in a back-and-forth or rotary fashion. This eye movement often accompanies the sensation of spinning.
  • Tinnitus: Some people with vertigo experience ringing or buzzing in the ears (tinnitus).
  • Hearing Changes: Depending on the cause of vertigo, hearing loss or changes in hearing may occur.
  • Headaches: Vertigo episodes can be associated with headaches, especially if the underlying cause is a migraine or vestibular disorder.
  • Sweating and Paleness: Anxiety and distress caused by vertigo can lead to symptoms such as sweating and paleness.

It’s important to differentiate vertigo from other forms of dizziness, such as lightheadedness or disequilibrium:

  • Lightheadedness: Lightheadedness is a feeling of near-fainting or feeling as if you might pass out. It is often caused by issues like low blood pressure, dehydration, or orthostatic hypotension. Unlike vertigo, it is not associated with a spinning sensation.
  • Disequilibrium: Disequilibrium is the sensation of unsteadiness or imbalance without the spinning sensation. It may result from issues with proprioception (sense of body position) or muscle coordination.

Vertigo can be caused by various conditions, including benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV), Meniere’s disease, vestibular neuritis, labyrinthitis, vestibular migraine, and more. To determine the underlying cause of vertigo, a medical evaluation, including a detailed medical history and physical examination, may be necessary. Further tests, such as audiometry, vestibular function tests, or imaging studies, may be conducted if needed.

Treatment for vertigo depends on the underlying cause and may include medications, physical therapy exercises (e.g., vestibular rehabilitation), and lifestyle modifications. It’s essential to consult a healthcare provider if you experience recurring or severe vertigo symptoms to identify the cause and receive appropriate management.