What is Vertigo?
Vertigo is a complaint where a person feels as if they are spinning or extremely dizzy. It can happen at any age but is most often seen in people over the age of 65. This specific type of dizziness is characterized by the sudden onset of feeling like you are spinning or the world around you is spinning. Vertigo is actually a symptom of many conditions and can occur for a brief time, hours or last for days.
Having an occurrence of vertigo is a dreadful experience and can make a person incapacitated due to imbalance. A patient may also suffer from additional symptoms including nausea, vomiting, double vision, headache, tinnitus, motion sickness, and a feeling of fullness in the ear. Performing day to day tasks can be very difficult with these symptoms, greatly affecting quality of life.
Pinpointing the cause of vertigo may not be so easy. Especially if it occurs once briefly and does not happen again for some time. Most of the causes have something to do with the inner ear including inner ear infections or diseases of the ear. Less common reasons include trauma to the head or brain. There is a range of conditions that are known to cause vertigo.
- Meniere’s disease – This disease is seen in people 40 to 60 years of age. It can lead to a buildup of fluid and pressure in the inner ear. People often report ringing in the ears and hearing loss in addition to the dizziness.
- BPPV – This is the most common disorder of the vestibular system. Crystals of calcium carbonate, called “loose crystals,” can become dislodged in the canals of the inner ear. This will disrupt the ear fluid causing this false sense of movement of the head.
- Vestibular neuritis – This is caused by an inner ear viral infection. It will lead to inflammation of the vestibular nerve which is the nerve that helps the body stay balanced. A person can sometimes suffer from hearing loss as well.