Vertigo – Symptoms, Types, Treatment

What is vertigo?

Vertigo (commonly heard as, ear balance) is a symptom characterized by a spinning sensation or a feeling of dizziness. It often results from an issue with the inner ear, which is responsible for maintaining balance.

How serious issue is vertigo?

The seriousness of vertigo can vary depending on its underlying causes and the impact it has on an individual’s daily life. Vertigo is temporary and curable in many cases which should be effectively treated and resolved. In some cases, vertigo is chronic with underlying health conditions.

Types of Vertigo?

Vertigo can be categorized into different types based on its underlying causes.

1. Peripheral Vertigo: This type of vertigo arises from a problem in the inner ear, specifically in the vestibular labyrinth or the vestibular nerve.

Caused by:
• Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV): Caused by the displacement of small calcium crystals in the inner ear.

• Meniere’s disease: An inner ear disorder characterized by recurrent episodes of vertigo, hearing loss, ringing in the ears(tinnitus), and a feeling of fullness in the affected ear.

• Vestibular neuritis: Inflammation of the vestibular nerve, often resulting from a viral infection.

• Labyrinthitis: Infection or inflammation of the inner ear, typically due to a viral or bacterial infection.

2. Central Vertigo: Central vertigo results from a problem in the central nervous system, particularly the brainstem or cerebellum.

• Migraine-associated vertigo: Vertigo accompanied by migraines or a history of migraines.

• Stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA): Disruption of blood flow to the brain, leading to vertigo.

• Multiple sclerosis (MS): An autoimmune disorder affecting the central nervous system, which may cause vertigo among other symptoms.

• Tumors: Rarely, tumors in the brain or brainstem can lead to vertigo

What are the symptoms of vertigo?

Intense spinning sensation
Nausea and vomiting
Difficulty in hearing, hearing loss, Tinnitus in certain cases
Difficulty maintaining balance.
Unsteadiness or stumbling.
Motion sickness.
A feeling of fullness in your ear.
Nystagmus (a condition that causes your eyes to move from side to side rapidly and uncontrollably).
Neurological symptoms like double vision, difficulty speaking, or numbness/weakness in the limbs (in central nervous system-related causes).

How to treat vertigo?

Treatment for vertigo depends on the underlying causes:
• Epley maneuver: A series of head movements performed by a healthcare professional to reposition the displaced calcium crystals causing BPPV.
• Medications: Antihistamines, antiemetics, or vestibular suppressants may be prescribed to alleviate symptoms. Prescription drugs may be used to control symptoms, prevent migraines, or manage other related issues.
• Rehabilitation exercises: Specific exercises aimed at improving balance and reducing symptoms.
Management of underlying conditions, such as migraines, stroke, or MS.
• Physical therapy: Balance exercises and vestibular rehabilitation can be helpful.
• Lifestyle changes: doctors will suggest certain lifestyle changes to manage vertigo like fall prevention, hydration, and rest.
• Surgery: It is very rare but the causes like brain tumors, they perform surgeries.

It is necessary to consult a healthcare professional for a proper diagnosis and appropriate treatment, as vertigo can have various underlying causes. They will be able to assess your symptoms, perform a physical examination, recommend further tests, and suggest treatment plans.

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