Vertigo – What it is, Causes, Symptoms and Treatments of this condition. Also, Vertigo refers to a feeling of dizziness. It is a symptom of a number of conditions. It can happen when there is a problem with the ear , brain , or sensory nerve pathway. Vertigo is sometimes used to refer to the fear of heights, but in medical terms this is not correct . The fear of heights is known as acrophobia.
Dizziness, or Vertigo , can happen at any age, but it’s common in people age 65 and older. More than 60 medical and psychiatric conditions can cause it, as can some medications.
Causes: There are several different causes for Vertigo . It can be defined based on whether the cause is peripheral or central. Central causes of vertigo arise in the brain or spinal cord while peripheral vertigo is due to a problem within the inner ear.
The inner ear can become inflamed due to illness, or small crystals or stones normally found inside the inner ear can dislodge and cause irritation to the tiny hair cells within the semicircular canals, leading to Vertigo . This is known as Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo.
Symptoms: A person will have the feeling that they, or their environment, are moving or spinning, even though there is no movement. Vertigo is a symptom, but it can also cause other symptoms. These include:
- Balance problems and dizziness;
- Nausea and vomiting;
- Sense of migraine;
- Feeling of fullness in the ear .
Vertigo is not just a feeling of weakness, but rotational dizziness .
Diagnostics: Diagnostics is comprised of four basic areas.
- The physician may want to know if the patient feels any sensation of movement, which may indicate that true Vertigo exists . Report any nausea , vomiting, sweating and abnormal eye movements.
- The doctor may ask how long the patient has had symptoms and whether they are constant or come and go. Do symptoms occur when moving or changing position? Is the patient currently taking new medications? Has there been any recent head trauma or neck injury?
- Are there other auditory symptoms? Specifically, report any ringing in the ears or hearing loss.
- Does the patient have other neurological symptoms such as weakness, visual disturbances, altered level of consciousness, difficulty walking, abnormal eye movements, or difficulty speaking?
The doctor may perform tests such as a computed tomography or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan if a brain injury is suspected to be the cause of vertigo .
Treatments: Treatment depends on what is causing the condition. In many cases, vertigo goes away without any treatment. This is because your brain is able to adapt, at least in part, to inner ear changes, depending on other mechanisms to maintain balance.
For some, treatment is necessary and may include:
Vestibular Rehabilitation: This is a type of physical therapy designed to help strengthen the vestibular system. The function of the vestibular system is to send signals to the brain about head and body movements in relation to gravity.
Medications: In some cases, medications may be given to relieve symptoms such as nausea or tidal pain associated with vertigo .
- If vertigo is caused by an infection or inflammation, antibiotics or steroids can reduce swelling and cure the infection .
- For Meniere’s disease, diuretics (water pills) may be prescribed to reduce the pressure of fluid buildup.
Surgery: In some cases, surgery may be necessary for Vertigo . If vertigo is caused by a more serious underlying problem, such as a tumor or injury to the brain or neck, treating those problems can help relieve vertigo .