Vertigo is the feeling that you or the environment is spinning or moving. It is different from dizziness since vertigo basically describes an illusion of movement. Once an individual feels that he/she is moving, it is the subjective form. If the individual has a perception that the surroundings are moving, it is objective type.
Always bear in mind that vertigo is due to problems in the inner ear or in the brain.
- The most common form is benign paroxysmal position vertigo. It is a sensation of motion due to abrupt head movements or moving the head in a particular direction. This type of vertigo is not serious and can be easily treated.
- Vertigo is due to the inflammation within the interior ear brought about by abrupt onset of vertigo and has a link with hearing loss.
- Acoustic neuroma is a type of tumor affecting the nerve tissue in the ear that can lead to vertigo.
- Meniere’s disease
- Head trauma and neck injury
- Diabetic complications such as arteriosclerosis
Vertigo is the sensation of motion either of the surroundings or the individual. It often arises as spinning of the surroundings. This can be confused with symptoms of light-headedness or fainting.
- Sensation of disorientation or motion that is accompanied by nausea or vomiting, abnormal eye movements and sweating.
- The duration of the symptoms can range from minutes up to hours and can be episodic or constant. The symptoms are due to movement or change in the position. If there is recent whiplash or head trauma or new medications, inform your doctor.
- The individual can have hearing loss and ringing sensation in the ears
- Visual disturbances, difficulty speaking, weakness, difficulty walking and diminished level of consciousness.
When to seek medical care
See a doctor if any symptoms or signs are present. Most cases of vertigo are harmless. Even though the condition can be debilitating, most of the causes can be easily treated with medications. It is important to check for any signs and symptoms to rule out serious or life-threatening causes.
Generally, the signs and symptoms that need evaluation in the emergency department at the hospital include:
- Double vision
- Difficulty speaking
- Abnormal eye movements
- Difficulty walking, weakness of the arms or legs and lack of coordination
- Altered level of consciousness, difficulty arousing and not acting appropriately
Treatment for vertigo
When it comes to the treatment, there are various treatment options including medications, self-care remedies and physical therapy maneuvers.
First aid measures at home can be performed if the individual is already diagnosed with vertigo and under supervision of a doctor.
- Instruct the individual to drink plenty of fluids.
- Avoid substances that can affect the circulation including tobacco, caffeine and alcohol.
- Herbal remedies such as ginger root, coriander and gingko biloba can help minimize the symptoms of vertigo
- Use the modified Epley maneuver which involves head and body movements while sitting on a bed. It is performed in a doctor’s office, but can also be prescribed at home.
- Lastly, take vitamin D supplementation for individuals with benign paroxysmal positional vertigo.
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