What is Vertigo?

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What is Vertigo?

Vertigo is a condition wherein somebody feels that everything around him is moving or spinning. Patients with vertigo may experience this while moving around or standing still. This spinning sensation affects balance and cause difficulty for patients to go about their daily tasks, especially when the symptoms are in severe form.  Bouts of this condition last from several minutes to hours, days, or even much longer sometimes.

The following are the symptoms patients might experience:

  • Spinning and/or moving sensation
  • Loss of balance
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Blurred vision
  • Headache
  • Difficulty in  walking properly
  • Difficulty in standing properly

Vertigo may be caused by problems in the brain itself, the inner ear’s balance mechanisms, or with the nerves that connect the brain to the middle ear.  One condition that may cause vertigo is Labyrynthitis or Vestibular Neuritis.  This condition involves some inflammation within the inner ear.  A tumor of the nerve tissue (Acoustic Neuroma), head trauma, migraine, and/or neck injury may also be the culprits behind the spinning sensations.  Some patients with diabetes may also have vertigo due to decreased blood flow to the brain secondary to arteriosclerosis.

Although majority of vertigo cases are harmless, it is still advisable to seek medical help if symptoms are being experienced.  This condition is evaluated primarily by medical history and physical examination. After which, the doctor might perform others tests depending on the suspected cause of the vertigo. For example, if a brain injury is being considered as the cause, a CT-Scan may be requested. To check blood sugar levels and heart rhythms, blood tests and an electrocardiogram may be performed.

Medical treatment for vertigo will also depend on the cause. For bacterial infections of the middle ear, antibiotics are being prescribed. For recurrent infections of the inner ear, patients may be referred to an ear, nose, and throat (ENT) specialist for surgery. Medications for vertigo are regulated and should only be taken by patients as directed and under the supervision of a doctor.

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