Vertigo is actually a symptom or
a sensation meaning whirling or spinning movement. Vertigo is an
illusion of motion and is a problem seen increasingly in people
as they age. It is usually temporary and a sign of some other problem
or condition. Vertigo is a type of dizziness. It is often associated
with nausea and vomiting as well as difficulties standing or walking.
Vertigo is one of the most common complaints for which people seek
can be caused by problems in the brain or the inner ear.
paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) is the most common form of
vertigo and is characterized by the sensation of motion initiated
by sudden head movements or moving the head in a certain direction.
This type of vertigo is rarely serious and can be treated.
Vertigo may also be caused by inflammation within the inner ear
which is characterized by the sudden onset of vertigo and may
be associated with hearing loss. The most common cause of this
is a viral or bacterial inner ear infection.
Meniere's disease is composed of a triad of symptoms including:
episodes of vertigo, ringing in the ears and hearing loss. People
with this condition have the sudden onset of severe vertigo, fluctuating
hearing loss, as well as periods in which they are symptom-free.
Vertigo can be caused by decreased blood flow to the base of the
brain. Bleeding into the back of the brain (cerebellar hemorrhage)
is characterized by vertigo, headache, difficulty walking, and
inability to look toward the side of the bleed.
Head trauma and neck injury may also result in vertigo, which
usually goes away on its own.
Migraine, a severe form of headache, may also cause vertigo. The
vertigo is usually followed by a headache. There is often a prior
history of similar episodes but no lasting problems.
Complications from diabetes can cause hardening of the arteries
which can lead to lowered blood flow to the brain, causing vertigo
implies that there is a sensation of motion either of the person
or the environment, often perceived as if the room is spinning around
you. If true vertigo exists, symptoms include a sensation of disorientation
or motion. In addition, the individual may also have any or all
of these symptoms:
abnormal eye movements.
choice of treatment will depend on the diagnosis.
can be treated with medicine taken by mouth, through medicine
placed on the skin (a patch), or drugs given intravenous
Specific types of vertigo may require additional treatment and
Bacterial infection of the middle ear requires antibiotics.
Meniere's disease, in addition to symptomatic treatment, people
might be placed on a low salt diet and may require medication
used to increase urine output.
with vertigo symptoms or people that have a tendency to develop
vertigo may reduce or eliminate the symptoms by doing the following:
position slowly, especially when going from a lying or sitting
position to a standing position. When you get out of bed, sit
on the side of the bed for a few seconds to gain your orientation
and allow your circulatory system to adjust.
When walking, focus on distant objects. Do not look down at your
feet. Avoid walking in dark areas or on unstable ground. Falls
at home occur when the floor covering changes from carpet to tile
When riding in a car, try to sit in the front seat. Look out of
the window at a fixed point. When going around curves, look at
a distant object beyond the curve.
Make certain eye glass and hearing aid prescriptions are current.
Use a cane, walking stick, or walker for support and to give additional
pressure and touch (tactile) orientation.
Avoid activities that move the head up and down repetitively.
Try to avoid keeping the head tilted back for long periods of
time, for example painting or dusting above your head.