Vertigo is more of a symptom rather than a medical condition. People with vertigo feel that they, or the surroundings around them, are moving or spinning.
You can barely detect this feeling, or you may find it so severe that it makes it challenging to maintain your balance and handle your everyday tasks. A vertigo attack may occur suddenly, which may last for a few seconds or minutes or hours, or even days in severe cases.
In severe cases of vertigo, the symptoms may last continuously for several days, making your normal life very hard.
Types of vertigo:
Vertigo is classified into two different types based on the underlying conditions that cause vertigo.
- Peripheral vertigo
- Central vertigo
Peripheral vertigo: Around 80% of the vertigo cases are of the peripheral type. It is usually caused by problems in the inner areas of your ear or the vestibular nerve, which connects your inner ear to your brain.
Central vertigo: It occurs when there is a problem in your brain, especially in the area of the cerebellum. The problem might be an injury, brain tumour, infection, etc.
Symptoms of vertigo:
The visible symptoms of this condition might vary from one person to the other based on severity. They might be mild to severe, based on the underlying condition causing the problem.
Peripheral vertigo is commonly accompanied by the following symptoms:
- A dizzy feeling
- Nausea or vomiting
- You feel as if you are spinning or moving
- Unable to focus on things with your eyes
- Loss of hearing in one ear
- Problems with balance
- A ringing sensation in the ears
Central vertigo is commonly associated with the following signs and symptoms:
- Vision problems like double vision
- Swallowing problems
- Facial paralysis
- Problems with eye movement
- Slurred speech
- Limbs weakness
What causes vertigo?
Vertigo is commonly caused by problems related to inner ear balance and with certain parts of your brain.
Causes of vertigo may include:
- BPPV – Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo – this condition occurs when tiny calcium particles move into the inner ear. The inner ear is responsible for sending information to your brain related to head and body movements with respect to gravity. It keeps you balanced. It is not known why BPPV occurs and is believed to be related to aging.
- Migraine – an episode of severe headaches that may last a few minutes to hours
- Meniere’s disease – When excess fluid accumulates in your inner ear, it causes vertigo attacks suddenly that may last for a few hours.
- Labyrinthitis – an infection of the inner ear
- Vestibular neuronitis – it is caused by a viral infection of the vestibular nerve, which passes through the ear and is responsible for sending information to your brain, which helps to control balance.
Depending on the underlying condition that causes vertigo, people may also suffer from other symptoms like high fever, tinnitus, and hearing loss.
Treatment for Vertigo
The condition of vertigo can improve without treatment in some cases. However, some people with Meniere’s disease can experience these attacks repeatedly for months or even years.
Vertigo can be treated specifically depending on its cause. Experts suggest the Epley maneuver (Canalith Repositioning Procedure), a therapy that involves a series of specific simple head and body movements to reposition canaliths. It has a success rate of 80% in treating BPPV.
Medicines can help in some cases of vertigo. Symptoms like nausea or dizziness associated with vertigo can be treated with medication. If the reason for vertigo is an infection, antibiotics or steroids can help in curing the infection. In the case of Meniere’s disease, doctors may suggest diuretics (water pills) to minimize the pressure buildup by fluids.
Vestibular rehabilitation training (VRT) is another popular treatment option to treat vertigo. It is a type of physical therapy to strengthen your vestibular system. If you experience recurrent episodes of vertigo, vertigo rehab may be recommended. It compensates for vertigo by training your other senses.
In a few severe cases of vertigo, surgery may be necessary to fix the underlying cause. For example, if vertigo is caused by a tumor or trauma to the neck or brain, surgical treatment for these conditions may improve the condition.
To know more detailed information about vertigo and the available treatment options, consult our vertigo treatment experts at Klavo Clinics and Diagnostics Centre in Hyderabad.