In-Depth with Vertigo
is one of the most common health problems in adults. It’s not an actual disease;
instead, it describes dizziness—the feeling that you or your surroundings
are spinning, when in fact, nothing is moving at all.
people first experience this dizziness when they get out of bed in the morning.
They were fine the night before, and then bang, they get out of bed, lose
their balance and fall. Or if they don’t fall, they may feel as if they have
to lean against the wall or a piece of furniture to keep themselves upright.
you have vertigo, it can feel as if the floor is rising up under you, making
you pitch forward. It can be terrifying. And it makes you realize how dependent
you are on your sense of balance, which you may never have appreciated before.
ability to balance depends on interaction among your eyes, nervous system
and inner ears. When something about this system gets out of synch, vertigo
can be the result.
Symptoms of vertigo
the sense of spinning and lack of balance, other symptoms of vertigo include
- Difficulty concentrating
- Blurry vision after you move your head quickly
Most cases of vertigo not serious health problem
problem in the inner ear, also called the vestibular system, is the most common
cause of vertigo. Common problems affecting the inner ear include
paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV)—brief episodes of dizziness when you
change the position of your head. It commonly happens when you change your
position in bed or when you sit up in the morning. This occurs when particles
break loose and fall into the canals of your inner ear. Doctors don’t know
what causes this.
of the inner ear—can cause extremely strong feeling of dizziness that may
require bed rest. This usually clears up quickly on its own. Some experts
believe it’s caused by a viral infection.
disease—a buildup of fluid in your ear. Besides dizziness, you may also experience
the sense that your ear is full, ringing or buzzing in your ears
► Non-cancerous growth on the acoustic nerve
How is vertigo treated?
treat vertigo differently, depending on the cause of the dizziness. In some
cases of BPPV, simple repositioning of the head may help particles to move
to an area where they won’t cause dizziness. For inner ear inflammation, you
may learn balance exercises from a physical therapist, and then you can practice
the exercises at home. If Meunière’s disease is the problem, the focus is
on reducing the way your body retains fluid. For migraine, your doctor may
help you to identify and then avoid your migraine triggers, or prescribe medication
for the migraine.
doctors aren’t able to determine the exact cause of the vertigo. But typically,
they’re able to prescribe medication that can reduce the symptoms.
you wake up with vertigo, be sure to visit your doctor. Even though most cases
aren’t serious, it’s important to find the cause and get treatment.
National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders