Dizziness and vertigo are terms that are often used interchangeably, but they refer to slightly different symptoms. Dizziness is a general term that refers to a feeling of lightheadedness, unsteadiness, or the sensation that the environment is spinning or moving. Vertigo specifically refers to the sensation that you or your surroundings are spinning or moving, even when you are still.
There are several types of dizziness and vertigo, including:
- Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV): caused by small crystals of calcium carbonate in the inner ear that become dislodged and cause dizziness or vertigo when the head is moved
- Meniere’s disease: an inner ear disorder that causes episodes of vertigo, ringing in the ear (tinnitus), and hearing loss
- Vestibular neuritis: an inflammation of the vestibular nerve in the inner ear that causes vertigo and balance problems
Symptoms of dizziness and vertigo can include:
- Loss of balance
- Spinning sensation
- Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
- Hearing loss
Diagnosis of dizziness and vertigo is typically made by a physical examination, an evaluation of medical history and may include imaging tests such as CT scan or MRI, and other tests to determine the cause.
Treatment for dizziness and vertigo will depend on the underlying cause. Some common treatments include:
- Medications to control symptoms and reduce inflammation
- Physical therapy or exercises to help improve balance and reduce dizziness
- Surgery for certain conditions such as Meniere’s disease
- Treating underlying conditions such as anemia or low blood pressure
- Avoiding triggers, such as certain medications or certain foods, if they are the cause of symptoms
It’s important to note that dizziness and vertigo can be caused by a variety of conditions, and it’s crucial to determine the underlying cause in order to provide effective treatment. Additionally, seeing a healthcare professional to get a proper diagnosis is essential, as some causes of dizziness and vertigo can be serious.
To discuss diagnosis and treatment options, please book an appointment with our specialist.
To learn more about Dizziness and vertigo, please click on https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/dizziness/
Dr Ibrahim Yahli MD MRCPsych