By Dr_Trisha-Macnair Published 01/27/2016 13:24:00 | Views: 486

Vertigo versus dizziness

Vertigo is different to dizziness, which is usually a feeling of unpleasant fuzziness in the head. Vertigo, however, makes trying to move difficult because of a loss of balance, as well as the nausea and vomiting that often accompanies it. Vertigo attacks can confine sufferers to their home and even their bed.

Possible causes of vertigo

  • middle ear infection
  • middle ear inflammation
  • benign positional vertigo
  • Meniere's disease
  • circulation problems
  • head injury
  • after ear surgery
  • side effects of medication
  • recreational drugs
  • alcohol
  • neurological disease

The cause

Vertigo usually occurs when there's a problem with the middle ear balance mechanisms. It can also be caused by a problem in the brain, or with the nerve connections between the brain and the middle ear.

Infections, circulatory problems, migraine, injury, or inflammation, can all be responsible. In particular, the side effects of some medicines, recreational drugs, and alcohol.

Benign positional vertigo

For some people, the recurrent attacks of vertigo may be short-lived. The most likely cause is a condition called benign positional vertigo. This tends to affect older people and any sudden movement of the head (usually head turning) brings on acute vertigo without warning. Although it tends to last under a minute, it can be very unpleasant and disabling.

As with other causes of vertigo, this type usually follows a viral infection or is a result of inflammation or damage to the middle ear. Fortunately, it usually settles after a few months without treatment. Specialist physiotherapy can benefit some sufferers if the symptoms persist.

Meniere's disease

This is a more disabling condition caused by problems affecting the middle ear. It's believed an increased amount of fluid collects and puts pressure on the balance mechanisms.

A vertigo attack can last from a few minutes to as long as 12 hours usually leaving the sufferer vomiting and prostrate.

Meniere's disease also brings tinnitus (ringing in the ears), and difficulty with hearing.

If the attacks are sporadic, treatment to calm symptoms down is used. If, however, attacks occur regularly and prevent someone from living an enjoyable life, then medication is taken daily to prevent the attacks. Occasionally, surgery to remove the additional fluid in the middle ear may be performed.


It's very important vertigo is taken seriously. Most people will see a specialist and have tests to establish the cause of the vertigo. Once this is known, the best treatment can be provided.

By Dr_Trisha-Macnair 01/27/2016 13:24:00

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