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HomeENT treatmentsEar Infections, Hearing loss and Balance Disorders › Vertigo and Dizziness Causes & Symptoms

Vertigo and Dizziness Causes & Symptoms

What is vertigo?

Vertigo is the sense of the world spinning even when a person is holding perfectly still. Some patients use the term vertigo interchangeably with dizziness to describe a variety of symptoms, ranging from balance disorders  and difficulty with walking to motion sickness or feeling lightheaded. However, most physicians consider vertigo to be a specific complaint that involves the semicircular canals (vestibular organ) of the inner ear and portions of the brain. This may be associated with nausea, vomiting, sweating, or difficulty walking.

What causes vertigo and dizziness?

Vertigo can be caused by problems in the brain or central nervous system (central vertigo) or in the inner ear (peripheral vertigo). Vertigo is a symptom of other conditions and is not in itself contagious. The most common diseases in ENT that result in vertigo are benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV), Meniere’s disease, labyrinthitis and acoustic neuroma.

Vertigo can also be caused by decreased blood flow to the base of the brain and is often the presenting symptom in multiple sclerosis (MS). Head trauma and neck injury may also result in vertigo. In migraine, a severe form of headache, vertigo is usually followed by a headache.

Changes is hormones during pregnancy along with low blood sugar levels can cause pregnant woman to feel dizziness or vertigo, especially during the first trimester. Anxiety or panic attacks may also cause people to feel the sensation of vertigo. Stress may worsen symptoms, though it usually does not cause them.

How is vertigo diagnosed?

Doctors at ENT in Cayman Ltd. are specialists in ear, nose and throat conditions, such as vertigo, and can accurately diagnose the condition after a consultation and physical exam. Patients usually discuss their medical history and symptoms with their doctor and may also be asked to undergo further vertigo testing if needed.

Some tests that may be done to help determine if a patient is suffering from vertigo include nystagmus test, Dix-Hallpike test, head impulse test, Unterberger- and Romberg-test and VideoNystagmography (V-ENG). All of these tests determine if a patient has vertigo by checking the eye or body movements after a doctor moves the patient in certain ways, triggering vertigo.

None of the tests cause pain but may make the patient feel the discomfort associated with vertigo. If you are suffering from vertigo, the first step towards feeling better is to schedule an evaluation with an experienced ear, nose and throat doctor.

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