Every person at some point in their life will experience being dizzy. This can come from riding on a rollercoaster and then coming to a quick halt or maybe sitting down for a while and standing up and suddenly feeing lightheaded. This feeling is different than vertigo. Dizziness is often used to describe two completely different feelings and it’s important to know what it means. It’s important because when you’re discussing it with your doctor, the more specific you are, the easier it is for your physician to narrow down the list of possible issues.
Vertigo is the feeling that you yourself or your surroundings are moving when there is no movement. With mild vertigo you might feel as if you are spinning, floating, or whirling, even though you are stationary. With severe vertigo you may feel nauseated and even vomit. You may also have impaired balance which can cause problems with standing and walking.
Dizziness is the feeling that you are about to pass out or faint.
Although you feel dizzy, you don’t feel like your surroundings are moving like someone with vertigo would. This problem often improves or goes away when you lie down. If it gets worse it may lead to the feeling of fainting or having fainting spells.
What Causes a Person to Suffer From Vertigo?
The two main kinds of vertigo are central and peripheral. Peripheral vertigo occurs from a problem with a person’s vestibular system. The vestibular system includes the vestibular nerve and inner ear and it controls balance. Central vertigo is the result of problems related to a person’s brain. In some cases a person may never know the cause of why they suffer from vertigo.
What are the Causes of Peripheral Vertigo?
Damage, conditions, and diseases that affect the vestibular nerve and inner ear that can cause peripheral vertigo include some of the following:
Medication side effects
What are the Causes of Central Vertigo?
Vertigo can be caused by damage, diseases, and conditions affecting the brain including:
Side effects of medications
What are the Symptoms of Vertigo?
Often vertigo can accompany other symptoms which can vary depending on the condition or disease. Symptoms that frequently affect a person’s vestibular system might also involve other body systems. These include:
Nausea with or without vomiting
Some less common symptoms that can occur with vertigo may include:
Abnormal movements of the eyes
Loss of consciousness/confusions for even a brief moment
Progressive numbness/weakness in the arms/legs
Changes in taste, smell, or hearing
Difficulty focusing the eyes
There are many causes of both types of vertigo and in some cases there are no known causes. It may be temporary or long-term depending on the underlying cause. Since this can be the symptom of something much more serious such as a traumatic brain injury, you should seek immediate medical care. Call 911 if you are experiencing vertigo or other serious symptoms, such as abnormal behavior, severe headache, changes in consciousness, and vomiting.