Have you ever experienced a sensation of spinning in the absence of any associated movement? If yes, there are high chances that you are suffering from vertigo. Let’s define Vertigo for you!
In medical terms, vertigo can be defined as a specific kind of dizziness, moving or spinning movement that you feel even when there is no movement. In simple terms, vertigo can be defined as a sense of rotation or spinning of the world experienced by a person, even when everything is standing still. The dizziness that you experience can be caused by either disturbance in a part of the brain or disruption in the balance of organs.
Causes of Vertigo
There are different reasons why a person might be experiencing vertigo. This neurological condition can be defined based on whether the cause is central or peripheral. While the central causes of vertigo arise in the spinal cord or the brain, the peripheral vertigo is caused due to a problem within the ear.
Less often vertigo is also associated with:
- Migraine headaches.
- Head or neck injury.
- Certain medications leading to ear damage.
- Brain problem.
In most of the cases, Vertigo is triggered by a change in the head position. People suffering from vertigo experience different feelings including:
- Being pulled in one direction.
Other symptoms include:
- Abnormal Eye Movement.
- Ringing Sound in The Ear.
- Feeling Nauseated.
- Headache and Sweating.
Risk Factors Associated with Vertigo
Vertigo comes with a number of risk factors, with a head injury and side effects of different medications being the most prominent side effects. Anything that may increase the risk of stroke is also considered as a risk factor as it can lead to developing of vertigo. Studies have shown that older women are at a slightly higher risk of developing this condition.
How to Diagnose Vertigo?
During an evaluation test, the specialist will obtain a full history of the patient. This may include:
- Recent Illness.
- Medications That Have Been Taken.
- Prior Medical Problems.
- Family History of a Migraine.
- Recent Head Injury.
This evaluation helps the doctor to find any underlying cause of vertigo. After obtaining the patient’s history, a full neurological exam is performed to evaluate brain functioning. Doctors may also suggest Dix-Hallpike test to recreate symptom of vertigo. However, not every person suffering from vertigo is a good candidate for this test.
The neurologist may also require the patient to undergo a CT scan or MRI of the brain to exclude a structural problem like stroke.
Vertigo treatment depends on its cause. In a majority of cases, it has been seen that vertigo goes away without undertaking any treatment. However some of the treatments include:
- Vestibular Rehabilitation: This physical therapy aims at strengthening the vestibular system to avoid vertigo. Vestibular system sends signal to the brain about body movement in relation to gravity. This treatment may be recommended by your doctor if you have been experiencing recurrent bouts of vertigo.
- Medicines: In various cases, doctors may prescribe medication to relieve symptoms associated with vertigo, including motion sickness and nausea. However, if vertigo is caused by inflammation or infection, steroids or antibiotics can cure the infection.
- Canalith repositioning maneuvers: A series of specific movements are done to move the deposited calcium out of the canal for better absorption by the body. This is a safe and often effective method to treat vertigo.
- Surgery: In few cases, doctors may advise surgery as the last option to treat vertigo. However, there are very few instances where surgery is viewed as a corrective procedure for vertigo.
Can Vertigo Be Prevented?
Controlling the risk factors can help in preventing the development of central vertigo. For this, you need to make sure that your cholesterol, blood glucose, blood pressure and weight are in optimal ranges.
It is often difficult to predict vertigo; however, it can be prevented by maintaining a healthy lifestyle and by completely preventing the risk factors.