Normal Dizziness may result in Vertigo
A person with vertigo will have sense that their head or spinning environment is moving or spinning
Dr Sumit Singh
Vertigo is a sensation of spinning dizziness. It is not simple as many people maintain, fear of heights. It is often associated with looking down from height but can refer to ongoing dizziness caused by the problems in inner ear or brain. This dizziness is comes with nausea, vomiting, sweating or difficulty in walking. Persistent vertigo has been linked with mental health issues. A psychiatric problem may cause dizziness or vertigo may lead to depression and anxiety in an individual. Vertigo is the most common dizziness.
Many children attempt to create a sense of vertigo by spinning or riding on roller coaster. This is induced vertigo is self-limiting, it lasts for few minutes and then it disappears. Spontaneously or as result of an injury, or illness may last for hours and days before resolving. Dizziness can happen to anyone at any age but is common in people aged 65 years or above.
Symptoms and signs of Vertigo
A person with vertigo will have sense that their head or spinning environment is moving or spinning. Vertigo can be symptom of other medical conditions but it has own related symptoms which includes.
A sense of motion sickness
A feeling of fullness in ear
Nausea or vomiting
Vertigo is not just a condition of headaches or faintness. It is a rotational dizziness.
Causes of Vertigo
Vertigo is commonly caused by a problem with the way balancing works in inner ear. Although it can be caused by problems in the certain parts of the brain
Migraine headaches which are continuous severe headaches.
Inner ear infection which is known as labyrinthitis.
Vestibular neuronitis – It is the inflammation of vestibular nerve which runs into the inner part of the ear and sends the messages to the brain which helps in controlling balance while walking.
Certain medication which can cause inner ear infection
BBPV (benign paroxysmal positional vertigo) is the head movements which triggers vertigo.
There are some additional symptoms which depend on the cause of vertigo which are high temperature, ringing in ears, hearing imbalance.
Types of Vertigo
There are different types of vertigo depending on the cause of it.
Peripheral Vertigo- It usually occurs when there is a disturbance in the balance organs of inner ear. The labyrinth of inner ear has tiny organs that enable messages to be sent in the mind in response to the gravity. These messages tell the brain when there is a movement from the vertical position. This enables people to keep their balance when they stand up. The disturbance to this system produces vertigo.
Central Vertigo is linked to the problems with the central nervous system. The disturbance is caused in the brainstem or the cerebellum. These parts deal with the perception of vision and balance of a person.
How Vertigo is diagnosis or treated?
During the evaluation for vertigo, a doctor will ask questions related to history of events and symptoms associated with vertigo. This will include medications, illness and other medical problems. After evaluating all the symptoms a physical neurology examination will held to evaluate the brain function and determine it is peripheral or Central Vertigo.
In coordination in eyes will help in underlining the position. A medical professional might perform DIX- Hallpike test. This involves repositioning of patient’s head and monitoring of symptoms. Not everyone is suggested for this test. Instead of this professional might perform “roll test”in which patient lies flat and head is rapidly moved side to side. This may reproduce vertigo symptoms and may be helpful in determining the cause of vertigo.
Some of the cases of vertigo may require MRI or CT scan of the brain or inner ear for excluding structural brain problems like stroke, acoustic nueroma, malignant tumor. In rare cases, a small opening or fistula is identified in the space between inner ear and middle ear in which doctors will suggest surgical procedures which is removal of inner ear sense organ.
(The writer is Director, Neurology, Agrim institute of Neuro sciences, Artemis Hospital)