Vertigo: What is it and is it Curable?

Many people suffer with vertigo, yet it’s surprisingly lacking in promotion so far as it’s symptoms are concerned. Vertigo is a feeling of dizziness, which causes the patient to feel as though things around them are spinning or moving. It’s caused by your ears, where the fluid in your ear becomes unbalanced, but your eyesight can play a part as well. The sensations of titling or swaying are often accompanied by sweating, nausea and vomiting. This condition is quite different from simply feeling lightheaded or unsteady – for those with vertigo, the constant feeling of motion even when nothing is moving can be unsettling. Doctors determine vertigo as more severe than dizziness, which generally occurs when someone stands up too fast and becomes lightheaded. If you’re suffering with vertigo, the constant moving sensations can make balancing a difficulty.

People often mistake vertigo for meaning a fear of heights, but the correct term for this is acrophobia. Vertigo is a medical term which can occur at any time, and can sometimes last for weeks, months or even years. Given that so many people misunderstand what vertigo is, though, it would be foolish to assume that it has just the one meaning. This condition can be identified by the sensation of spinning, as previously mentioned, as well as the inability to carry out everyday tasks due to the constant motion. A bout of vertigo may also provide the following symptoms of a loss of balance, problems with walking properly, vomiting, problems standing still, light-headedness, blurred vision and earache. It can be caused by your ears, where the inner ear becomes inflamed – this is known as labyrinthitis, and it triggered by head or body movements. It can also be caused by a viral or bacterial infection, such as a cold or flu bug.

Vestibular neuritis is also an ear complaint, which is the inflammation of the vestibular nerve which runs to the vestibule in your inner ear. This is often the result of an upper respiratory infection, and individuals with this problem will experience vertigo, but won’t get a ringing in the ear. Meniere’s disease is the dysfunction of the semi-circular canals in the ear – patients with this will experience regular vertigo, in addition to tinnitus (the aforementioned ringing in the ear) as well as nausea, vomiting and abnormal eye movements. This condition often worsens over time and may become more permanent as time goes on. Migraines are also a common association of vertigo, as the dizziness and light-headedness can become a common feature – in fact, for some people, vertigo can eventually become the only symptom they have when they get a migraine.

Vertigo can sometimes improve over time without any treatment, such as when it is caused by a viral ear infection. However, some people get this condition regularly (such as those with Meniere’s disease). There are medications available to relieve an episode of vertigo, such as some antihistamines – these are generally only useful in the early stages though, and shouldn’t be used long term. There are therapies available which may be useful to some, too. Your GP may also advise self-care in certain cases, which involves doing simple exercises to correct the symptoms, being careful when going down steps or in places where there is poor lighting to avoid a fall, getting up from seats slowly, and sleeping with your head slightly raised on two or more pillows at night. If you think you may have vertigo, it’s important to seek medical advice from your GP as soon as possible.

Comments are closed.