When you have vertigo, a dizzy spell feels like the whole world is spinning around you even if you are standing still. Most of us have experienced that short-lived feeling of spinning dizziness when we were children after spinning around in circles. Vertigo can be accompanied by this feeling unexpectedly which can sometimes last for hours or even days. Other common symptoms include nausea or vomiting.
In this article, we will talk about vertigo’s causes and main symptoms, so that you learn to recognize it in you or your loved ones.
What is Vertigo?
Vertigo is a condition linked to our inner ear and the signals that it sends to the brain. The sounds we hear reach the outer ear and eardrum where they become vibrations which get transmitted to the inner ear through three small bones: the incus, malleus, and staples. Finally, the vibrations reach the vestibular nerve which carries the signal to the brain.
In the inner ear, there are many semicircular canals, which are also very important. The way that they are positioned, and their numerous hair cells give the brain important details on our position. Vertigo appears when the signal gets disrupted.
Causes of Vertigo
There are two types of causes of vertigo: peripheral or central. The peripheral causes have to do with the inner ear while the central ones are linked to the brain or spinal cord. Diseases can cause an inflammation of the inner ear or the small stones in it can move and irritate the semicircular canals. This condition leads to a type of vertigo called benign paroxysmal positional vertigo.
Certain people can also live with Meniere’s disease
which includes vertigo as a symptom along with tinnitus
and hearing loss. This rare disease is usually caused by fluid buildup inside the inner ear. Other causes of vertigo include:
Basilar artery migraine.
Symptoms of Vertigo
There are many symptoms that are surefire signs that you have vertigo even if you are not familiar with the term. From that bizarre sense of spinning even when you are standing still to the sensation that you are about to faint and the strong lightheadedness. When you have the condition, any movement of your body or head can escalate to severe dizziness, nausea, and vomiting.
A doctor can see if there are any unusual eye movements during a dizzy spell, called nystagmus
In serious cases, people can experience a combination of vertigo and imbalance. If the imbalance lasts for a few days and doesn’t see to pass on its own, it is crucial to go to a doctor! The patient can also lose control of one side of the body and feel very weak. Such symptoms might indicate that you are about to have a stroke or a different type of brain problem. Never wait for these symptoms to pass on their own as it might be something a lot more serious behind them.
When it comes to vertigo, there are certain risk factors like a head injury that can prompt the condition. Certain medications can also induce it, like antidepressants, aspirin, and blood pressure drugs. For some people, even drinking a small amount of alcohol can trigger serious episodes of vertigo. Studies have shown that 2% to 3% of the entire world population risk developing benign paroxysmal positional vertigo at one point in their lives. Older women are more likely to develop the condition than the rest of the population.
It seems that vertigo is one of the most common health problems that people experience. In most cases, it goes away on its own after a few hours or days. However, if it doesn’t, go and see a doctor. Vertigo can also be prevented by giving up smoking and making sure that your blood pressure, weight, cholesterol, and blood sugar levels are within healthy ranges. In addition, a healthy lifestyle and a reduction of salt intake can help greatly.
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