women with dizziness

Vertigo Symptoms and Signs

Vertigo is a feeling that you are dizzily turning around or that your surroundings are dizzily turning about you. Vertigo is usually due to a problem with the inner ear but can also be caused by vision problems and other conditions. Vertigo is medically distinct from dizziness, lightheadedness, and unsteadiness in that vertigo involves the sensation of movement. Vertigo may be described as a feeling that you yourself are spinning around, known as subjective vertigo, or the feeling of rotation of the surrounding environment, known as objective vertigo.

What causes vertigo?

There are a number of different causes of vertigo. Vertigo can be defined based upon whether the cause is peripheral or central. Central causes of vertigo arise in the brain or spinal cord while peripheral vertigo is due to a problem within the inner ear. The inner ear can become inflamed because of illness, or small crystals or stones found normally within the inner ear can become displaced and cause irritation to the small hair cells within the semicircular canals, leading to vertigo. This is known as benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV).

Meniere's disease, vertigo associated with hearing loss and tinnitus (ringing in the ear), is caused by fluid buildup within the inner ear; the cause of this fluid accumulation is unknown. Head injuries may lead to damage to the inner ear and be a cause of vertigo. Infrequently, strokes affecting certain areas of the brain, multiple sclerosis, or tumors may lead to an onset of vertigo. Some patients with a type of migraine headache called basilar artery migraine may develop vertigo as a symptom. Continue Reading

Reviewed on 5/1/2015
Balance Disorders Pictures Slideshow: Vertigo, Migraines, Motion Sickness and More


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