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What is Vertigo and is it Dangerous?

3 min read

You might have experienced a sudden feeling of dizziness and spinning at some point in your life. It could have happened after you stood up too fast or moved in a way that triggered a specific sensation. There is a term for this feeling, and it’s called vertigo.

If you have felt dizzy once or twice after a particular movement, don’t worry, as most of the time it is a sign that you are under stress or that your blood sugar or blood pressure is a bit lower than usual. 

Some people experience vertigo regularly, and it seems like a normal thing to them. However, even though it is not dangerous in most cases, it can be an indicator of an underlying health condition. Many people see the effect of vertigo on sleep and other aspects of life. If the problem persists and is affecting your daily life, it is best to contact a medical professional.

What Can Be the Cause of Vertigo?

Some people mistake vertigo for fear of heights or regular dizziness. Even though vertigo can happen as a result of heights, in medical terms, vertigo is described as a perception of movement when no motion is the present or exaggerated perception of motion.

Most symptoms, like lightheadedness and slight dizziness, are harmless. Other symptoms include nausea, vomiting, spinning, tilting, sweating, blurred vision, slurred speech, weakness, clumsiness, disorientation, leaning to one side, and so on. While most symptoms are harmless, some can be an indicator of an underlying condition and require medical assistance.

The most common cause of vertigo is a problem with the inner ear. The ear is a very complex organ that has a lot of functions besides hearing. The inner ear helps to regulate orientation and balance, and if there is something wrong with it, it can lead to dizziness.

Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) is one of the most common inner ear problems, and it is caused by calcium particles. These calcium particles usually play a vital role in your body orientation, but they can get loose, clump up the ear canal and cause disorientation and dizziness. BPPV can be associated with age.

Meniere’s disease is an inner ear condition caused by the build-up of fluids, which changes the pressure in the ear. This condition may cause vertigo and impaired hearing.

Vestibular neuritis is a problem often caused by an infection of the inner ear. The infection leads to inflammation, which affects the nerves that are in charge of helping the body stay in balance. 

Less common causes of vertigo are:

  • Head or neck injuries
  • Stress and anxiety
  • Low blood sugar 
  • Low blood pressure
  • Stroke
  • Tumors
  • Medication that causes ear damage
  • Migraines

Treatment for Vertigo

Vertigo is not a condition itself, so the treatment depends on the underlying condition that is causing it. In most cases, medical assistance is not even needed, as the brain can adapt to these inner ear changes, and maintain balance using alternative mechanisms.

Vestibular rehabilitation is the most common treatment for vertigo. It is a type of physical therapy that should improve your vestibular system, which plays a role in signaling the brain about body movements concerning gravity. The goal of vestibular rehabilitation is to train your other senses to compensate for the lack of orientation you feel during vertigo.

Canalith repositioning maneuvers include a series of head and body movements used for the treatment of BPPV. The purpose of these maneuvers is to move the calcium deposits from the ear canal to the inner chamber. There, they are more likely to get absorbed by the body. The procedure can be unpleasant as you are likely to experience vertigo during the maneuvers. A doctor will guide you to the whole thing, and you should remember that even though it might be unpleasant, the procedure is safe, and most often effective.

Medications can also be prescribed in some cases. Antibiotics are used to treat infection, and steroids can reduce inflammation. Diuretics can also be prescribed to get rid of the excess fluid in the case of Meniere’s disease. Sometimes, people with symptoms like nausea take some medications to help ease those symptoms.

Surgery could be the solution in some cases of vertigo. It is mostly in more severe cases when dizziness is caused by tumors, neck or head injury, and surgery is the last option.

Some other treatments include changing everyday habits. That means eating a more balanced diet, exercising, maintaining a regular sleep schedule, and trying to eliminate obvious stressors. These little changes are often advised with other types of treatment, and they can go a long way.

Selena Thomas is a content writer who loves sharing tips on healthy lifestyles. A writer by day and a reader by night, she’s fond of writing articles that can help people in improving both physical and mental health. Also, she loves traveling and inspires people on her blogs.


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