Vertigo

WHAT IS VERTIGO?

Vertigo comes from the Latin “vertō”, which roughly means dizziness and the loss of the sense of movement. Vertigo is not a disease but a symptom of an underlying disease. It occurs very frequently, and at a very wide range of clinical manifestations from mild dizziness and unsteadiness to severe cases which involve patients unable to get out of the bed. The patient might feel drunken, unable to stand steady, and lightheaded. These feelings entail helplessness, fear, and depression in the long run. Vertigo must be taken seriously, and medical attention must be sought urgently. Either an ear-nose-throat specialist or an neurologist must be visited.

Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV) is also commonly known as the shift of calcium crystals within the inner ear labyrinths. BPVV is the most common cause of the vertigo. The probability of having BPPV attack is 10% for each person at least once during their lifetime. It is an attack of dizziness that occurs with a movement of the head or body, such as hanging curtains, reversing the car, turning in the bed, etc. In the absence of vertigo, a slight imbalance might be experienced while walking. It is the dizziness that occurs due to small calcified otoliths moving around loose in the labyrinths of the inner ear and causing sudden onset sensations. Videonistagmograph (VNG) test is used to determine the location of the crystal particles and correct it with various maneuvering treatments depending on their location.

SYMPTOMS

Each patient defines the dizziness with different terms. Phrases such as “everything is spinning”, “the ground beneath my feet is slipping”, “my head is whirling” “I black out” are often heard. All of them define the dizziness. There are other symptoms depending on the cause in patients with dizziness. Tinnitus, lack of hearing, sense of pressure in the ear, nausea-vomiting, ear discharge and abnormal movements in the eyes (nystagmus) might be detected in dizziness arising from ear diseases, whereas headaches, numbness, paralysis, and abnormal eye movements when it is rooted in neurological diseases. Many cases feature dizziness coexisting with other complaints while many others include dizziness only.

TREATMENT

The treatment of vertigo targets the underlying cause. However, it is very common to perform a general treatment as the cause cannot be not found. This treatment contains:
Removal of trigger factors, such as stress, alcohol, smoking, caffeine, salt
Avoiding the triggering position
Medication therapy
Surgical therapy

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