Vertigo is a common part of daily life for many Americans. According to a recent study, dizziness, including vertigo, affects up to 1 in 5 of all Americans each year. But, contrary to what conclusions you may draw from the Hitchcock film of the same name, vertigo has little to do with fear of heights. So what exactly is vertigo, and how can it be treated? Read on to find out what you need to know about vertigo.
What is Vertigo?
Vertigo is a condition that describes a feeling of dizziness – but a specific kind of dizziness. Sufferers of vertigo feel imbalanced, as if they are moving even though they are at rest or even that the room is spinning around them. Vertigo isn’t necessarily a stand-alone condition, instead of presenting as a symptom of a wider illness or disease – though it is possible to experience vertigo simply by moving your head at speed.
What Causes Vertigo?
Vertigo can be experienced as a result of a large number of conditions and illnesses, many of which are otherwise mild and acute: colds, flu, and even mild hangovers can cause vertigo, though vertigo can also be the harbinger of something more serious, from ear issues to neurological disease.
Vertigo can appear in two distinct forms: peripheral vertigo and central vertigo. Peripheral vertigo stems from issues with the inner ear, the home of our sense of balance; various ear-related illnesses can cause vertigo alongside other symptoms, for example, labyrinthitis. Labyrinthitis is an inner ear infection, which can inflame tissue surrounding a crucial nerve to transmit balance and audio information – causing hearing loss, headaches, and vertigo. Central vertigo tends to be more chronic, stemming from neurological issues; traumatic brain injuries and stroke are common causes of central vertigo, though it can be experienced acutely as part of a migraine.
How Can You Treat Vertigo?
Vertigo can be tackled in myriad ways, as treating the condition of which it is a symptom will often alleviate it alongside other symptoms you may be suffering. However, correct diagnosis is key before you attempt any remedies if only to determine the extent to which you have been affected. Take an online hearing test to determine if your hearing has been affected alongside your balance, and talk to your doctor about the discomfort you have been experiencing. Anti-inflammatory drugs can often alleviate vertigo by releasing pressure on the cochlea, vestibulocochlear nerve, or even the brain. For chronic conditions, the best treatment is rest and relaxation; vertigo attacks tend not to last longer than a few minutes.
If you are experiencing vertigo, we hope this article has been helpful to educate you on all you need to know regarding vertigo.
Featured Biswarup Ganguly, CC BY 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons