Vertigo is a false sensation of spinning, movement, or swaying even when the surroundings are perfectly still. Patients feel dizzy, nauseous, &experience bouts of vomiting, which is often linked with mismatched signals from the brain’s visual, vestibular, & sensory systems. Vertigo symptoms also include headaches, motion sickness, & some other neurological symptoms.
Incase your Vertigo is triggered by an infection like Labyrinthitis or Meniere’sDisease, you might also feel fullness or pressure in the ear. In most cases, vertigo isn’t a disorder in itself, rather a symptom of some underlying condition.
Types of Vertigo:
There are primarily two types of Vertigo:
● Peripheral vertigo, and
● Central Vertigo
PeripheralVertigo is the most common type of vertigo & is usually caused by an issue in the inner ear. The inner ear is crucial for controlling balance in our body. When the inner ear organs are compromised by an infection, an injury, or any other causes, the body can’t maintain natural balance & sends out confusing signals to the brain, leading to disorientation & dizziness. Peripheral vertigo symptoms often include spinning sensation, sweating, nausea, vomiting, headaches, ear pain, & motion sickness.
If your Peripheral Vertigo symptoms are due to an inner ear infection, then your ear might also feel full & you might feel pressure inside your ears.
Peripheral Vertigo causes:
BenignParoxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV) is the most common type of PeripheralVertigo experienced by patients, experienced by about 80% of patients diagnosed with Vertigo. BPPV is characterized by short bouts of intense dizziness, nausea, disorientation, & sometimes, Motion Sickness. These episodes last anywhere between 45 seconds to 2 minutes,& are usually easy to treat & diagnose. Aside from BPPV, some other common causes of vertigo that is peripheral in nature are:
● Vestibular Neuritis: It is an infection in the Vestibular nerve that causes swelling &inflammation in the nerve, thus leading to the patient feeling dizzy, nauseous, unbalanced, & motion sick. TheVertigo caused by Vestibular Neuritis causes intense bouts of dizziness, nausea, & vomiting & episodes can last for several days.
Diagnosis is done using a physical test & several hearing tests. Treatment for this type of Vertigo includes treating the root infection cause, &symptom mitigating Vertigo medicines as well as certain Vertigo exercises for reducing the intensity of peripheral Vertigo symptoms.
● Meniere’s Disease: Meniere’s Disease is another common cause of Peripheral Vertigosymptoms. It is caused by endolymphatic regulatory dysfunction, which essentially means liquid filling up inside the inner ear. When this happens, the vestibular nerves can’t perform their job properly, thus leading to feelings of dizziness, nausea, & vomiting.
When you're suffering from this type of Peripheral Vertigo, symptoms can also include feelings of pressure & fullness inside the ear, along with certain ear pains. Peripheral Vertigo treatment for symptoms arising from Meniere’s Disease includes diuretic medicines that help reduce the amount of fluid buildup inside the inner ear, & Vertigo exercises that help with maintaining balance. Sometimes, patients may feel some relief by reducing their salt intake, as well as staying away from tobacco & alcohol consumption.
In some cases, any kind of head trauma or inner ear surgery that causes some disturbance in the vestibular system of the body can also lead to Peripheral vertigo.
Peripheral vertigo treatment usually involves vertigo medicines & drugs that include antibiotics, antivirals (incase of infections like labyrinthitis & Vestibular Neuritis), antihistamines & prochlorperazine to relieve nausea, & anti-anxiety medications such as benzodiazepines. Meniere’sDisease patients are recommended medicines that reduce the amount of fluid buildup in the ear, also known as diuretics, & to alleviate the dizziness& Vertigo symptoms. For patients whose peripheral Vertigo symptoms are caused by Vestibular Neuritis, short courses of Vestibular suppressants like diazepam & lorazepam are recommended to help reduce the severity of their symptoms.
The most common type of PeripheralVertigo among patients is Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV), and itis treated with the help of both Vertigo medicines & Vertigo exercises. Exercises like the Brandt-Daroff, the theSemont-Foster maneuver, & the Epley Maneuver, which are a series of head movements that help reset the body’s natural balance, are recommended for patients suffering from BPPV Peripheral vertigo. Any sudden hearing loss & ringing/buzzing/hissing the ears are treated with the help of medications &/or hearing aids. Patients are also advised to stay away from high quantity salt intake, alcohol consumption, & to regularly take diuretic medications for quick resolution of Peripheral Vertigo.
Central Vertigo is often caused by an issue with the brain or a brain disorder. It also occurs quite suddenly in people, & usually lasts for longer periods of time than Peripheral Vertigo. Central Vertigo symptoms are also more intense in nature & patients might need help to walk or perform certain other activities.
Causesof Central Vertigo:
As with major central nervous system conditions like strokes & Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA), vascular risk factors for Central Vertigo include diabetes, hypertension, &hyperlipidemia. Strokes & Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA) could also be among the causes for Central Vertigo, although these are more life threatening& require immediate attention & medical care. Central Vertigo symptoms include dizziness, nausea, & vomiting, along with diplopia, numbness, &a lack of coordination. Patients usually experience spells of dizziness &Vertigo, diplopia, ipsilateral ataxia, & ipsilateral loss of a sensation of pain in the face.
A tumor or a mass in the brainstem can also cause Vertigo along with other symptoms such as progressive unilateral hearing loss. Central vertigo can also be caused by Multiple Sclerosis. It’sstipulated that about 7% of Multiple Sclerosis patients experience Central vertigo symptoms. Migraine can also cause vertigo symptoms that can last anywhere between a few minutes to a few hours, & occur in about10-30% of all Migraine patients.
Central vertigo treatment:
Central vertigo treatment usually involves treating the root cause of the illness that’s causing central vertigo in the first place. Migraines, for example, can be treated with the help of prophylactic migraine medications. Multiple Sclerosis & tumors can be managed with the help of medicines that help relieve nausea & dizziness. Tumors can also be surgically removed if your doctor deems it necessary.
Aside from Peripheral Vertigo &Central Vertigo, researchers have also discovered a certain new type of Vertigowhich has no probable known cause but responds to treatment. Researchers have termed it recurrent spontaneous Vertigo with head-shaking nystagmus. Patients with this condition experience headaches with recurrent vertigo attacks, nystagmus, & other vestibular symptoms like dizziness, nausea, vomiting,& motion sickness. The patients of this type of Vertigo were also more likely to experience more severe motion sickness & other vestibular symptoms than the patients of other types of Vertigo.