The vertigo is a subjective sensation of moving objects that are around and oneself; a feeling of precipitation under vacuum may also occur. It is usually accompanied by other signs such as nausea, dizziness and loss of control.
In a large number of cases, the episodes of vertigo are related to the vestibular system , which is located inside the inner ear, and whose main function is to coordinate the maintenance of balance. Vertigo can affect people of all ages; however, in the case of children it occurs as a spontaneous crisis, while in the elderly it can occur as a chronic disorder.
It should not be confused with dizziness since in this case the sensation is of instability, but there is no perception that the objects are spinning.
Causes of vertigo
The causes that can lead to a dizzying picture can be many. Although it is usually related to an alteration in the ear, it can also appear after a blow to the head, a tumor … Below we will indicate what are the main causes of this condition.
Tumors located in the posterior fossa of the brain
One of the possible causes of an episode of vertigo is a tumor, malignant or benign, located in the posterior fossa of the brain . It should be noted that it is not one of the most common causes of this disorder.
Multiple sclerosis is a chronic disease of the nervous system that affects the brain and spinal cord; Although it can affect everyone, it occurs especially in people between 20 and 30 years old. One of the main symptoms that accompany multiple sclerosis is dizziness ; In addition, there are others such as fatigue, lack of balance, pain, visual disturbances, difficulties when speaking, tremor …
In the vast majority of cases it is a mild condition; however, some patients completely lose the ability to perform basic activities such as talking or walking. To this day there is no cure for multiple sclerosis ; however, medicine slows down the process and also minimizes the intensity of symptoms.
Another possible cause of a vertiginous picture is a head injury . In these cases, it is usually due to damage of various kinds in the structures of the labyrinth, as well as bleeding that arises as a result of the blow.
A head injury requires urgent medical assistance; otherwise, the medium and long-term complications can be serious.
A very high state of anxiety and stress can also lead to the appearance of vertigo of varying intensity. Sometimes they are accompanied by other symptoms such as tremors in the hands, agitation and difficulty breathing.
Ménière’s disease is a disease that affects the inner ear . In addition to vertigo, there are other symptoms such as a very intense roaring sound in the ear, as well as loss of hearing in a spiradic way, and a great sensation of pressure and / or pain. It usually affects only one ear.
It is estimated that about 90% of patients who suffer from vertigo do so due to an ear infection; It is therefore the most common cause of this disease, and generally affects the labyrinth of the inner ear or the vestibular nerve. It is common for this type of infection to give rise to a clinical picture with various signs, such as dizziness, nausea and vomiting.
The symptoms of vertigo vary depending on its type.
- Peripheral: it is called as such the one in which the vestibular system is damaged in some way. Vertigo manifests itself in a very intense, although sporadic, way; there are moments when the patient is well, while there are others when he is not. The rapid and involuntary movement of the eyes occurs in a horizontal direction; generally, it is accompanied by sweating, nausea, vomiting, and photosensitivity.
- Central: arises as a consequence of various lesions that take place in the brain. The vertigo is not as intense as in the previous case, although it occurs continuously. Rapid and involuntary eye movement can occur in both horizontal and vertical directions. One of the main signs that accompany vertigo is instability, which considerably complicates the simple act of walking, or even standing. The patient also has headache , vomiting, and insmonnia.
In general, the most frequent symptoms are the following: difficulty focusing the eyes, dizziness, hearing loss in one ear, loss of balance, and ringing in the ears . If vertigo is caused by a problem in the brain, it can be accompanied by other signs such as double vision, facial paralysis, problems articulating words, and weakness in the arms and legs.
At the slightest suspicion that a patient may suffer vertigo, it is advisable to go to the doctor to establish the proper diagnosis and treatment. In the first place, a history of the patient is made , depending on the symptoms that he presents, the way in which the picture has started, the family history, and whether or not he suffers some type of chronic disease.
Once the history is established, ocular motility is checked ; If the result is abnormal, it implies that there is some type of dysfunction in the inner ear, or in the nerve connections between the ear itself and the brain. Nystagmus, as the voluntary and uncontrollable movement of the eyes is known, is what determines the vertiginous picture; if it occurs in a horizontal direction it corresponds to peripheral vertigo, while the vertical direction is associated with central vertigo.
Another common diagnostic test is the vestibulo-ocular reflex ; To do this, the doctor turns the patient’s head while the patient has his gaze fixed on a certain point.
As we have pointed out, the vast majority of cases of vertigo occur as a result of an ear problem . Therefore, the doctor also performs an examination of the ear canal of the patient with the otoscope.
If the doctor considers it necessary, he or she can request imaging tests, such as an X-ray or a CT scan; These allow detecting certain diseases, such as a head injury or a vestibular nerve tumor. When vertigo is accompanied by signs such as frequent and severe headaches, double vision, lack of coordination in movements and inability to speak, it may be an indication of the existence of some type of neurological abnormality.
The treatment of this condition is focused on treating its symptoms. Once the diagnosis and the cause that has given rise to the vertiginous picture has been established, the doctor determines the most appropriate treatment.
The most commonly used drugs to control dizziness, nausea, and vomiting are Promethazine and Meclicine . In some cases, patients are also recommended to administer Diazepam; a very useful medicine when there are severe cases of vertigo, but it causes great drowsiness.
What to do in an episode of vertigo?
Faced with an episode of vertigo that occurs suddenly, there are a number of points to keep in mind. First of all, it is essential to keep still ; Vertigo is accompanied by great instability and a feeling of loss of balance, so it is important not to walk or perform any type of movement due to the risk of falling.
As the episode of vertigo subsides, you should gradually return to normal activity, without making sudden changes in position. And finally, it is advisable to avoid bright lights.
If episodes of vertigo recur relatively frequently, they can negatively interfere with the patient’s lifestyle. Thus, it is recommended not to drive vehicles or carry out work with heavy machinery.
Regarding complications, one of the most common is a hip fracture due to a fall , which occurs especially in older people. It is a serious injury, which can lead to a number of life-threatening complications.
How are vertigo and dizziness different?
You hear a lot about dizziness and dizziness. Although they both share common symptoms, they are two completely different medical conditions. Below we point out the main differences between the two.
Vertigo, in the vast majority of cases, is accompanied by nausea, sweating and lack of balance . Its most common cause is an ear problem; that is why many patients also have buzzing or whistling sounds. It is what is known as peripheral vertigo.
Central vertigo is far less common, and its cause is in the brain. It can occur as a result of a large selection of pathologies, such as multiple sclerosis. If the cause of the dizziness is not properly treated, you may experience episodes several times a day, or even for several days or weeks in a row.
Dizziness is an occasional disorder characterized by the fact that patients feel that their vision is blurred, as well as a generalized weakness. In practically 100% of cases it is related to a specific alteration of blood circulation: low blood pressure, neck injury … Dizziness only lasts a few seconds or minutes.
When patients feel dizzy, they should act as follows: position themselves in a safe area and sit with their head between their legs, or lie down with their legs stretched out and raised. They are two movements that notably help to reactivate blood circulation.
Hello Readers, I am Nikki Bella a Psychology student. I have always been concerned about human behavior and the mental processes that lead us to act and think the way we do. My collaboration as an editor in the psychology area of Well Being Pole has allowed me to investigate further and expand my knowledge in the field of mental health; I have also acquired great knowledge about physical health and well-being, two fundamental bases that are directly related and are part of all mental health.