The Symptoms Of Vertigo

Vertigo is a symptom of many different diseases or disorders. Dizziness is caused when our equillibrium is off balance. Our equillibrium is controlled by the semicircular canals in the inner ear.

Have you ever spun around as a kid (or even an adult) until you were so dizzy you fell down? Regardless of the reason why you liked that, the cause of dizziness is physiological. You disrupted your balance center. For the most part it is not always fun to be dizzy. It can cause you to feel lightheaded, off balance, get a headache, and feel nauseous, or vomit. However, dizziness is not a disease in itself; dizziness is a symptom of many different diseases and disorders.

Dizziness, or vertigo, is caused when our balance or equilibrium is off balance. Our equilibrium is controlled by the semicircular canals in the inner ear. The semicircular canals are filled with fluid and together, make up something called the labyrinth. The canals are lined with tiny hairs that sense movement of the fluid in the semicircular canals. These tiny hairs then send messages to the brain that give information about the position of the head. Now that you understand the physiology of your balance, we can learn of some things that may affect your balance, thus causing you to be dizzy.

Benign Positional Vertigo: This is a condition that occurs when the head is held in certain positions. The dizziness is accompanied by spinning sensations and twitching of the eyeballs and possibly nausea. It is caused by tiny deposits of debris in the inner ear that interfere with balance or equilibrium. Since the inner ear cannot be accessed because it is behind the tympanic membrane, or eardrum, nothing can be done for this condition. The cause of the debris is unknown. Prevention of the dizziness episodes is best accomplished by avoiding positions known to cause it. It may go away spontaneously and reoccur at random. In severe cases, surgery can be done, which may entail hearing loss, due to rupturing of the ear drum.

Dizziness occurs anytime the equilibrium is off balance. If you have ever been reading or even just looking down in an automobile while traveling, and felt dizzy and even developed a headache and nausea, (i.e., car sickness or motion sickness), this is the reason. Motion sickness can also occur on a boat or plane, as well. There are certain medications for motion sickness and vertigo, such as Dramamine (over the counter) and others by prescription. These generally cause drowsiness. One thing the person who develops car sickness can do is not read or look down while traveling, but look outside and perhaps have some fresh air.

Labyrinthitis: This is an inflammation of the labyrinth which makes up the semicircular canals in the inner ear, and is responsible for our balance. The canals can become infected, usually by a virus. Inflammation disrupts the movement of the fluid, thus disrupting our balance. Symptoms are dizziness, a spinning sensation, possibly headache and nausea, and being off balance. The dizziness and spinning sensations usually come in episodes and disrupt balance, and last from a few seconds to several minutes. Unfortunately this type of virus can take up to several weeks to resolve. Viruses are not affected by antibiotics and have to run their course. Labyrinthitis caused by bacterial infection from the middle ear is rare but possible and complications include: deafness and meningitis, if not treated with antibiotics properly and promptly.

Meniere's disease: Meniere's disease affects more people than we know because many people do not seek medical treatment for this disorder, but choose to fight this private hell alone. Meniere's disease is caused by an increase in the fluid in the inner ear, or semicircular canals. The symptoms include: ringing (or possibly buzzing or humming) in one or both ears, dizziness or vertigo- severe at times, feeling of pressure or pain in ear, nausea/vomiting, hearing loss. Again these attacks or episodes usually occur sporadically, days, weeks, months or years apart. There seems to be times of exacerbations and remissions. The episodes are believed by some to be brought on by viruses or other illnesses, stress, cold temperatures, sinus and allergies, just to name a few. There is no cure for this disorder. Treatment is palliative, which means the symptoms are treated. These include: medications such as Phenergan for nausea and vomiting, fluid pills can be given to reduce excess fluid in the inner ear canals and in the body in general, and fiorinal (prescription), is usually given for migraines that can accompany the attacks. If it is severe, surgery can be done that can cause deafness. Possible long-term effects of the disease include deafness.

Tumor of the Inner Ear:

This is a rare occurrence. Symptoms include hearing loss, ringing in the ear, dizziness. As the tumor grows, it would destroy hearing and balance. Surgery is done to remove the tumor which results in permanent hearing loss.

Dizziness is a symptom of many diseases, too many to discuss here. Diabetes, hypoglycemia, hypertension, hypotension, sinusitis, anemia, are just a few. The most important thing is, if it is recurrent, to find the cause of the symptom of dizziness. See your doctor if you have recurrent problems of dizziness.

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