What is vertigo?
Vertigo is a sudden sensation that you or your environment is spinning. While oftentimes mistakenly used interchangeably with acrophobia, a fear of heights, vertigo is actually a symptom rather than a condition itself. Vertigo varies in both severity and duration, and is commonly caused by problems with the inner ear, which plays an important role in establishing and maintaining the body’s sense of balance. In rare occasions, however, the underlying cause may be an issue within the brain itself.
The most common causes include the following inner ear problems:
- Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV), caused by buildup of calcium particles
- Meniere’s disease, caused by fluid buildup
- Vestibular neuritis or labyrinthitis, often caused by viral infections
When should I go to see a doctor?
If you have been experiencing any recurrent, severe, or prolonged and unexplained dizziness or vertigo, consult your primary care physician. Based on the diagnosis, you may be referred to either an otolaryngologist (ENT doctor) or a neurologist. Seek emergency care if you are experiencing dizziness or vertigo along with any of the following symptoms:
- A new or severe headache
- Problems with vision, hearing, or speaking
- Leg or arm weakness
- Loss of consciousness
- Falling or difficulty walking
- Numbness or tingling
Treatment for vertigo depends on what the underlying cause is. In most cases, no treatment is required, since the human brain is able to adapt somewhat to the changes in the inner ear in order to maintain balance. Those who require treatment may benefit from one of the following: Vestibular rehabilitation, Medicine, Epley maneuver.
Call us today at 646-596-7386 to schedule an evaluation with our neurologist, Dr. Tom Pitts.
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