Vertigo is medically a specific type of dizziness.
The word Vertigo comes from English “whirling” and Latin “verter” which means to turn.
Vertigo is often used to describe giddiness from looking down from great heights. However medically it is used to describe the illusion or sensation of whirling, spinning and loss of balance.
People describe vertigo as “spinning dizziness”, swaying and tilting. They say the room seems to spin around you. It is usually accompanied by nausea and vomiting and can last for some time.
Medicos often group vertigo causes into two groups, according to whether the site of the problem is in the central nervous (brain) system or the vestibular (peripheral).
Central (cerebral cortex, cerebellum, brainstem)
Cerebrovascular disease, migraine, multiple sclerosis, acoustic neuroma, diplopia, alcohol intoxication.
Peripheral (vestibular labyrinth, semicircular canals or vestibular nerve)
Viral labyrinthitis, vestibular neuritis, benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV), Meniere’s disease, motion sickness, ototoxicity (eg, gentamicin), herpes zoster (Ramsay Hunt syndrome).
While it is [often] comforting for a patient to receive a diagnosis or be given a name for one’s condition, their real focus is on receiving treatment and ongoing help in coping with the symptoms, especially if they are chronic in nature.
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Click here to read “Understanding vertigo, and what to do if you have it”