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causes, symptoms and treatment of vertigo


What is Vertigo?

Vertigo is a form of dizziness characterized by the sensation that either the individual or the surroundings are spinning, usually in one direction.

 The vertigo can be mild, or it can be severe enough to cause nausea, vomiting, headache, light-headedness, as well as a loss of balance and falling. Hearing loss, blurred vision, leg or arm weakness and loss of consciousness can be experienced as well, as a consequence of vertigo. In the last cases, as well as in the case of severe, recurrent or unexplained vertigo, consultation with a doctor is necessary to identify the cause and take appropriate measures.

 Vertigo is not a medical condition in itself. It is just the symptom of other underlying disorders, usually affecting the vestibular systems (inner ear and vestibular nerve) which is responsible for the perception of the body's movement and balance.

What are the causes of Vertigo?

The most common causes of vertigo include:

1)    Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV), which causes brief episodes of vertigo usually associated with a change in the position of the head while lying down. The exact cause of BPPV has not been clarified yet, although aging and/or head injury can play a role. 
    Inflammation of the vestibular nerve (vestibular neuronitis) or the inner ear (labyrinthitis), which causes sudden severe vertigo, often accompanied by nausea, vomiting, imbalance and sometimes hearing loss.
    Meniere's syndrome, which is characterized by abnormal changes in the pressure of the fluid contained in the inner ear, accompanied by sudden long-lasting episodes of vertigo, as well as by hearing problems such as tintinnus (ringing in the ear) and sometimes hearing loss.

Besides vestibular disorders, other neurological conditions affecting the cerebellum or the brain stem can cause vertigo, although in such cases vertigo is usually accompanied by many other neurological symptoms and signs.

 Vertigo is rarely the symptom of a life-threatening condition and often subsides on its own even without any specific treatment. However treatment is generally recommended when vertigo is severe, recurrent or it is accompanied by nausea, vomiting or other more serious symptoms.

Treatment for Vertigo*

Treatment of vertigo depends on the cause and the severity of symptoms. Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo can be successfully treated with a simple procedure of canalith repositioning, known as Apley's maneuver, which has to be carried out only by the physician. Through this maneuver of the head, the debris collected in the inner ear is moved to an area where it doesn't cause dizziness and can dissolve or be reabsorbed over a period of time.

Medications are not effective for the treatment of BPPV, although they can be used to treat or control associated signs of nausea and vomiting, when present. Other medications, called vestibular suppressants, can be helpful to relieve the sensation of vertigo in BPPV as well as in other conditions causing vertigo. However they are only intended to offer some comfort to patients, without actually curing vertigo or the underlying disorder. As already said, the definite cure of vertigo relies on the treatment of the specific causative disorder.

 Because vertigo can lead to injury or disability, patients with this problem should have themselves covered with appropriate international health insurance plans.

 If you would like to cover yourself or your relatives from medical condition that may occur you may consider buying a comprehensive Health Insurance.


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*Always seek professional medical advise from a qualified doctor before undergoing any treatment.