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Vertigo – Causes, Symptoms, Prevention, Diagnosis and Treatment

Dizziness and vertigo are very common problems that requires visiting a physician quite often. More important it is a symptom and not a disease. Dizziness defines two kind of feelings:
– Lightheadedness: There is a feeling of faint in this. Your environment is stationary. It often goes away after taking rest. Sometimes, a feeling of nausea also comes when you are light-headed.
– Vertigo: It is a feeling in which you feel that your environment is also moving around you. There is a feeling of spinning, whirling, falling, or tilting.

It is very important to note that all vertigo comes with dizziness, but not all dizziness comes with vertigo.

The cause of vertigo is mainly related to the :
– Problem with vestibular system. It integrates the senses and movement and keeps the objects in visual focus as the body moves.
– Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV)is a type of vertigo that develops due to collections of calcium in the inner ear.
– Inflammation of inner ear because of some viral or bacterial infection.
– Acoustic neuroma which is tumor of nerve tissue.
– Decreased blood flow to the base of the brain.
– Head trauma and neck injury.
– Migraine may also cause vertigo.

In case of vertigo, you can take precautions like:
– Take plenty of rest when symptoms of vertigo are there.
– Sudden movements should be avoided.
– Sudden position changes should be avoided.
– Do not increase any kind of activity immediately. It should be gradually increased.
– Take support of some cane or something while walking as you can loose balance.
– Avoid bright lights, TV, and reading during a vertigo attacks.

Diagnosis of vertigo is done on the basis of:
– Past history and clinical presentation.
– Neurological examination which involves judging the eye movements.
– Neurological examination also checks hearing.
– Neurological examination also checks one-sided weakness, loss of coordination, or loss of balance.
– Imaging of the brain can also be done.
– MRI evaluates the cerebellum more accurately.
– CT Scan can be used if there is a chance of bleeding.

Treatment of vertigo is not usually recommended if your vertigo lasts only second or minutes. But if it lasts for long, following treatment options are available:
– Oral steroid medications are given to reduce the inflammation of inner ear.
– Maneuvers are used to reposition the crystals and debris in the semicircular canals in case of inner ear inflammation.
– Intravenous diazepam can be considered for intractable symptoms and vomiting.
– Balance rehabilitation helps the brain adjust its response to changes in the vestibular system. It trains your eyes and other senses to “learn” how to compensate.

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