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A sensation of spinning or swaying while the body is stationary with respect to the earth or surroundings, also known as dizziness.
Organ or part of body involved: Brain
Symptoms and indications: To determine if true vertigo exists, you must describe a sensation of disorientation or motion. In addition, you may also have any or all of these symptoms: Nausea or vomiting; Sweating; Abnormal eye movements --
The duration can be from minutes to hours and can be constant or episodic. The onset may be due to movement or change in position. It is important to tell your doctor about any recent head trauma or whiplash injury as well as any new medications you may be taking; You may have hearing loss and a ringing sensation in your ears; You might have visual disturbances, weakness, difficulty speaking, decreased level of consciousness, and difficulty walking.
Causes and risk factors: Vertigo can be caused by problems in the brain or the inner ear.
Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) is the most common form of vertigo and is characterized by the sensation of motion initiated by sudden head movements.
Vertigo may also be caused by inflammation within the inner ear. This is known as labyrinthitis. This condition is characterized by the sudden onset of vertigo and may be associated with hearing loss.
Meniere disease is composed of a triad of symptoms: episodes of vertigo, ringing in the ears, and hearing loss. People have the abrupt onset of severe vertigo, fluctuating hearing loss, as well as periods in which they are symptom-free.
Acoustic neuroma is a type of tumor causing vertigo. Symptoms include vertigo with one-sided ringing in the ear and hearing loss.
Vertigo can be caused by decreased blood flow to the brain and base of the brain. Bleeding into the back of the brain is known as cerebellar hemorrhage and is characterized by vertigo, headache, difficulty walking, and inability to look toward the side of the bleed. The result is that the person's eyes gaze away from the side with the problem. Walking is also extremely impaired.
Vertigo is often the presenting symptom in multiple sclerosis. The onset is usually abrupt, and examination of the eyes may reveal the inability of the eyes to move past the midline toward the nose.
Head trauma and neck injury may also result in vertigo, which usually goes away on its own.
Migraine, a severe form of headache, may also cause vertigo. The vertigo is usually followed by a headache. There is often a prior history of similar episodes but no lasting problems.
Prevention: People whose balance is affected by vertigo should take precautions to prevent injuries from falls. Those with risk factors for stroke should control their high blood pressure and high cholesterol and stop smoking. Someone with Meniere disease should limit added salt to their diet.