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Vertigo: causes, types, symptoms and treatment

by Alivia Nyhan
Published: Last Updated on

We can define vertigo as a sensation of movement that causes people to feel that their environment is spinning. It is a sensation similar to when we turn around ourselves several times and, when we stop, we find it difficult to stay upright without staggering. This disorder causes imbalance , nausea, dizziness and a feeling of fainting and is related to an alteration of the vestibular system , which is located within the inner ear and whose function is to maintain balance. This alteration can be momentary, lasting hours or even days, depending on the degree of disorder.

Keep in mind that anyone can have vertigo, but its development is different. While in children it tends to be spontaneous or short-lived vertigo, in the elderly it tends to develop longer, leading to greater difficulties and influencing the quality of life of those who suffer from it. Sometimes the disorder is accompanied by nystagmus, an involuntary spasm in one or both eyes that can be vertical, horizontal, or rotating.

In FastlyHealwe are going to tell you what are the causes, types, symptoms and existing treatments of this disorder so that you know it more closely.

Table of Contents

Causes associated with vertigo

The sense of balance depends on the correct functioning of the vestibular system, which connects the inner ear with the brainstem, along with the visual one. Vertigo is the result of incorrect reception of messages from the brain . The cause of this disorder may be related to alterations in the ear, in the connection of the nerves with the brain or in the brain itself. Next, we will name some of the causes :

  • Head trauma In the event of trauma, some of the areas of the brain associated with balance function may be impaired.
  • Viral or bacterial infections in the ear. An ear infection that is not treated properly can lead to vertigo, since, as we have said before, the ear plays a fundamental part in balance as it is connected to the brain stem through the vestibular system.
  • Dizziness People sensitive to sudden or sudden movements.
  • Some medications such as aminoglycoside antibiotics, diuretics, or salicylates.
  • Meniere’s disease . It is a disorder of the inner ear that usually only affects one ear. It usually causes severe dizziness, sounds in the ear, and hearing loss, which comes and goes, as well as the sensation of pressure in the ear.
  • Abnormal regulation of blood pressure. This cause is common in older people who need drugs for heart disease or hypertension and are at risk of fainting when incorporated as a result of a drop in blood pressure.
  • Labyrinthitis. Hearing disorder involving irritation and inflammation of the inner ear. It leads to difficulty in focusing the eyes as a result of involuntary eye movements.
  • Neurological disorders. Those like multiple sclerosis , tumors, or stroke.

Types of vertigo

The most common way to distinguish this disorder is by taking into account the area in which the disease that causes it occurs. Taking this into account we can differentiate between:

  • Peripheral vertigo . It is the most frequent and derives from the condition of the inner ear that controls balance and the vestibular nerve. As consequences, this type of vertigo has hearing loss and pressure in the ears.
  • Central vertigo . It is related to a direct problem in the brain, especially in the brainstem or the back part of the brain known as the cerebellum. It can be accompanied by double vision and a severe headache.

Vertigo symptoms

Below we will explain the symptoms of this disorder to learn more about it. When it comes to peripheral vertigo :

  • The main symptom of vertigo is the sensation of turning on oneself or that the environment revolves around us, which can cause dizziness and vomiting.
  • Another common symptom is related to sight and is the difficulty to focus the eyes on a specific point.
  • Loss of balance Staying on your feet can be a difficult task when you have vertigo, so the sufferer may need some additional support in order not to fall.
  • Ringing in the ears. When the affected area is the inner part of the ear, that is, when it is a pereric type vertigo, it is common to experience this symptom.
  • Hearing loss It consists of hearing loss in one or both ears. This symptom can be caused by different elements, such as the accumulation of wax in the outer ear, damage to the bones located just behind the eardrum, fluid in the ear after an ear infection or a hole in the eardrum, among others.

When vertigo is central, we face problems of a different nature than the previous one, in addition to those mentioned in the previous point:

  • Difficulty chewing food, bringing it to the back of the mouth and making it go down the esophagus, which is responsible for transferring food to the stomach.
  • Double vision.
  • Problems moving the eyes.
  • Facial paralysis caused by damage to the facial nerve, which carries signals from the brain to the muscles of the face, or by damage to the part of the brain that sends signals to the muscles of the face.
  • Poor articulation of language.
  • Limb weakness.

As we can see, while the symptoms related to peripheral vertigo are the consequence of elements that are not directly linked to the brain, the symptoms of central vertigo are the consequence of damages that are directly related to the brain, impairing its functions.

Existing treatments related to vertigo

The treatment of vertigo will depend on the cause that has led to its development. The drugs are used in order to decrease the uncompensated vestibular activity. These do not eliminate the cause of vertigo, but rather reduce the imbalance caused by vestibural dysfunction. They can be classified into two groups:

  • Modifiers of nerve transmission in the vestibular pathway. This group includes drugs with antihistamine or anticholinergic activity, or both.
  • Drugs whose focus of action acts on the cause of vertigo, such as vasodilators, diuretics to reduce fluid pressure, antibacterials to combat ear infection, among others.

Any of these options must be accompanied by a diet low in salt , something that is very effective. When none of the above options is effective, a surgical intervention is necessary :

  • Vestibular neuroctomy. The balance nerve is cut so the patient maintains hearing.
  • Labyrinthectomy, which involves loss of hearing by removing all sensory receptors from balance.

On the other hand, there is benign postural paroxysmal vertigo, which is a consequence of the existence of calcareous remains in some of the circular canals of the inner ear. In this case, the treatment consists of extracting the material to eliminate the discomfort.

In addition, in the following article we will talk about the best home remedies for vertigo .

This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to Vertigo: causes, types, symptoms and treatment , we recommend that you enter our Ear, Nose and Throat category .

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