Vertigo refers to a medical condition in which a person feels like the objects surrounding them are constantly moving while they are not. It is a feeling of dizziness which may be accompanied by vomiting, headache, nausea, sweating, and trouble while walking.
In case a person has an illusion that they are moving, it is called subjective vertigo. Also, when a person has an illusion that everything around them is moving, it is called objective vertigo.
Causes of vertigo
Many causes lead to vertigo – it is divided into peripheral and central causes.
In case the cause of vertigo is central, it may occur due to a problem in the cerebellum part of the brain. It is the part positioned at the lowermost part of the brain. Vertigo could also be due to a problem in the brainstem which is the part of the brain linked to the spinal cord.
Whereas if the cause of vertigo is peripheral, it is due to the trouble in the balancing system of the inner ear.
The most common causes leading to peripheral vertigo are as follows:
- Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV)
It is the most common cause of vertigo. It occurs when tiny calcium carbonate particles accumulate in the inner ear’s fluid-filled canals. It may occur when one is standing, moving their head around and even bending. The attacks of vertigo due to BPPV can be intense and periodic and last for a short span of time. A person may feel lightheadedness, loss of balance and their eyes may move hysterically for a brief period.
BPPV is said to arise due to an infection in the ear, a head injury, after an ear surgery or even prolonged bed rest.
- Head injury
Head injury is another cause of peripheral vertigo that leads to a person feeling dizzy. Head injuries could be severe or minor, but in both cases, medical attention is required.
Labyrinth is an infection that occurs in the inner area of the ear due to common cold, flu or bacterial infection. That, in turn, leads to the inflammation of labyrinth. Labyrinth is that part of the ear which is a maze-like structure with fluid packed channels. It is responsible for maintaining hearing and balance in the body. When labyrinth gets inflamed, the signals sent to the brain become haywire which leads to vertigo.
When vertigo is caused due to labyrinth inflammation, one may also experience hearing problems, ear pain, and tinnitus.
- Vestibular Neuronitis
It is a medical condition in the inner area of the ear in which inflammation of the nerve that connects labyrinth to the brain is observed. In some rare cases labyrinth may also be inflamed. The cause of Vestibular Neuronitis is a viral infection that leads to one feeling dizzy or unsteady. This condition may last from hours to days and may take up to six weeks to settle entirely.
- Ménière’s Disease
It is a rare medical condition occurring in the inner ear and has severe consequences such as hearing disorder, aural fullness, and vertigo. It can last from few hours to a couple of days. Vertigo attacks can be sudden and are usually accompanied by queasiness and vomiting. The cause of this disease is unknown but can be cared for by following a prescribed diet and medication.
Vertigo may also occur as a side-effect of a certain kind of medication you are on. The side effect may be minor and should not be a concern. However, in a case when the vertigo is severe, one must consult a doctor.
The most common causes leading to central vertigo incorporate:
It is a medical condition where the person experiences a severe or a mild headache generally on one side of the head. This condition is more common in the younger lot and is a common cause of vertigo. It may be accompanied by vomiting and sensitivity to light or sound.
- Acoustic Neuroma
It is a rare medical condition similar to a brain tumor that is not cancerous. This condition is also known as Vestibular Schwannoma and develops over the acoustic nerve which provides the balancing and hearing aid.
- Multiple Sclerosis
It is a medical condition that influences the central nervous system, i.e., the brain and the spinal cord. Sclerosis usually lasts a lifetime. It is another cause of vertigo that leads to problems in coordination and balancing.
- Transient Ischaemic Attack (TIA)
It is a medical condition where the blood supply to the part of the brain may cut-off partially. This may also be called a mini-stroke that in turn leads to lack of oxygen reaching the brain. It is also a cause of vertigo, i.e., it leads to unsteadiness and balancing problems and may last from a few minutes to hours.
These are the common causes of vertigo. If you ever experience one, consult a doctor right away to chart out the best medications for your problem.