DefinitionVertigo is a feeling of spinning or whirling when you are not moving. It can also be an exaggerated feeling of motion when your body is still. Vertigo is a symptom that can be caused by many different conditions. Vertigo is different from passing dizziness or lightheadedness.
CausesInner ear nerves and structures sense the position of your head and body in space. Vertigo is often caused by problems with these nerves and structures. Less commonly, it is due to problems in the brain.Vertigo can be classified as:
Vertigo of Peripheral OriginVertigo of peripheral origin is caused by problems of the inner ear. It is the most common type of vertigo. Causes may include:
- Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV)
- Meniere's disease
- Perilymphatic fistula—an abnormal canal or connection in the inner ear
- Ototoxic medications—some medications can disrupt the inner ear's ability to balance
- Acoustic neuroma—benign tumor of the inner ear
- Reduced blood flow
- Otosclerosis—a bony growth near the middle ear
Vertigo of Central OriginVertigo of central origin is not as common as vertigo of peripheral origin, but it is more serious. This type of vertigo is affects the brainstem or the cerebellum, the region of the brain that controls balance. Causes may include:
- Brain lesion or tumors
- Migraine headaches
- Nervous system disorders such as Parkinson's disease or multiple sclerosis
- Excessive exposure to alcohol, heavy industrial metals, or poisons
Risk FactorsVertigo is a symptom that may be caused by many conditions. Having any of the conditions will make your more prone to having vertigo.
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