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Causes of Vertigo

Vertigo is not a disease, but rather a symptom caused by a condition or a disease. The causes of vertigo vary and it is described as feeling as though a person’s surroundings are spinning around them. Vertigo centers around a feeling of movement, which may or may not cause dizziness or light-headedness. Dizziness alone is not vertigo, but dizziness is often an additional symptom that might result from vertigo. Despite the causes of vertigo, it is definitely associated with the inner ear.

The two most common causes of vertigo are benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) and Meniere's syndrome. BPPV is best described as condition that affects the vestibular system, which is located in and around the ear and is responsible for integrating our sense of sight, sound and motion with the body. Simply put, it controls the body’s sense of balance or the equilibrium. BPPV can cause other symptoms relevant to vertigo including dizziness and nausea. People with BPPV will often experience vertigo when moving quickly from one position to another such as lying down to standing, but the feeling usually passes quickly.

Menier’s syndrome causes a feeling of pressure in the ear, which is often accompanied by ringing in the ears, a loss of balance and often mild to severe vertigo and eventually loss of hearing. The cause of Menier’s is not yet known, but like BPPV is linked to the inner ear.

Less common causes of vertigo include brain tumors, stroke, and low blood pressure. In some cases, certain prescription medications can cause vertigo. Only a doctor can evaluate and diagnose the causes of vertigo. If you are experiencing vertigo, or similar symptoms, you should call your doctor. There are non-surgical treatments to alleviate vertigo. If you are taking a prescription medication that causes similar symptoms, consult your doctor or pharmacist immediately.

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