Vertigo – The Condition that Causes Dizziness (Not a Movie Review)

Your balance system is just that, a system. Inputs are received from your ears (where your balance organ resides), which are confirmed with your visual input (eyes), then appropriate balance control is executed by your spine and extremities, and finally your brain is processing all this information. When one of those areas is impaired, it throws the whole balance system off making you dizzy- aka vertigo.

Vertigo is an umbrella term used to describe extreme dizziness. In our evaluation, the ENT doctor may find one these common balance disorders as the cause of “vertigo”:

  • BPPV (Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo): The condition most associated with “vertigo.” This is often described as the room spinning upon waking and certain movements (e.g., bending forward or turning to one side). BPPV occurs when the calcium carbonate crystals in the balance system are displaced, confusing the balance organ.
  • Labyrinthitis: An infection in the balance organ, often caused by a virus. Additional symptom includes hearing loss, tinnitus, nausea/vomiting, and blurred vision.
  • Neuronitis: An infection of the hearing and balance nerve, often caused by a virus. Additional symptoms include nausea/vomiting and blurred vision.
  • Meniere’s disease: This dizziness is often accompanied by low-pitch tinnitus, decrease in hearing, and ear fullness. It is caused by a disruption in the fluid in your inner ear and can be managed by an ENT doctor.

Dizziness can be very debilitating, interrupt your daily life, and possibly result in injury. An Otolaryngologist and Audiologist perform the necessary testing to diagnosis and treat the cause of the dizziness. The first step is to exam the ear in order to determine which part of the system is the root of your dizziness. At ENTC, we have an Audiologist on-call to conduct a hearing test and reveal any anomalies in the ear. From these results, the ENT doctor can narrow down which area of the balance system is being affected and determine the appropriate next steps. Often times additional balance assessments, imaging, and/or physical therapy is recommended. Medications and lifestyle changes are prescribed as needed.

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms described above, please schedule an appointment with us today so we can determine the underlying cause and create a treatment plan. Schedule your appointment at the Ear, Nose, and Throat Center today. Call 847-685-1000

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