Apr 13, 2023

Table of contents

30 Second Summary

  • Vertigo is the feeling that one's self and surroundings are spinning.
  • It can be caused by a problem in the brain or inner ear.
  • It is seen in two types: peripheral and central.
  • The treatment of vertigo depends on the type of vertigo and the underlying cause.

What is vertigo?

In vertigo, which is defined as dizziness; although there is no movement, the person, himself and those around him seem to be in motion, loss of balance, loss of balance, vomiting, nausea, and dizziness are observed. These symptoms may be caused by a problem with the brain or the inner ear.

Vertigo is a symptom of a disease rather than a condition itself. It can be very violent and sudden. This can make it very difficult to keep your balance and do your daily work. Attacks of vertigo can occur suddenly and may be short or last longer. Vertigo can cause difficulty in standing and walking.

What is neurological vertigo?

Although neurological vertigo is often thought of as a disease, it is not. It is a symptom of another disease. In neurological vertigo, dizziness is caused by a problem in the body's balance system.

Sometimes the symptoms are very mild, but at other times it may even be difficult for the person to stand, making life difficult. Vertigo attacks can sometimes last for days or even weeks. People with vertigo experience nausea, vomiting and imbalance. It is among the most common causes of neurological vertigo;

  • Migraine
  • Brain tumors
  • Head traumas
  • Epilepsy
  • MS
  • Meningitis

Symptoms of neurological vertigo

The primary symptom of neurological vertigo is the sensation that the person and their surroundings are moving and spinning. The sensation of rotation and movement can cause nausea and vomiting. Depending on the cause of vertigo, other symptoms may include

  • Dizziness
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Loss of balance
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Focusing problem in the eyes
  • Hearing loss in one or both ears

If you have vertigo due to problems in the brain, you may also have other symptoms:

  • Double vision
  • Facial paralysis
  • Weakness of the limbs.
  • Speech impairment.
  • Difficulty swallowing.
  • Eye movement problems.
  • People tend to sleep during the day.
  • There is a clouding of consciousness.

Types of vertigo

There are two types of vertigo: peripheral and central vertigo. In peripheral vertigo caused by a problem with balance in the inner ear, there is a problem with the vestibular labyrinth or semicircular canals. In peripheral vertigo, there may also be a problem with the vestibular nerve.

In central vertigo, there is usually a problem in the brain, the brain stem or the back of the brain. Central vertigo is caused by bleeding in the brain, tumors, disorders in the brain vessels or aneurysms in the vessels.

Medication and other treatment options are available for both types of vertigo. Your specialist will find out which type of vertigo you have and what is causing this condition and will start a treatment method accordingly.

Peripheral vertigo

In peripheral vertigo, the most common type of vertigo, most cases are caused by a problem in the area of the inner ear that provides balance. The most common causes of inner ear problems leading to peripheral vertigo are the following:

  • Meniere's disease
  • Vestibular neuronitis
  • Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV)
  • Aminoglycoside antibiotics toxic to inner ear structures, diuretics
  • Injury (such as head trauma)
  • Irritation and swelling of the inner ear
  • Pressure of a non-cancerous tumor on the vestibular nerve

In Meniere's disease, symptoms of dizziness are sometimes combined with hearing loss. Doctors are not sure what causes this condition, but it can be triggered by stress, caffeine, eating salty food or drinking alcohol.

Vestibular neuronitis causes severe dizziness that comes on suddenly and lasts for 2 to 3 weeks. This can be caused by a viral infection.

BPPV is a condition that causes small crystals in the fluid in the inner ear to loosen and float. The movement of fluid and crystals can cause headaches. Sometimes ear injuries can also cause BPPV.

Other problems in the inner ear that cause peripheral vertigo are as follows.

  • Labyrinth inflammation
  • Superior semicircular canal divergence syndrome (SSCDS)
  • Labyrinth inflammation

Labyrinthitis can develop due to a viral infection of the inner ear. Perilymph fistula can be caused by a sudden change in pressure due to head trauma or scuba diving. SSCDS can occur when the bony part of a canal that carries fluids from the inner ear breaks down. With peripheral vertigo, you may have common symptoms such as nausea, sweating, ear problems, vomiting.

If your peripheral vertigo is caused by inflammation of the inner ear, you may have a feeling of fullness and pain in the ear. Sudden onset and sudden disappearance of vertigo is likely to be peripheral vertigo. In peripheral vertigo, the eyes may move out of control. In addition, peripheral vertigo tends to occur only in the first few days of symptoms and then disappears.

Central vertigo

Central vertigo can often occur suddenly and asymptomatically. Symptoms that persist for a long time are more severe than peripheral vertigo. You may have difficulty walking and standing. Uncontrolled eye movements are also seen in central vertigo. In central vertigo, however, uncontrollable eye movements persist for a longer period of time.

Hearing problems, which are usually seen in peripheral vertigo, are not so common in central vertigo. Other common symptoms include difficulty swallowing, headache and weakness. Central vertigo can be caused by a disease or injury to the brain:

  • Migraine
  • Brain tumor
  • Strokes
  • Disease or infection
  • Head injuries
  • Short-term ischemic attacks (small strokes that do not cause permanent damage)
  • Blood vessel disease
  • Seizures
  • Some medicines such as aspirin and alcohol

Vertigo symptoms

Vertigo is characterized by different symptoms such as dizziness, loss of balance and a feeling of emptiness in the head. Common symptoms are as follows;

  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Tinnitus
  • Dizziness
  • Focusing problem in the eyes
  • Loss of balance
  • Headache
  • Road seizure
  • Feeling of fullness in the ear
  • Sweating
  • Hearing loss
  • Changes in consciousness
  • Weakness in arms and legs
  • Speech difficulties
  • Double vision

Vertigo treatment methods

Your specialist will prescribe a treatment according to the underlying disease. BPPV, the most common form of vertigo, can be treated with a 15-minute exercise known as the Epley maneuver. However, there are also maneuvers known by names such as Semont and Barbecue. Correction maneuvers can be performed in several sessions. These movements allow the crystals that provide balance in the inner ear to return to the right point. If vertigo is caused by Meniere's disease, vestibular neuronitis or labyrinthitis, anti-inflammatory medications may be effective in reducing symptoms.

Physical therapy also aims to improve the person's balance problems. There are some exercises that should be done to prevent balance problems. These exercises will help to prevent falls and strengthen your muscles.

In Meniere's disease, vertigo can also be prevented by reducing caffeine, alcohol and salt. People with vertigo should make drinking plenty of water a habit in daily life. For some brain tumors and ongoing health problems, such as stroke, treatment may be aimed at reducing the symptoms of the disease with medication and reducing the sensation of spinning. In addition to vertigo, a stroke in the brain can also cause movement restrictions and slurred speech. In such a case, a specialist should be consulted immediately.

Vertigo movements

In vertigo movements, there are exercises such as the Epley maneuver, the Semont maneuver and the protective maneuver. These exercises are very useful in treating BPPV, the most common type. Your doctor will give you information on how to do these movements.

How is vertigo diagnosed?

In the diagnosis of vertigo, the patient presents with dizziness as the main symptom, along with vomiting, loss of balance, visual and hearing disturbances. Based on the symptoms, the specialist will decide which type of vertigo you have. If it is thought to be central type vertigo, it will be diagnosed by a neurologist and appropriate treatment will be started. If it is thought to be a peripheral type of vertigo, the patient will be evaluated by an otorhinolaryngologist and the necessary treatment plan will be applied to the patient.

Some tests related to the inner ear are performed to diagnose vertigo. These tests will help to identify which type of vertigo you have. Some tests to be performed in the diagnosis of vertigo are as follows:

  • Doppler ultrasound
  • MR
  • Catheter angiography
  • CT angiography
  • Blood tests
  • Calorie stimulation
  • EEG
  • Electronystagmography
  • Gait test
  • Brainstem auditory evoked potential studies
  • Lomper puncture
  • Head thrust test

Life for people with vertigo

Depending on the condition that causes vertigo, the points that the person can do and pay attention to in order to minimize and alleviate the symptoms are as follows:

  • Sleep on two or more pillows with the head slightly elevated.
  • Avoid bright lights.
  • Do not try to read when symptoms appear.
  • Do not get out of bed suddenly. Sit in bed for a minute or so before getting out of bed.
  • To pick something up, squat down instead of leaning forward.
  • Do simple exercises to reduce your symptoms.
  • Avoid stretching your neck.
  • Keep your head moving slowly and carefully in your daily routines.
  • Do exercises that trigger your vertigo so that your brain gets used to the movements and shows fewer symptoms.
  • Avoid activities such as driving, operating heavy machinery and climbing when symptoms occur.

What to do in an attack of vertigo?

If there is a place to sit during a vertigo attack, it is necessary to sit down, retreat to a safe area and stay still. The important thing during an attack is to stay still. During a vertigo attack, one should remain calm and relax psychologically by avoiding stressful thoughts.

During a vertigo attack, the person should try to reduce the severity of dizziness by keeping their head still and focusing on one place. The other important thing to do in a vertigo attack is to focus on one's breathing and calm down. Breathing exercises will help minimize the symptoms of vertigo attacks.

What should people with vertigo pay attention to?

The most important factor that vertigo patients should pay attention to is a regular sleep. Irregular and poor quality sleep leads to poor rest. This can cause vertigo attacks. For this reason, sleep must be regular.

It is also very important for people with vertigo to avoid stress and tempo. Excessive stress also negatively affects the immune system. A strong immune system means a body that is resistant to disease. Healthy and fresh foods should be consumed and excessively salty and fatty foods should be avoided. It is also important to take vitamin and mineral supplements.

After vertigo treatment, active sports and sudden movements should be avoided. Drink plenty of fluids and avoid caffeine-containing foods and drinks such as tea and coffee. Avoiding smoking and alcohol is also important.

Nutrition for vertigo patients

Changes in the diet of vertigo patients can reduce the symptoms of vertigo attacks. For this reason, people should pay attention to what they eat and drink. With the vertigo diet, people experience an improvement in their vertigo condition. To reduce vertigo attacks, the cause of vertigo should be thoroughly investigated and a treatment and diet program should be made accordingly. In this diet, it is important to pay attention to what foods and nutrients are ideal for reducing attacks and what foods should be avoided to avoid triggering vertigo.

Soda or concentrated drinks contain too much salt and sugar and should be avoided. It is among the drinks that can cause dizziness. People with vertigo should also be careful when consuming the following.

  • Caffeine intake: Caffeine is found in tea, coffee, chocolate and cola. According to research, caffeine makes the alert state in cells more easily. Caffeine use should be regulated in people with migraine and Meniere's disease. Caffeine intake should always be minimized.
  • Smoking: Nicotine narrows blood vessels, slowing blood flow and causing vestibular problems. Smoking will exacerbate these problems and make vertigo attacks more frequent.
  • Salt consumption: Salt, which causes excessive fluid retention in the body, can cause abnormalities in the body's fluid balance. High salt intake causes disturbances in the vestibular system. Salt intake should be limited, especially in people with migraine and Meniere's disease. Excessive use of salt can cause vertigo attacks and exacerbate them.
  • Alcohol intake: Alcohol use causes thirst in the body. Excessive salt consumption negatively affects the state of fluid in the body, and alcohol consumption also creates a negative effect on fluid balance. Alcohol, which creates imbalances in the fluids in the inner ear, causes vertigo attacks, nausea, vomiting and migraine attacks and delays in recovery. Wine in particular is one of the most important triggers of migraine attacks.
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