Prevea Health

Dizziness: am I experiencing vertigo or something else?

 
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The alarm clock goes off in the morning and you roll over to turn it off. As you attempt to sit up in bed, the room begins to spin and a sense of extreme nausea comes over you. You become quite anxious, as you've never experienced such dizziness. You begin to wonder, am I experiencing vertigo or something else?

A recent study demonstrated that more than 40 percent of Americans will experience dizziness or vertigo that prompts them to seek medical advice. Dizziness is a common complaint and can be related to a variety of disorders such as traumatic brain injuries and auditory disorders.

Vertigo is a specific disorder in which those affected experience spinning, tilting and swaying sensations. They also may have a lack of balance and feel as if they are being pulled in one direction.

When these symptoms occur during normal daily routines, it signals a problem with the vestibular system of the inner ear. This system controls balance and senses the position of your head in space. 

Recent statistics demonstrate that more than half of all complaints of dizziness are related to vertigo. The most common type of peripheral vertigo is called Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV). This type of vertigo often starts without warning and stops just as quickly. BPPV can be treated with physical or occupational therapy.

If your dizziness is impacting your daily life or causing a sense of sickness and/or unsteadiness, it is important to make an appointment with your primary care provider, so he or she can determine the underlying cause. 

Before you see your provider, write down the sensations you feel during your dizzy episodes. This will help your provider make a more accurate diagnosis. He or she may also order some diagnostic tests.

If your condition is appropriate, a vestibular rehabilitation program can be prescribed to treat your condition. These programs typically consist of physical therapy visits and exercises that you can do at home between visits. Patients who utilize this treatment option experience long-lasting benefits.
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