Introduction to Lightheadedness Dizziness And Vertigo
Vertigo refers to the symptom of experiencing a spinning sensation or feeling off-balance even when the patient is stationary. One of the myths about vertigo is that it is a medical condition in itself but that’s not true – vertigo is a symptom that can have a number of different causes.
Additionally, it is also common to think vertigo, dizziness, and lightheadedness are the same thing. In this blog, we’re going to examine the differences between the three and take a look at when a patient actually needs vertigo treatment.
Differences between lightheadedness, dizziness, and vertigo
Let’s start with dizziness and see how it is different from vertigo symptoms. Dizziness refers to the sensation of feeling off-balance just like vertigo. However, dizziness is much more common than vertigo and occurs at a lower frequency.
With dizziness, you might feel as if you cannot balance but you do not feel as if your surroundings are moving. One of the major vertigo symptoms is feeling as if the world around is moving or spinning and this is where vertigo and dizziness differ.
Lightheadedness, on the other hand, is the feeling that is more commonly associated with fainting. While feeling lightheaded, it is also common for the patient to feel like they are about to vomit and experience nausea in general.
There are many causes of lightheadedness that can range from simple health issues like allergies and anxiety to serious health problems such as an abnormal health rhythm. More often than not, lightheadedness is not a prolonged symptom experienced by patients and goes away soon too.
Finally, vertigo refers to experiencing a false sense of motion, either in your surroundings or in your body. The causes of vertigo are usually pretty serious and normally involve a problem in the vestibular system of the patient.
Vertigo is usually much more intense than just feeling dizzy or lightheaded. The majority of cases of vertigo are frequent and can significantly affect the quality of day-to-day life for the patient.
While lightheadedness and dizziness usually go away on their own, with vertigo medicine and dedicated treatment by an ENT specialist is usually needed to provide relief to the patients. The causes of vertigo are also usually much more serious health conditions when compared to the causes of lightheadedness and dizziness.
Causes of lightheadedness, dizziness, and vertigo
Dizziness treatment is different than the treatment you would need for vertigo and the same applies to lightheadedness. This is due to the fact that the causes of all three different symptoms are different and hence require different means of treatment.
Dizziness can be caused due to a number of health issues such as low blood sugar, low levels of iron, overheating or dehydration, and more.
In some rare cases, dizziness can be caused due to neurological conditions such as Parkinson’s disease. When it comes to treating dizziness medicine is usually not needed.
Lightheadedness and other dizziness symptoms can also be caused due to health problems such as anxiety and stress, excessive drug use, breathing problems, allergies, fever, and more.
When it comes to vertigo, the causes are more serious with some of the common causes being:
- An injury suffered to the head or the ear. This can lead to damage in the inner ear which can cause balancing problems and vertigo.
- Migraine headaches. Migraine headaches are another common cause of vertigo and nausea.
- Lowered blood flow to the base of the brain. This is a medical condition known as vertebrobasilar insufficiency that can lead to the patient experiencing a severe bout of vertigo.
- Inner ear disorders such as Meniere’s disease, benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV), labyrinthitis, and vestibular neuritis. These diseases affect the functioning of the vestibular system that can lead to the patient experiencing vertigo.
When is vertigo treatment needed?
As mentioned earlier in this blog, dizziness symptoms and lightheadedness usually go away on their own and do not last for a prolonged period.
However, it is important to understand the differences between just normal dizziness and vertigo to know when you should get an appointment with your ENT specialist.
Ideally, if you are experiencing vertigo symptoms, you should first consult with your general physician to rule out other health issues and provide medications such as the Meclizine tablet. If your general doctor feels that you are indeed suffering from vertigo, they can refer you to a vertigo specialist doctor.
Lastly, even if you’re experiencing slight dizziness or lightheadedness for a prolonged period, it is a good idea to get yourself checked up by a doctor.
Any of these symptoms should not be taken lightly as they can be caused by serious health issues that can do a lot of harm to the patient’s health and wellbeing.
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How does vertigo treatment work?
If your general physician does refer you to a vertigo specialist for treatment, the first step of the process would be to identify the cause of vertigo. Since there can be different health conditions causing vertigo, the treatment will depend on the particular cause of vertigo.
Along with medications such as prochlorperazine and meclizine tablet, the treatment can involve physical exercises such as the Epley maneuver which is commonly used to treat vertigo that is caused by BPPV. Additionally, vestibular rehabilitation training (VRT) is also used to gradually decrease the intensity of the symptoms.
Depending on the causes and severity, it can take a long time to treat vertigo completely. In some rare cases, the symptoms do not ever go away, and instead, the focus of the treatment is to mitigate the symptoms as much as possible.
Vertigo, dizziness, and lightheadedness
Regardless of whether you’re feeling just slight dizziness or intense sensations of spinning, it is important to communicate with your doctor to ensure the best for your health and well-being.