While nearly 40 per cent of people will experience vertigo in their lifetime, it is not considered a medical condition but a symptom of other underlying medical issues. These can range from viral infections, or central nervous system problems, to inner ear or hearing issues. Many people notice vertigo more when they are experiencing stress or anxiety disorders. We'll look more at this link between stress and vertigo symptoms and explore when to seek medical help.
According to the British Medical Journal, the most common causes of dizziness are benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV), Meniere's disease, and labyrinthitis or acute vestibular neuronitis. Discovering the cause of your dizziness will determine your treatment options.
Vertigo is an illusion of motion whereby you feel your surroundings are spinning or tilting. It's a sensation of extreme dizziness and loss of balance and, in the worst cases, may cause sufferers to feel sick from the giddy feelings. The episodes may only last for a few seconds, but for some sufferers they can last for many weeks or months.
Around 90 per cent of vertigo cases are due to one of the following three conditions:
Less common reasons for vertigo may be:
People typically feel the following sensations when suffering from vertigo:
Other symptoms that may accompany vertigo in more extreme cases are:
We've all had feelings of dizziness but how do we know when it's classed as vertigo? Audiologist Dr. Julie Honaker, PhD, explains: "It used to be that dizziness was the umbrella term and vertigo fit underneath it. But now we’re finding that dizziness is very separate from vertigo.”
The sensation of spinning is what is key to vertigo. In true vertigo there is a strong sense of motion that people who complain of dizziness won't always feel. Dizziness is seen as an altered sense of spatial orientation where your balance doesn't feel right, but vertigo sufferers will feel either as if they are moving or spinning or their surroundings are.
“Vertigo can be very debilitating,” continues Dr. Honaker. “It can bring on other symptoms of imbalance too. I think the scariest thing is the fact that it comes on so abruptly. Even though it’s very short, it’s a very, very strong response.”
When we are stressed or anxious we often take shallow breaths or hyperventilate, which interferes with the supply of oxygen to the brain and can result in vertigo symptoms. To reduce feelings of stress and anxiety, establishing the cause of key. By taking control of the situation, having a good emotional support network around you and trying out tried and tested stress-busters you can help ease those feelings.
Taking some 'me time' is vital to provide much needed relaxation and for body and mind to recoup from busy days. Here on Yours app, we showcase hours of mindful meditations you can dip in and out of depending on your mood which are proven to relax and calm your mind. Or why not drift off to sleep one of our soothing sleep stories read by a range of different voices?
Exercise is proven way to clear your head and help blood flow and endorphins flow around the body. Whether it's a 15-minute brisk walk around the block to your favourite songs, a team sport with friends or practising the power of yoga with one of Yours app's expert yoga masters, an active session which gets your heart rate up and blood pumping is guaranteed to make you feel calmer and more balanced.
Talking through your problems with a friend or trusted person can really help gain perspective on issues you may have thought were big but are actually are very manageable. Just remember not to lean on smoking, alcohol or caffeine! They might provide short term benefits for some but you're not tackling the root of the issue. Check out the NHS website for more tips of dealing with stress.
We've all had those funny episodes of feeling dizzy but how do we know when it's so bad we should we see a GP? Most cases of vertigo get better without treatment and treatment will, of course, depend on the cause. If vertigo is brought on by an infection, doctors will treat it with antibiotics, otherwise antihistamines can sometimes help with vertigo symptoms.
Often, vertigo will get better without treatment but if it is affecting your daily life make an appointment with your GP. In the meantime, there are certain exercises and things you can do to reduce symptoms and frequency of attacks: