Vertigo

June 2017


Definition


Vertigo is a sensation of movement of oneself or the surrounding environment although nothing is actually moving. The patient feels a sensation of spinning in true vertigo, as if everything around him were spinning. Many causes of "false" vertigo are possible such as stress, a height position (paroxysmal positional vertigo), a sudden drop in blood pressure (orthostatic hypotension) ... Depending on their origin, true vertigo may be:
  • central, i.e. affecting the vestibular system responsible for balance, located in the brain: attack on the vestibular nerve in the brainstem stroke (stroke), multiple sclerosis, tumors, poisoning .. .
  • peripheral: affecting the inner ear, at the labyrinth, which is involved in equilibrium: this is the case of inflammation of this structure, trauma, inflammation of the initial part of the nerve (vestibular neuritis), a tumor affecting the nerves, called VIII neuromas (the vestibular nerve is the eighth cranial nerve).

Symptoms


The patient complains of dizziness and the feeling that his surrounding (or himself) are spinning in permanence. Other clinical signs may be present and point to one cause rather than another. In case of gradual onset and associated neurological signs such as movement disorders, tremors, movement disorders of the eyes, an origin in the brain will be suspected. If the onset is rather sudden, and nausea or vomiting is present, as well as hearing disorders, a problem of the inner ear is more frequently suspected.

Diagnosis


A clinical examination is not always possible to determine the cause of dizziness. Questioning can be lengthy and require additional tests: hearing tests, biological imaging tests, etc. The use of vestibular tests using water injected into the ears at different temperatures may generate nystagmus, i.e. oscillatory movements of the eyes.

Treatment


Treatment depends on the cause of dizziness. They range from no specific treatments for benign paroxysmal positional vertigo, to surgery for a tumor, or antibiotic treatment for infections.

Related

Published by Jeff. Latest update on July 23, 2013 at 12:41 PM by Jeff.
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