How To Identify The Different Types Of Vertigo

If you've ever had a bout of vertigo, you're not alone. According to UCSF Health, close to 40% of American adults will experience vertigo a minimum of once in their lifetime. This doesn't include other forms of dizziness or balance issues, which, along with vertigo are among the most common health issues American adults face.

According to the Cleveland Clinic, vertigo is a condition where you experience a spinning sensation that makes you feel dizzy, ultimately affecting your balance. However, health experts do not consider it a disease, but rather a symptom caused by other conditions. While vertigo and dizziness might seem the same, they are essentially different. When you feel dizzy, you feel off-balance; however, when you experience vertigo, in addition to feeling as though your environment is spinning, you may also a sense of rocking or tilting. An episode of vertigo typically lasts anywhere from seconds to several minutes.

Depending on the type of vertigo you have and your symptoms, your doctor can help you find the best ways to address and manage your vertigo.

Symptoms and treatments for vertigo

According to Healthline, there are two main types of vertigo. Peripheral vertigo is the more common type and is usually caused by an issue within the inner ear. The other type is central vertigo, which is brain-related and can be due to a stroke, brain tumor, or migraine, among other conditions.

The causes of vertigo will typically influence the symptoms of vertigo you experience. For instance, when you have an episode of the most common cause of vertigo called benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV), you'll likely feel a brief, intense sense of spinning. BPPV often results from a rapid head movement or head injury. If you are suffering from Meniere's disease, which is when the inner ear retains too much fluid, vertigo can come on suddenly and last up to several hours. Certain medications can also trigger vertigo. In these instances, in addition to feeling like your surroundings are moving, you may also feel a sense of unsteadiness and nausea, among other symptoms (via Healthline).

There are various tests your doctor can administer to determine if you have vertigo. While vertigo often goes away on its own, your doctor can prescribe certain medications or physical therapy depending on the nature of your situation. To help prevent vertigo, there are measures you can take, such as rising slowly when getting out of bed, squatting rather than bending over, and sleeping with your head elevated (via Cleveland Clinic).