How To Tell The Difference Between Vertigo And Dizziness

Vertigo and dizziness are different conditions that feel similar, but they are not the same. Both will leave you feeling a little off balance, and sometimes, it might be difficult to distinguish between them. The Cleveland Clinic reports that vertigo was once considered a form of dizziness, but now, it is considered a separate condition.

When you experience vertigo, you might feel like the room or your body is spinning. Sometimes, it can make you feel nauseous or cause your ears to ring. The Harvard Medical School explains that most causes of vertigo are conditions affecting the inner ear. These can include benign paroxysmal positional vertigo, where loose, small particles come into contact with nerve endings. Acute labyrinthitis is inflammation of the part of the ear that helps you stay balanced. Ménière's disease, which affects the fluid volume in the inner ear, can also cause vertigo. Audiologist Dr. Julie Honaker told Cleveland Clinic that vertigo can be debilitating. "It can bring on other symptoms of imbalance, too," she told the Cleveland Clinic, adding that sudden bouts of vertigo can be frightening.

Dizziness is a more of a lightheaded feeling

Dizziness is a woozy, unsteady, or lightheaded feeling. Dr. Honaker told the Cleveland Clinic that dizziness is an "altered sense of spatial orientation, a distortion of where we are within a space and like your balance just feels off." Vertigo is generally associated with your body or your surroundings spinning. The Mayo Clinic reports that several conditions can cause dizziness, including motion sickness, inner ear problems, anemia, carbon monoxide poisoning, panic attacks, some medications, and heart problems.

If you experience any form of dizziness, you should talk it over with your doctor to figure out the underlying cause. In addition, the Mayo Clinic suggests that if you experience a sudden headache, chest pain, difficulty breathing, double vision, seizures, an inability to walk, slurred speech, numbness in arms or legs, a rapid heartbeat, or facial numbness while dizzy, you should seek immediate care.