Vertigo Overview (cont.)
Danette C. Taylor, DO, MS, FACN
Dr. Taylor has a passion for treating patients as individuals. In practice since 1994, she has a wide range of experience in treating patients with many types of movement disorders and dementias. In addition to patient care, she is actively involved in the training of residents and medical students, and has been both primary and secondary investigator in numerous research studies through the years. She is a Clinical Assistant Professor at Michigan State University's College of Osteopathic Medicine (Department of Neurology and Ophthalmology). She graduated with a BS degree from Alma College, and an MS (biomechanics) from Michigan State University. She received her medical degree from Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine. Her internship and residency were completed at Botsford General Hospital. Additionally, she completed a fellowship in movement disorders with Dr. Peter LeWitt. She has been named a fellow of the American College of Neuropsychiatrists. She is board-certified in neurology by the American Osteopathic Board of Neurology and Psychiatry. She has authored several articles and lectured extensively; she continues to write questions for two national medical boards. Dr. Taylor is a member of the Medical and Scientific Advisory Council (MSAC) of the Alzheimer's Association of Michigan, and is a reviewer for the journal Clinical Neuropharmacology.
Benjamin Wedro, MD, FACEP, FAAEM
Dr. Ben Wedro practices emergency medicine at Gundersen Clinic, a regional trauma center in La Crosse, Wisconsin. His background includes undergraduate and medical studies at the University of Alberta, a Family Practice internship at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario and residency training in Emergency Medicine at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center.
In this Article
- What is vertigo?
- What causes vertigo?
- What are the risk factors for vertigo?
- What are the signs and symptoms of vertigo?
- How is vertigo diagnosed?
- What is the treatment for vertigo?
- Are home remedies effective for treating vertigo?
- Can vertigo be prevented?
- What is the prognosis for vertigo?
- Balance Disorders - Slideshow
- Take the Vertigo Quiz
- Tinnitus: Why Are My Ears Ringing? - Slideshow
- Vertigo and Balance Disorders FAQs
- Find a local Ear, Nose, & Throat Doctor in your town
What causes vertigo?
There are a number of different causes of vertigo. Vertigo can be defined based upon whether the cause is peripheral or central. Central causes of vertigo arise in the brain or spinal cord while peripheral vertigo is due to a problem within the inner ear. The inner ear can become inflamed because of illness, or small crystals or stones found normally within the inner ear can become displaced and cause irritation to the small hair cells within the semicircular canals, leading to vertigo. This is known as benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV).
Meniere's disease, vertigo associated with hearing loss and tinnitus (ringing in the ear), is caused by fluid buildup within the inner ear; the cause of this fluid accumulation is unknown. Head injuries may lead to damage to the inner ear and be a cause of vertigo. Infrequently, strokes affecting certain areas of the brain, multiple sclerosis, or tumors may lead to an onset of vertigo. Some patients with a type of migraine headache called basilar artery migraine may develop vertigo as a symptom.
What are the risk factors for vertigo?
Head injuries may increase the risk of developing vertigo, as can different medications, including some antiseizure medications, blood pressure medications, antidepressants, and even aspirin. Anything that may increase your risk of stroke (high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, and smoking) may also increase your risk of developing vertigo. For some people, drinking alcohol can cause vertigo.
Studies of the incidence of vertigo find that between 2% to 3% of a population is at risk of developing BPPV; older women seem to have a slightly higher risk of developing this condition.
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