Difference Between Dizziness and Vertigo Q&A
Dizziness is a general feeling of being off-balance. Vertigo is the feeling that you or your surroundings are moving or spinning. Visit Physicians Now Urgent Care & Walk-In Clinic to learn more about dizziness and vertigo and what treatment is available in our urgent care. Contact us today for more information. We provide walk-in services at 15215 Shady Grove Road, Suite 100, Rockville, MD 20850.
Table of Contents:
What is the difference between dizziness and vertigo?
What are the first signs of vertigo?
How can I get rid of vertigo and dizziness?
Does urgent care treat vertigo and dizziness?
The terms “dizziness” and “vertigo” are often used synonymously, but they are actually quite different in both the sensations they produce and how they are caused. Dizziness is used to describe a feeling of being off-balance, causing you to be unsteady on your feet or feeling that you’re about to fall. Vertigo, on the other hand, is a feeling that either you or your surroundings are moving or spinning, when in fact they are not. For those who experience vertigo, sensations of spinning, whirling, and tipping are common, and, like dizziness, it affects balance – which is where the confusion may arise.
As with the sensations they produce, the causes of dizziness and vertigo also differ. Dizziness often occurs due to environmental factors or an underlying health condition; some potential causes are:
• Heat exhaustion
• Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia)
• Iron deficiency anemia
• Low blood pressure (hypotension)
• Motion sickness
• Head injury
• Certain medications
• Alcohol consumption
• Carbon monoxide poisoning
Vertigo, whilst commonly believed to be a medical condition, is actually a symptom of different problems that can affect the inner ear, vestibular nerve, brain stem, or cerebellum (the part of the brain that controls balance and movement). There are two types of vertigo – the most common, called peripheral vertigo, is due to a problem in the inner ear or the vestibular nerve; the second type is called central vertigo and occurs when there is a problem with the cerebellum. This type of vertigo can be caused by certain medical conditions such as multiple sclerosis, stroke, brain tumor, or migraines; other potential causes include:
• Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo
• Meniere’s disease
• Vestibular neuritis
• Head injuries
• Certain types of medications
• Ear surgery
• Perilymphatic fistula, caused when inner ear fluid seeps into the middle ear due to a tear in either of the two membranes between the middle and inner ear
• Shingles in or near the ear (herpes zoster oticus)
• Otosclerosis, a middle ear bone growth that can lead to hearing loss
• Ataxia, which leads to muscle weakness
• Acoustic neuroma – a benign growth on the vestibulocochlear nerve near the inner ear
Symptoms of vertigo will vary from person to person and will depend on what’s causing it and whether they have peripheral or central vertigo. Common signs and symptoms include:
1. For peripheral vertigo:
• Feeling like you’re moving or spinning
• Problems focusing the eyes
• Hearing loss in one ear
• Balance problems
• Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
• Nausea or vomiting
2. For central vertigo:
• Double vision
• Difficulty swallowing
• Facial paralysis
• Eye movement difficulties
• Slurred speech
• Weak limbs
It will first need to be established what type of vertigo you have and what’s causing it. A doctor may perform specific tests to help determine the cause and from there will formulate a plan of action to treat and alleviate the symptoms. Different causes have very different treatments, so it is important to understand the cause in order to deliver the right treatment.
In some cases, vertigo will resolve itself without treatment, but a person may need treatment if there is an underlying problem. In other cases, a doctor may prescribe antibiotics if the vertigo is the result of a bacterial infection, or antiviral drugs if it’s caused by shingles; antihistamines and anti-emetics can also be used to help alleviate some symptoms and to reduce motion sickness and nausea. There will be some cases where surgery may be necessary if other treatments are not effective. Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo and acoustic neuroma are two such conditions.
Vertigo and dizziness are two of the many health conditions that can be handled at an urgent care facility and the experienced team of professionals at Physicians Now Urgent Care are here to help! We are located close to Rockville Town Square in Rockville, MD 20850 and serve patients from North Potomac, MD, Gaithersburg, MD, Germantown, MD, Travilah, MD, and Derwood, MD. We look forward to meeting you!
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