Dizziness…Vertigo…What is the difference?

Robert Schremp, PT, Continues Education
November 3, 2017

Dizziness…Vertigo…What is the difference?

Dizziness…Vertigo…What is the difference?
By Dr. Noelia Santos

People of all ages experience dizziness or vertigo for various reasons. While one symptom is just as unpleasant as the other, they are NOT the same. Dizziness is often described as an overall “lightheadedness” or “unsteadiness.” Vertigo, on the other hand, is a distinct sensation that you or the room is spinning.Despite these differences, both dizziness and vertigo can greatly increase your risk of falls in the home and in the community, especially if you are over the age of 65.

What is the cause?

Dizziness is caused by different reasons in different people. The following list points to some possible factors:

• Inner ear disorders
• Injury or trauma to the inner ear
• Arthritis
• Diabetes
• Parkinson’s
• Low blood pressure
• Stroke
• Neck immobility
• Use of certain medications

Let’s switch gears to vertigo, which can be caused by the following reasons:

• Inner ear disorders
• Migraines
• Tumors
• Surgery near the inner ear
• Head injury
• Stroke

A common form of vertigo is benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV), which is caused when the inner ear structures don’t receive correct information about your head position.
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