Vertigo and dizziness are two different things. Sometimes the term dizziness is used as a broad term to mean vertigo, disequilibrium, and dizziness itself. These three things are all different, and it is important to understand their differences in order to be properly cared for. We are going to talk about some interesting facts about vertigo and dizziness.
Almost 40 percent of people over the age of 40 have at least one episode of dizziness. Certain medications, in particular, those taken for blood pressure, can cause dizziness. Most of the time, dizziness is harmless but there are times when it can mean something more serious like a heart problem.
Dizziness is extremely common in adults. Vertigo also is quite common. Vertigo is the feeling that you or the room around you is spinning while there is actually no movement. So, what is the difference between these two conditions? The main way to know whether it is dizziness or vertigo is whether or not you have nausea and vomiting. This occurs with vertigo and is related to a serious balance disorder. Dizziness makes you feel momentarily off balance and can range in severity from mild to seriously disabling.
Here are some interesting facts about dizziness and vertigo:
- Vertigo can be related to an inner ear problem. This type of vertigo is referred to as benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV). Your inner ear contains calcium and protein-based sensing crystals called otoconia. If something causes these crystals to dislodge and float into the canals of the inner ear, you may experience brief vertigo. It is a mechanical problem that can be corrected through physical therapy instead of medication or surgery. BPPV affects only 1 out of 1,000 people every year. It mostly affects older adults and may be connected to migraines, inner ear infections, osteoporosis, and diabetes. The problem may occur again within a 5-year period.
- Dizziness can be a symptom of heart disease: Leaking or narrow heart valves, atherosclerosis, arrhythmias like atrial fibrillation, and similar heart problems can cause dizziness to occur due to the lack of proper blood flow to the brain.
- Anxiety can bring about dizziness: People in their 20s who experience dizziness may find it to be related to anxiety. This can frustrate them because they do not want to believe it is all in their heads. However, the brain is in the head. Anxiety can be an indication of brain function disturbances that may be genetic in nature.
- The balance system of the ear controls blood flow: The inner ear has the ability to know which way is up. When you are lying down and you stand up, the utricle and saccule – two inner ear structures – detect gravity. They signal the cardiovascular system to send blood flow to the proper place depending on what your position is. If this process malfunctions, it may cause dizziness.
- Dizziness caused by low vitamin B12 levels. Lacking this vitamin in your system can lead to a variety of neurological problems, such as having low blood pressure, feeling off balance, and decreased blood flow to the brain. A simple blood test can confirm or deny that this is the case.
- Dehydration or diet can cause dizziness: Even being mildly dehydrated can be a cause of dizziness or light-headedness. Dehydration causes your blood pressure to drop, leading to dizzy spells. It is important to be aware of this if you are on a special diet as some diets can cause dehydration.
- Medication can cause vertigo or dizziness: In particular, high blood pressure medication is known to cause these symptoms, especially in older adults. This is true of those who are taking too high of a dose as well. It is a good idea to start out on the lowest dose possible and then increase it if necessary. Carefully reviewing your medications and their side effects is a good idea.
- A waterbed or riding in a boat can cause dizziness: You may experience a rocky, dizzy feeling when returning from a cruise or even a short boat ride. Sometimes this feeling lasts for days or months. As many as 75 percent of sailors experience this. Airplanes, cars, and trains can cause your legs to feel wobbly, as can lying on a waterbed.
- Migraines cause vertigo: It may be shocking to learn that vertigo can occur with migraines, even those that are not accompanied by headaches. You may also have a sensitivity to light, movement, sound, or odors. Around 40% of those with migraines have vertigo.
- Less common causes of dizziness and vertigo: It is important to pay attention to any dizziness or vertigo and what symptoms accompany it. It can be a warning sign of stroke, brain tumors, Meniere’s disease, and other more serious conditions.
Finding Relief for Vertigo and Dizziness
A connection has been noted between vertigo and a misalignment in the bones of the upper cervical spine. In particular, if the C1 and C2 vertebrae are misaligned, they can be putting the brainstem under pressure or stress since it is located in the same general area. This can cause the brainstem to send improper signals to the brain about the body’s position. If the brainstem tells the brain there is movement when there is no movement, vertigo can be the end result.
We use a gentle method to encourage the bones of the neck to realign naturally rather than popping or cracking them. This results in a longer-lasting adjustment that often brings relief to victims of vertigo and dizziness. Once the body is properly healed, vertigo may go away and not return.