Myths and Facts About Vertigo

Myths and Facts About Vertigo

Vertigo is an extremely uncomfortable sensation that can cause significant disability when it occurs frequently. However, although it’s a very common complaint among adults, it’s often greatly misunderstood by those experiencing it.

Our team at Petoskey Ear, Nose & Throat Specialists is committed to providing our communities of Petoskey, Gaylord, and St. Ignace, Michigan with the information they need to make informed decisions about their health.

Here’s what you need to know about some of the common myths vs the facts regarding vertigo.

Myth: Vertigo is a serious disease

Vertigo is not a disease but a symptom of an underlying condition or illness that’s causing the sensation you’re experiencing.

While certainly uncomfortable, other than the risk of falling during an episode, vertigo does not typically cause significant health concerns.

Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) is the most common cause of vertigo. BPPV creates an intense but typically brief sensation that you or your environment is spinning or circling around you. The episodes are triggered by rapid head movements and may occur as the result of a blow to the head.

Other causes of vertigo include:

Depending on the cause, vertigo can last for several seconds to several hours or longer and may be accompanied by nausea and vomiting related to the spinning sensation.

Myth: Vertigo, dizziness, and lightheadedness are all the same

Vertigo is a specific type of dizziness, but not all dizziness is the same. You may, for instance, describe dizziness as feeling like you’re leaning to one side or the other as you walk. Lightheadedness is typically described as feeling faint or like you might pass out.

Vertigo, on the other hand, causes that same sensation you might feel after whirling through the air on a rapidly spinning carnival ride. Children often create their own vertiginous experience by standing with their arms outstretched and spinning rapidly in place or logrolling down a hill.

Myth: Vertigo is related to heights

Standing on a tall platform and looking down or looking up at a tall building from street level can cause the spin associated with vertigo. However, it is not the height itself but your head movement or changes in visual perspective that’s causing the dizziness.

Because vertigo does significantly increase your fall risk, however, we may recommend avoiding heights.

Myth: Vertigo can’t be treated

There are many effective treatments available for vertigo. Depending on what’s causing your symptoms, we may recommend: 

For more information about treating vertigo, or to learn more about any of the other services we offer here at Petoskey ENT, schedule an evaluation today. 

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