Healthy Living

Mild, Moderate, and Severe Vertigo

Mild, Moderate, and Severe Vertigo

Key Takeaways

  • Vertigo is classified either as a mild, moderate, or severe vertigo.
  • Mild vertigo is the most common form of vertigo affecting people worldwide, regardless from their age or gender.
  • Severe vertigo is dangerous because it puts the affected person to a higher risk of falls or other accidents when the vertigo episodes begin. 

Vertigo can vary from one person to another, sometimes being just a minor inconvenience and other times becoming a disabling condition. To address these differences, vertigo is classified either as a mild, moderate or severe vertigo.

Mild vertigo

This is the most common case of vertigo and involves mild symptoms of vertigo. The feeling of dizziness comes for a short time, often due to sudden head movements, but the feeling usually goes away soon thereafter. Some people will complain about nausea, but even then there will rarely be any vomiting. There really is no need for treatment with this kind of vertigo, unless the episodes begin to occur recurrently.

Moderate vertigo

Some people may already be at risk of vertigo, perhaps due to an existing condition like Meniere’s disease or infection in the inner ear. The sufferer of vertigo, in this case, will feel the symptoms of vertigo moderately, accompanied by nausea and even vomiting. Drugs, such as alcohol, can also lead to a case of moderate vertigo.

These may put the individual at risk of suffering from vertigo every now and then. The vertigo episode itself is fairly short-lived; the episodes may feel dizzy for a few minutes, but sitting or lying down will bring the symptoms down.

This kind of vertigo is often due to benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) caused by calcium crystals which get lodged into the semi-circular canals. Various maneuvers are available that can be performed to try and return the misplaced crystals to their original location. Some of these include Epley’s maneuver and the Brandt-Daroff exercises which can be done by a doctor or practiced at home. Regardless of the method, the condition can be managed easily, sometimes even with the help of medication.

Severe vertigo

These cases of vertigo are almost always due to an underlying condition. Some of these include Meniere’s disease and labyrinthitis which can be due to genetics or an infection in the inner ear. The individual who experiences severe vertigo will probably experience severe symptoms of vertigo including dizziness, loss of balance and nausea accompanied by vomiting. Lying down won’t help reduce the symptoms and the episode may last for hours and even days later.

This is a dangerous kind of vertigo attack because it also places the individual at risk of falls at the moment the episode begins. The length of the episodes also makes the condition disabling, barring the individual from normal activities.

Those who suffer from severe vertigo can’t undergo therapeutic measures of managing vertigo like the Epley’s maneuver because these just cause vertigo to flare up and cause very severe symptoms. For them, the best solution can sometimes be medication. If the source of vertigo is established to be an infection, antibiotics can be prescribed that can help with the infection. Such causes of vertigo usually go away after the infection is dealt with.

However, things are not always that easy. Most causes of severe vertigo are not infections but rather genetic conditions, like Meniere’s disease. These can’t be cured for good, but it is possible to manage them with the right balance of diet, exercise, and medication. Sometimes, a surgery may even be performed if the patient can’t handle the symptoms, and that may relieve symptoms for a while.