Healthy Living

Vertigo: Associated Disorders

Vertigo: Associated Disorders

Key Takeaways

  • Vertigo associated disorders can be divided into two categories: central and peripheral vertigo.
  • No tests and medical examinations help diagnose vertigo. They can just help rule out other medical conditions. 
  • An infection in the inner ear, a perilymphatic fistula, otosclerosis, and cholesteatoma erosions are the most common causes of peripheral vertigo.

Anyone who has suffered from vertigo probably explained the feeling as dizziness, or something similar to motion sickness. An episode of vertigo either feels like you are actually moving when you are actually not or that the world around you is spinning but it’s really not. The feeling of motion is what sets it apart from feeling light headed

Vertigo is recognized as a feeling of dizziness and is accompanied by these other symptoms:

  • Spinning
  • Swaying
  • Imbalance

When it happens, vertigo could be the cause of other symptoms. At the same time, vertigo could also be a symptom of another more serious condition and not the only symptom. Because of this, conditions that lead to vertigo, or conditions that arise due to vertigo, are referred to as vertigo associated disorders.

Depending on whether symptoms of vertigo are the cause of further symptoms or part of the symptoms of another medical condition, vertigo associated disorders can be divided into two categories: central and peripheral vertigo.

Peripheral vertigo

This kind of vertigo occurs due to a problem in the inner ear or the vestibular nerves that connect the ear to the brain. This kind of vertigo accounts for about 93% of all vertigo associated disorders, and it could arise due to various problems:

Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV)

This is a common cause of vertigo brought about by an interruption of the semi-circular canals’ function by stray calcium crystals. These crystals exist in the inner ear, but at a different region. Due to a weakened membrane, though, the crystals may make their way into the endolymph surrounding the semi-circular canals. Normally, this wouldn’t affect their functioning, but certain head movements rouse them from their position, causing them to interrupt electric signals being sent to the brain. This interruption confuses the brain and leads to dizziness.

Meniere’s disease

This is a condition where the endolymph is either overproduced or is not drained fast enough, causing a build-up. This build-up of endolymph increases pressure on the organs in the inner ear leading to symptoms of vertigo as well as tinnitus and even hearing loss.

Labyrinthitis and Acute peripheral vestibulopathy (APV)

These are brought about by infection in the inner ear which leads to inflammation of the organs in there. The inflammation leads to increased pressure, leading to episodes of vertigo.

Other causes of peripheral vertigo include:

  • Perilymphatic fistula – an abnormal communication between the inner ear and the middle ear
  • Cholesteatoma erosion – a cyst in the ear can cause an erosion of the inner ear organs
  • Otosclerosis – a bone may grow abnormally in the inner ear

Central vertigo

Sometimes vertigo can arise even when there isn’t a problem with the inner ear, but rather as a result of another condition affecting the central nervous system. Some of these conditions include:

Diagnosis of vertigo associated disorders (VAD)

In order to find the ideal medication for the symptoms of vertigo, a detailed diagnosis is important in order to establish the cause. Once the cause is determined, various treatment and management options are available for reducing the vertigo symptoms.