Let’s start right off by saying that Vertigo is a condition characterized by sudden spells of movement. The common symptoms include dizziness, nausea, motion sickness, & a sensation that the world is spinning or moving around.
What is Vertigo?
Vertigo is rarely a disorder on its own; it’s almost always a symptom of some underlying condition, whether diagnosed or not. Many conditions can cause Vertigo. Some of the most common ones are:
Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo(BPPV), a condition in which the calcium crystals inside the middle ear(otoconia), break loose & get deposited in the semicircular canal of the inner ear. There they cause problems with how the inner ear perceives motion & any changes in head position, causing dizziness, false sensation of movement, nausea, vomiting, & motion sickness, among others.
Vestibular Neuritis, an inner ear infection that causes one of the two vestibular nerves to swell up & get inflamed in response to the immune response to the infection
Labyrinthitis, an inner ear infection that causes the labyrinth, the organ that houses the vestibular system, to swell up & get inflamed in response to the immune response to the infection
Meniere’s Disease, which is an inner ear disorder in which the inner ear gets filled with excess amounts of fluid, causing pressure inside the ears, hearing loss, & vertigo.
Superior semicircular canal dehiscence syndrome (SSCDS), a condition in which there is a hole or a very thin place in the bones surrounding the superior semicircular canal inside the inner ear. This causes issues with how the inner ear functions to maintain the balance & coordination of the body.
Some other common causes of vertigo include:
Blunt trauma to the head
Other dietary & lifestyle factors
Every individual has a different experience with Vertigo. Not everybody has the same symptoms when they get a vertigo attack. That said, there is a range of symptoms that are common across every vertigo patient. Some of these symptoms include:
Dizziness that often comes on suddenly
A sensation of the surroundings spinning or moving around
Sensitivity to bright lights & sounds(photophobia & phonophobia)
When a person with Meniere’s Disease gets an attack, they also experience partial or total hearing loss in the affected ear as part of an episode of vertigo. They also experience feelings of pressure inside the ear, along with a constant ringing, buzzing, whistling, or whooshing sound in the ears, a condition known as Tinnitus.
A diagnosis of vertigo can be easily made with the help of your medical history, any medications that you’re taking, any recent surgeries or falls you’ve had, along with a general history of your symptoms.
Your doctor will also utilize some established tests for diagnosing vertigo to figure out if you have vertigo or not. These tests include:
Physical examination, in which your doctors examines your body & major organ systems to see which ones are not functioning properly,
Electronystagmography test (ENG test) to test abnormal jerking eye movements, also known as nystagmus which will confirm an inner ear issue or a central nervous system problem to your doctor
A videonystagmography test(VNG test), a modified version of the ENG test which helps your doctors figure out if you really have vertigo or not
A Video Head Impulse Test(vHIT) that helps your doctor figure out if your vestibulo-ocular reflex(VOR) is functioning correctly & giving proper signals to the brain
A rotary chair test that helps your doctor figure out how your body reacts to external movement & how well can you maintain your balance in the presence of an external movement stimulus
Caloric testing, which helps your doctor figure out if your vertigo symptoms are due to an inner ear problem or a central issue in the brain
A vestibular evoked myogenic potential(VEMP) test that helps your doctor figure out if a muscle in your neck is working properly to transfer any movement signals to the brain
In some cases, your doctor might also order CT scans of your head, along with an MRI to figure out if any issue with your brain is causing your symptoms. In other cases, vertigo can also be easily diagnosed by looking at your symptom history & any recent medical procedures you’ve had.
If you have Meniere’s Disease, your doctor will come to know about it in a physical exam, as there will be an excessive amount of fluid in your inner ear. In this case, your doctor will also perform an audiometry test on you to figure out if you are able to listen to sounds of certain frequencies & pitches.
This will help them figure out any hearing loss you’re suffering from & might not have even known about. They can also figure out if you’re suffering from Tinnitus by asking you if you hear any internal sounds constantly. If all this occurs, then your doctor will diagnose you with Meniere’s Disease.
The difference between Vertigo & Meniere’s Disease:
Although both conditions are capable of causing vertigo & sudden feelings of dizziness & a moving or spinning sensation, both have some differing symptoms.
Meniere’s Disease causes vertigo along with partial or total hearing loss in the affected ear, a ringing or whistling sound in the ears also known as tinnitus, a feeling of pressure inside the ears, nausea, vomiting, headache, & motion sickness.
Patients who have vertigo not caused by Meniere’s Disease generally don’t feel tinnitus, experience hearing loss, & don’t feel any pressure inside their ears.
It’s important for your doctor to figure out the exact cause of your vertigo in order to give you the proper treatment.
What is Vertigo treatment and Meniere’s Disease treatment:
Vertigo treatment usually involves treating the underlying cause of the illness, in hopes that this will take care of the vertigo symptoms. In addition to treating the underlying cause of vertigo, your vertigo symptoms may also include the following:
Vertigo exercises like the Epley Maneuver, the Brandt-Daroff exercises, the Semont maneuver, the Foster maneuver, & more
Vertigo & dizziness medications like the Stemetil MD tablet, Meclizine tablet, Stugeron-Forte tablet, antihistamines, betahistine, anti-nausea medicines, anti-anxiety medications, & in some cases, anti-depressants
General balance & posture exercises like Yoga, Tai Chi, dancing, controlled breathing exercises, meditation, & other stress-reducing activities
For Meniere’s Disease induced vertigo, your doctors will also give you diuretics, also known as water pills, to help reduce the amount of excess fluid in your inner ear.
Meniere’s Disease treatment might also include the use of hearing aids to help with the hearing loss brought on by the condition, & also to ease the symptoms of tinnitus.
In some cases, surgery might be necessary to help relieve your symptoms. The exact surgical procedure that you will need will depend on the exact condition you’re suffering from, & the discretion of your doctor basis your medical history & other factors.
In conclusion, we can say that while Vertigo & Meniere’s Disease cause almost similar symptoms like dizziness, nausea, motion sickness, vomiting, etc., they are different conditions. As such, they require different treatment approaches, best determined by your doctor.