Vertigo is a sensation of you or the world moving when neither is actually happening. It can be very distressing even if lasts for short moments. It may be associated with feeling sick, actually being sick, tinnitus, a headache or hearing loss although many patients feel too distressed to notice associated symptoms.

Dizziness does not necessarily mean vertigo in which case it may not be due to inner ear disease caused but other things such as heart or neurological conditions or fainting conditions. Sometimes the feeling might be like you are swimming, feeling detached, not feeling right, a rocking sensation, a feeling of walking on an unstable surface or simply feeling lightheaded.

Vertigo suggests some problem with maintaining one’s balance or being able to remain upright. To maintain our balance we subconsciously put our eyes, joints and inner ears to work by sending a lot of information picked up by these structures to the brain. A problem in any of these three structures would presumably lead to problems maintaining balance although many times two organs make up for a diseased third one with time. Therefore you would not fall over by keeping your eyes shut because your joint position sense makes up for the lack of information normally received through the eyes.

Mr Olarinde will want to ask a lot of questions about your vertigo so be prepared for this. A diagnosis can arrive at a lot of the time with a careful history of the symptom. A thorough examination is sometimes helpful and therefore still necessary. Common causes of vertigo include Meniere’s disease, labyrinthitis and benign positional paroxysmal vertigo (BPPV) or small brain tumours.

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