Difference Between Vertigo and Dizziness

Vertigo vs Dizziness
 

Vertigo and dizziness sound same, since they both share some of the similar characteristics, but they do differ in many ways. Sensation of rotation when the patient is stationary is referred as dizziness, while sensation of rotation in which the patients feel their surroundings are spinning or moving is referred as vertigo. This article emphasizes on the differences between these two terms, which would help one for better understanding.

Vertigo

Vertigo, which is an illusion of movement, is a definite symptom. The patients feel as their surroundings are spinning or moving. It indicates some disorder in the vestibular system or its central connections.

Vertigo is further classified as peripheral and central vertigo depending on the location of the dysfunction. If the problem is in the inner ear or the vestibular system, it is peripheral vertigo, and if it involves balance centers of the brain, it is central vertigo. Central vertigo usually accompanies the respective neurological deficits, which would be helpful in making the diagnosis.

There are magnitudes of causes responsible for vertigo. Benign positional vertigo is the commonest causes. The other causes include menere’s disease, vestibular neuritis, certain drugs including gentamicin and anti convulsants, toxins, multiple sclerosis, acute cerebella lesions, CP angle lesions, brain stem ischemia and infarctions and migraine.

Clinically patient with vertigo may have associated nausea, vomiting and unsteadiness.

Patient with vertigo should be investigated to find out the cause. Dix-Hallpike test is done to diagnose benign positional vertigo. Assessment of the vestibular system is done using caloric reflex test, rotation tests and by electronystagmography. Auditory system is assessed using pure audiometry. Magnetic resonance imaging and computerized tomography are useful in locating the central lesions.

Treatment of vertigo depends on the underlying cause.

Dizziness

It is an imprecise term that is being used for a wide variety of complaints including vague feeling of unsteadiness to severe acute vertigo.

Common physiological causes of dizziness are reduced blood supply to the brain, loss of visual cues, disorders in the inner ear and dysfunction of the nervous system due to various medications.

Clinically the term is widely used to address light-headedness experienced in anxiety, during palpitations, in syncope and chronic ill health.

Since multiple parts of the body are involved, inner ear, eyes, musculoskeletal system and the nervous system should be thoroughly investigated looking for a cause.

Treatment depends on the underlying cause.

 

What is the difference between Vertigo and Dizziness?

• Vertigo is a definite symptom while dizziness is an imprecise term.

• Sensation of rotation when the patient is stationary is called dizziness, while sensation of rotation in which the patient feels that their surroundings are spinning or moving is called vertigo.

• Vertigo is usually associated with nausea, vomiting and unsteadiness, but dizziness may or may not.

• Disorder in the vestibular system or its central connections are responsible for vertigo, but dizziness may be resulted from disorders in the multiple body parts including inner ear, eyes, musculoskeletal system and the nervous system.