Is There a Difference Between Dizziness and Vertigo?

Dizziness and vertigo are common symptoms that can have numerous root causes. The symptoms of dizziness and vertigo are often used interchangeably but knowing the difference between the two and describing them appropriately can help result in an accurate diagnosis and potential quicker recovery. 

Ahmad Ata, M.D. is a board certified neurologist and neurophysiology specialist at Neurocare of Texas. He has been diagnosing and treating patients with both dizziness and vertigo for over twenty years. Dr. Ata has evaluated patients with brief episodic dizziness to those patients with severe chronic vertigo who have not been able to find answers elsewhere. Neurocare of Texas in Frisco, Texas is an advanced neurological center that offers numerous in office diagnostic tests to provide you with a thorough evaluation of dizziness and vertigo. These in office diagnostic tests help Dr. Ata to make an accurate diagnosis and provide you with the ability to promptly begin treatment without the need to visit multiple facilities. These in office tests include:

What Is Dizziness? 

Dizziness is the sensation that is felt when you become lightheaded, imbalanced, disoriented. Dizziness is an impairment of spatial orientation. Dizziness is typically caused by heart problems, vision issues, dehydration, or stress while vertigo is most commonly caused by an inner ear or brain issue. Dizziness should not be overlooked as repetitive episodes can indicate a more serious health issue. Dizziness is also a big problem as it increases falls and injury, especially in the elderly.  

What Causes Dizziness? 

Dizziness is a symptom of many causes and conditions that can be from a neurological cause or a non-neurological cause. Neurological causes of dizziness and vertigo should be diagnosed and treated early.   

Common Neurological Causes:

Common Non Neurological Causes:

What are Symptoms of Dizziness? 

People experiencing symptoms of dizziness may describe various sensations:

What is Vertigo?

Vertigo is not a diagnosis, it simply describes the sensation one experiences. Vertigo can be described as a type of dizziness that refers to the illusion of motion or spinning when none is present. The feeling of vertigo is similar to the felling most can relate to when they spin around fast or get off an amusement ride and stop. When we stop spinning it feels like we are still moving, this results in a loss of of balance, nausea, and sometimes vomiting. 

What Causes Vertigo? 

Vertigo can be caused by a wide variety of pathologies however vertigo mainly results from an issue in the inner ear or brain. Your vestibular system include parts of the inner and brain that help control balance and eye movements. Balance is maintained through complex interactions of the eyes, brain, muscles, joints, and your inner ear. The majority of us do not think about balance and often take this complex set of sensorimotor systems for granted. When disease, injury, the aging process, certain medications, or psychological factors affect one or more components of your vestibular system you may start experiencing symptoms of vertigo. 

What Are Symptoms of Vertigo?

How Is Vertigo Diagnosed and Treated? 

When you schedule an appointment with Dr. Ata he will obtain your medical history, conduct a physical exam, neurological exam, and ask questions regarding the severity and frequency of your symptoms. Upon gathering this information Dr. Ata may recommend specific diagnostic testing to make an accurate diagnosis. Treatment for vertigo will depend on your diagnosis and the root cause. Treatments for vertigo may include:

There are times when vertigo will resolve on its own however it is important to be evaluated by a medical professional with experience in diagnosing and treating vertigo. If you are experiencing repetitive episodes or prolonged vertigo this may be an indication of a more serious health condition.  To learn more about dizziness, vertigo, or obtain the neurological care you need call us at 214-618-0808 or request an appointment with Dr. Ata through our website. 

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