MAR 19, 2016 8:43 AM PDT

The Cause of Vertigo is In Your Head

WRITTEN BY: Xuan Pham

Vertigo is a sense of dizziness that may feel like objects and world around you are spinning about, even though you may be perfectly still. The woozy sensations can be accompanied by loss of balance, nausea, vomiting, and eye twitches. These episodes can last from hours to days, causing severe deficits in normal functions. Vertigo is not triggered by fear of height, but rather by problems in the brain or the ears.

Vertigo is classified as central or peripheral, depending on the location source of the problem. Central vertigo has a neurological basis, usually involving the cerebellum or brainstem. This type of vertigo is caused by strokes, brain tumors, injuries, or multiple sclerosis.

The more common type of vertigo is peripheral, accounting for 93% of reported vertigo cases. This type of vertigo involves problems with the workings in the inner ear, hence why ear infections sometimes trigger balance issues and lead to dizziness. Multiple components of the inner ear allow us to orient ourselves correctly to our surrounding, and when problems occur here, our whole balance can be severely affected. Watch the video to learn about the structures in the inner ear and how these are involved with vertigo.
About the Author
  • I am a human geneticist, passionate about telling stories to make science more engaging and approachable. Find more of my writing at the Hopkins BioMedical Odyssey blog and at TheGeneTwist.com.
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