Vertigo: It’s the name of an award-winning Hitchcock film. That’s a fact. It’s also a medical condition that, along with dizziness, affects about 2.4 million Americans. That’s also a fact. 

But even though vertigo is relatively common, facts about the condition — why it happens and how it’s treated — are often shrouded in misconceptions and myths. And that may keep some people from seeking care for their symptoms.

At Southern ENT Associates, our team wants all of our patients to understand the symptoms of vertigo, along with its causes and treatments. In this post, we look at some of the most common myths about vertigo, along with the facts to set things straight.

Myth: Vertigo is the same as dizziness

Fact: Vertigo and dizziness are often confused, but the symptoms they share (and often, their causes) are different. 

The easiest way to think of it is this: Dizziness feels like your head is spinning, while vertigo feels like the room is spinning around you or like the floor is tilting beneath your feet.

Myth: The only symptom of vertigo is a spinning sensation

Fact: Lots of symptoms accompany that telltale spinning sensation, including:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Sweating
  • Headache
  • Hearing changes or ringing in your ears
  • Loss of balance
  • Feeling of being pulled to one side

Vertigo increases your risk of falling and other accidents, and it interferes with lots of everyday activities.

Myth: Vertigo only happens if you’re afraid of heights

Fact: In the Alfred Hitchcock movie, the lead character displayed symptoms of vertigo, but only when he found himself at very great heights. While people with acrophobia (fear of heights) can experience vertigo symptoms as part of their stress response, the two conditions are very different.

Myth: Vertigo is a disease

Fact: Vertigo is a symptom of an underlying problem. Diagnosing that problem is the first step toward getting treatment to relieve vertigo.

Myth: Vertigo is always caused by a problem with your brain

Fact: Lots of issues can cause vertigo. Inner ear problems are a major cause of vertigo, but it can also be caused by:

  • Some medications
  • Age-related changes
  • Injury to your ears or brain
  • Ear infections or inflammation
  • Neurological issues
  • Head injuries
  • Stress
  • Hormonal changes
  • Cardiovascular issues (including high blood pressure)

A lot of vertigo is related to issues affecting your vestibular system, a sensory system that helps you maintain balance and keeps you aware of your body’s position.

Myth: If you lie still, vertigo will go away

Fact: Actually, many people find their symptoms feel worse when they lie down and close their eyes. 

What’s also true: While you’re experiencing vertigo symptoms, don’t drive, use stairs, or do other activities that could lead to falls or accidents.

Get treatment for your vertigo symptoms

One more fact: You don’t have to live with vertigo. There are lots of treatment options that can help. Finding relief starts with a comprehensive evaluation to determine the underlying cause of your vertigo symptoms.

With locations in Thibodaux, Houma, Raceland, Morgan City, New Iberia, and Youngsville, Louisiana, Southern ENT Associates makes it easy and convenient to get state-of-the-art ENT care, so you can relieve uncomfortable vertigo symptoms and improve your quality of life. 

To learn more about vertigo diagnosis and treatment, call us to schedule an appointment at one of our locations today.

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