Feeling dizzy: A guide to vertigo

Written by: Mr Anthony Aymat
Published: | Updated: 29/11/2023
Edited by: Alex Rolandi

The term vertigo, which means ‘dizziness’ or ‘sensation of whirling’ in Latin, is often mistaken for fear of heights. In reality, vertigo is the feeling that you or the world around you is spinning out of control.

These vertigo attacks can occur anywhere and at any time. The onset may be rapid, and they can last only a few seconds or much, much longer. In cases of severe vertigo, it has been known for symptoms to last continuously for up to several days. We speak to leading ENT specialist Mr Anthony Aymat all about it in this informative article.  

Why does vertigo happen?

There are two types of vertigo: central and peripheral. Vertigo is not actually a condition in itself, but a symptom. What causes vertigo is commonly a problem with balance in the inner ear, but it can also be caused by problems in the brain. The type of vertigo generally depends on the cause. Common causes of vertigo include:

Additional symptoms may accompany vertigo, depending on what the root cause is. People may experience high temperature, hearing loss, or ringing in the ears (tinnitus).


What are the symptoms of vertigo?

Vertigo can be triggered by a change in the position of the head. The most common vertigo symptoms include:

  • Dizziness
  • Spinning sensation
  • Tilting sensation
  • Loss of balance

Other possible symptoms of vertigo are:

  • Nausea;
  • Vomiting;
  • Headaches;
  • Sweating;


Does vertigo have any risk factors?

There are a number of risk factors that can increase the chances of developing vertigo. In some cases, drinking alcohol can bring about vertigo. More common risk factors that can cause vertigo are head injuries, certain medications (such as antidepressants, anti-seizure and blood pressure medications and even aspirin).

Health conditions that increase your chance of having a stroke (high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease), can also increase the risk of developing vertigo.


How is vertigo treated?

Vertigo treatment can vary from case to case. Occasionally vertigo does improve over time, however some people, such as those with Ménière's disease, may experience repeated bouts of vertigo for months on end.

How vertigo is treated also depends on what is causing it. For example, in order to treat BPPV, a series of simple head movements known as the Epley manoeuvre can suffice. Certain medications such as certain antihistamines and Prochlorperazine have also been known to alleviate early vertigo symptoms.

Some people also benefit from vestibular rehabilitation, which is an exercise program designed for people who suffer from dizziness and balance problems.



If you're looking for expert vertigo treatment in Essex or London, visit Mr Aymat's Top Doctors profile to arrange an appointment. 

By Mr Anthony Aymat
Otolaryngology / ENT

Mr Anthony Aymat is a highly-regarded consultant ENT surgeon based in London who specialises in deafness, adenoids and otitis alongside mastoiditis, otosclerosis and dysphonia. He privately practices at London ENT Surgeons, where he is a partner, and his NHS bases are Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust and Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust.

Mr Aymat, who treats adults and children, is adept in the full range of ear, nose and throat conditions. Furthermore, he has a special interest in ear and hearing problems, such as chronic ear diseasedizziness, and voice disorders, for which he has treated professional and non-professional voice users 

Mr Aymat is highly qualified. He graduated from the University of Barcelona in 1990 and underwent postgraduate training in Birmingham, Bristol and London. He is an fellow of both otology and otorhinolaryngology at the Royal College of Surgeons, Glasgow.

Outside of his clinical practice, he is committed to undergraduate and postgraduate medical training and education, serving as part of the faculty in the surgical skills course at the Royal College of Surgeons, the temporal bone course in Barcelona and Intercollegiate Examination Course at the Royal National Nose, Throat and Ear Hospital in London.  

Mr Aymat's research has been published in various peer-reviewed journals and he is a member of the British Society of Otology (BSO), European Academy of Otology and Neuro-otology (EAONO) and British Voice Association (BVO), alongside the British Laryngological Association (BLA). He also lectures nationally and internationally, and is an examiner for the European Board Examination in Otolaryngology and Head and Neck Surgery.

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