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Our board-certified neurologist explains causes and symptoms of vertigo.

What is Vertigo

​​​​What is vertigo? What are the common causes?

“Vertigo is an illusion of motion often described as a feeling that your surroundings are spinning or tilting. It can occur while walking, standing, sitting or lying down. This can lead to dizziness, imbalance, nausea, vomiting and blurred vision,” says Shonte Byrd, M.D., a board-certified Neurology specialist at Kelsey-Seybold Clinic.
“The most common causes are cold viruses; head traumas; middle or inner-ear infections; and Meniere’s disease, a malady when pressure on inner-ear fluid becomes too high,” Dr. Byrd says. “The inner ear is responsible for our sense of balance. Should it dysfunction, we can lose our equilibrium and spatial perception.”
She says vertigo has also been linked to anxiety, a drop in blood pressure, migraines and multiple sclerosis. “Though less common, vertigo can be a sign of a more serious condition such as a brain tumor.”
“Diagnosis is made through a medical evaluation preferably by a neurologist or Ear, Nose and Throat specialist,” Dr. Byrd says. “Most causes of vertigo are treatable with physical therapy, medication or surgery.”
​What to do
“Don’t try to self-medicate; see a doctor. See a doctor immediately if you experience vertigo with any of these symptoms: double vision or loss of vision; hearing loss; trouble speaking; leg or arm numbness or weakness; falling or difficulty walking; or chest pain,” advises Dr. Byrd.
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Shonte Byrd, MD

​I want to focus on my patients’ care and explain the problem, treatment and make sure they are comfortable.​