What is BPPV, a.k.a. Vertigo?

Wikipedia will tell you that “Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) is a disorder caused by problems in the inner ear. Its symptoms are repeated episodes of positional vertigo, that is, of a spinning sensation caused by changes in the position of the head.”

The symptoms are listed as follows:

  • Vertigo: Spinning dizziness which is not light headed or off balance.
  • Short duration (Paroxysmal): Lasts only seconds to minutes
  • Positional in onset: Only can be induced by a change in position.
  • Nausea is often associated
  • Visual disturbance: It may be difficult to read or see during an attack due to the associated nystagmus.
  • Pre-Syncope (feeling faint) or Syncope (fainting) is unusual.
  • Emesis (Vomiting) is uncommon but possible.

I have problems with some of these statements:

“Spinning dizziness which is not light headed or offbalance.” Mine isn’t really a spinning.  It’s more of the room jumping back and forth, and it can definitely make you feel off balance, especially when you’re trying to walk down the hall and you’re bouncing off the walls on your way.

“Short duration.” I’ve had vertigo last for many hours, even days.

“Only can be induced by a change in position.” Well, I’ve been sitting completely still and out of nowhere vertigo will hit me.

“Emesis (Vomiting) is uncommon but possible.” I can’t speak for anyone else, but vertigo frequently causes me to go into an uncontrollable bout of vomiting.

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Posted under Symptoms

This post was written by Dan Ferry on July 11, 2010

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