It is often hard to explain what vertigo actually is. If you go to a dictionary definition like this:
ver·ti·go \ˈvər-ti-ˌgō\ (noun)
a : a sensation of motion in which the individual or the individual’s surroundings seem to whirl dizzily
b : a dizzy confused state of mind
The Vestibular Disorders Association (VEDA) takes the time to explain the difference between dizziness, vertigo, and disequilibrium. “Dizziness is a sensation of lightheadedness, faintness, or unsteadiness. Unlike dizziness, vertigo has a rotational, spinning component, and is the perception of movement, either of the self or surrounding objects. Disequilibrium simply means unsteadiness, imbalance, or loss of equilibrium that is often accompanied by spatial disorientation.” – See more at: http://vestibular.org/node/2#sthash.vTsdifEM.dpuf
At any given time I’ve experienced each and every one of these. Vestibular disorders are very difficult to diagnosis and most sufferers I know go for years and multiple tests before finding out the cause. For many years my official diagnosis was vertigo – unknown cause. And you know how annoying not to know why there is something wrong with you. So you spend a lot of time in different doctors try to find out the cause.
So just how long has vertigo been part of my life?
With vertigo, most people can pinpoint when it started. There are days when I feel like I was born with it. Reality is that I have experienced balance issues since I was a kid. I was always car sick and fell probably more than was normal. My mom just thought I was clumsy and that the car sickness was just something I had. I went many, many years before having a hit the floor and not move for 12 hours episode. I was 22 when I had my first one of those. Many years, many doctors and many episodes later I know better what has happened. I had a very bad virus infection when I was young that damaged the vestibular nerve in my right ear. Official name – Vestibular Neuronitis. As happens with age, deterioration( you gotta love when a Dr. tells you that you are deteriorating!) has caused my vertigo to become permanent. I should note that this diagnosis was basically the Dr’s best guess after a lot of testing – but that’s why they are just practicing medicine. So there you go – dizzy since the 70’s and still spinning!
This just touches very briefly on vertigo alone. If you need to know more about all the vestibular disorders, I strongly suggest going to the VEDA website they cover it all. http://vestibular.org/