The main symptom of
benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) is the
feeling that you or your surroundings are spinning, whirling, or tilting. This
sensation is called vertigo.
It is important to understand the
difference between vertigo and dizziness. People often
use those two terms as if they meant the same thing. But they are different
symptoms and they may point to different problems.
- Vertigo is the feeling that you are spinning or the world is
spinning around you. It happens when your body's
balance sensory systems disagree about what kind of
movement they sense. You may find it hard to walk or stand. You may even lose
your balance and fall. If your vertigo is bad enough, you may also have nausea
- Dizziness is not a feeling that you are spinning. It is a woozy
or unsteady feeling.
To find out whether your vertigo is caused by BPPV, your
doctor will want to find out what causes it, how bad it is, and how long it
lasts. With BPPV:
- Tilting the head, looking up or down, rolling over in bed, or
getting in and out of bed causes vertigo.
- It begins a few seconds after you move your head.
- It usually lasts less than a minute. The spinning sensation may
be mild, or it may be bad enough to cause nausea and vomiting.
- Vertigo becomes less noticeable each time you repeat the same
movement. After 3 to 4 repeats, the movement may no longer cause vertigo.
Several hours may pass before the same movement again causes vertigo.
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