Difference between dizziness and vertigo
6 mins read

Difference between dizziness and vertigo

Do you remember the last time you felt dizzy? It’s a sensation we’ve all experienced at some point in our lives. But what if you get to hear from the experts that there’s a condition called vertigo that takes dizziness to a whole new level?

Did you know that in India, over 9.9 million people have experienced vertigo, and it affects 1 in 10 people worldwide? Vertigo is not your average dizzy spell. It’s a balance disorder that can lead to a sudden, unpleasant sensation that makes you feel like the world is spinning around you. It’s not just “a moment of dizziness” to brush off. Despite its prevalence, there are still challenges with diagnosis, making the journey to treatment a long and difficult one.

Dizziness, on the other hand, is a term we’ve all come across at some point in our lives. Whether it’s after a rollercoaster ride, a strenuous workout, or standing up too quickly, the feeling of unsteadiness is a common occurrence. Whatever is the case, treatment for vertigo and dizziness is  must is any of these signs stays for longer than usual.

 Let’s find out more about these two conditions in this blog.

Dizziness: A Common Sensation

Dizziness is a broad term that encompasses a range of sensations, making it challenging to pinpoint a single cause. It can manifest as lightheadedness, unsteadiness, or a feeling of faintness. Most often, dizziness is a transient and benign sensation triggered by various factors:

  • Dehydration: Lack of fluids can cause blood pressure to drop, leading to dizziness.
  • Orthostatic Hypotension: A sudden drop in blood pressure when standing up from a sitting or lying position.
  • Anemia: Reduced red blood cell count affects oxygen delivery to the brain, causing dizziness.
  • Ear Infections: Conditions like labyrinthitis and vestibular neuritis can disturb the balance system in the inner ear.
  • Medication Side Effects: Some drugs can induce dizziness as a side effect.

In most cases, ordinary dizziness episodes resolve themselves quickly and do not pose serious health risks. However, recurrent or persistent dizziness should be evaluated by a medical professional to rule out underlying conditions.

Vertigo: A Complex Balance Disorder

While dizziness is a relatively common and vague sensation, vertigo is a distinct and often more severe condition. Vertigo is characterized by a false sensation of spinning or movement, as though the world around you is rotating or tilting. It can be triggered by various underlying factors, making it more complex to diagnose and manage. Vestibular System Dysfunction: Vertigo often originates in the inner ear, where the vestibular system controls balance. Conditions like benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV), Meniere’s disease, or vestibular neuritis can disrupt this system, leading to vertigo.

Central Nervous System Issues: Some cases of vertigo are rooted in problems within the central nervous system, such as a stroke, multiple sclerosis, or a brain tumor.

Medication or Substance-Induced: Certain drugs, such as those used in chemotherapy, or excessive alcohol consumption can induce vertigo.

What Are The Key Differences?

Nature of SensationIt is a feeling of unsteadiness or light-headednessIt  is a distinct spinning or tilting sensation
DurationOften brief and transientCan be prolonged and recurrent
Underlying CausesCan result from even simple dehydrationTypically has specific underlying causes related to the vestibular system or the central nervous system
SeverityTypically not as severe as vertigoMore  incapacitating and disruptive to daily life

Management and Treatment

The approach to managing dizziness and vertigo can vary depending on the underlying cause:


  • Stay hydrated, as dehydration is a common trigger.
  • Change positions slowly to prevent orthostatic hypotension.
  • If medication side effects are suspected, consult with your healthcare provider about potential alternatives.
  • If dizziness is related to an underlying condition, such as anemia, your doctor will recommend appropriate treatment.


  • For BPPV, specific repositioning maneuvers like the Epley maneuver can help reposition dislodged ear crystals.
  • Medications, such as anti-nausea drugs and vestibular suppressants, may be prescribed for positional vertigo treatment
  • Lifestyle modifications, including dietary changes and reducing salt intake, can to manage conditions like Meniere’s disease.
  • Physical therapy or vestibular rehabilitation exercises are sometimes recommended in positional vertigo treatment to improve balance.
  • In some cases, surgical interventions may be required to treat severe forms of vertigo or underlying structural issues in the ear.

Why Both Conditions Need Urgent Medical Attention

Whether you’re experiencing dizziness or vertigo, seeking medical attention is crucial for several reasons:

1. Rule Out Serious Underlying Conditions:

Both dizziness and vertigo can be symptoms of more severe medical issues. Unexplained, recurrent episodes should not be taken lightly, as they might indicate a serious underlying problem like a brain tumor, stroke, or an ear disorder that needs prompt attention.

2. Correct Diagnosis:

Diagnosing the exact cause of dizziness or vertigo can be challenging. Medical professionals have the expertise and diagnostic tools to identify the underlying issue, leading to more effective treatment strategies.

3. Prevent Complications:

Certain causes of dizziness and vertigo can lead to complications if left untreated. For example, Meniere’s disease can result in hearing loss, and unattended vestibular disorders may lead to falls and injuries. It is vital to check for treatment for vertigo and dizziness in case of any prolonged symptoms.

4. Improve Quality of Life:

Living with persistent dizziness or vertigo can be extremely challenging. These conditions can disrupt daily activities, impact emotional well-being, and reduce quality of life. Seeking medical attention is the first step toward finding effective management and improving your overall well-being.


Dizziness and vertigo are not mere inconveniences; they are complex conditions that can have profound effects on an individual’s quality of life. While dizziness may often be a benign and transient sensation, vertigo demands careful evaluation and specialized management. The treatment for vertigo and dizziness should be done right from the moment it is diagnosed. Seeking medical attention is the first step towards accurate diagnosis, effective management, and, most importantly, preserving your well-being. Your health is precious, and it’s essential to address any abnormal symptoms urgently to prevent any unnecessary complications.

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