What types of dizziness are there?
As a disorder, dizziness is classified into several categories. Each category has a characteristic set of symptoms, all related to the sense of balance. These categories help people understand each other when they talk about dizziness. Four categories are usually used.
Vertigo is a sensation of motion when there is no motion. It is often described as spinning. Vertigo is what some people have just after they ride on a carousel. They briefly feel as though they are still moving, even after they have both feet planted firmly on the ground. People with vertigo may feel that they are moving or that the surroundings are moving while they remain still. Vertigo usually occurs when a person is standing. But it sometimes occurs while a person is sitting, lying down, or changing position. People with vertigo may also have nausea, sometimes with vomiting, and abnormal jerky eye movements (nystagmus).
Dysequilibrium is a sense of unsteadiness or loss of balance that involves the legs or trunk. Dysequilibrium may occur while a person is standing or walking.
Labyrinthitis is an inflammation of the inner ear. It may be caused by a virus and is often accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and involuntary movements of the eyes. A person may have these symptoms suddenly during the day or may wake up with them. Labyrinthitis causes a severe spinning sensation that lasts for several days, usually goes away on its own, and may never return. It usually takes up to several months to disappear. During this time, some people experience a spinning sensation while moving their head in a specific direction or holding it in certain positions. This is called benign positional vertigo.
Meniere's disease is a common condition that can affect adults of all ages. It causes recurring episodes of vertigo with fluctuating hearing loss and pressure, fullness, or noise usually in one ear. It may occur with nausea and vomiting. Symptoms usually last for several hours. Episodes can occur as often as every day or as infrequently as every 10 years.
Light-headedness is a feeling that fainting may occur in the next few moments. Light-headedness usually occurs when a person gets up quickly after sitting or lying down for a while.
Mixed dizziness is a miscellaneous category. It refers to dizziness that does not fit neatly into one of the other three categories.