Dizziness (including vertigo) is a common issue that can affect more than 5% of people across their lifetime. Both dizziness and vertigo can occur for a wide range of reasons. Dizziness and vertigo are often talked about in the same way but there are some key differences between the two. Dizziness refers to a range of feelings such as unsteadiness, giddiness, light-headedness or disorientation. Vertigo is much more specific and tends to refer to the feeling of the environment spinning around the individual and can even cause nausea.
Most commonly, dizziness and vertigo are caused by disorders of the inner ear. Many people suffer symptoms over long periods not realising they can be easily treated if accurately diagnosed. It is common for disorders of the inner ear to stimulate vertigo when changing position (e.g. getting up from bed, rolling over) or moving too quickly.
In the majority of cases dizziness and vertigo are not life threatent or risk for permanent disability, but simply reduce comfort or quality of life instead. There are a small percentage of cases in which vertigo or dizziness are occuring due to a more serious condition; for this reason, these symptoms are not something to be ignored.
Suffering from vertigo or dizziness can be very limiting to an individual's lifestyle and leave them fearful of participating in many activities to avoid the sensation. So even if the symptoms of dizziness and vertigo are more mild it is worth seeking assessment and treatment from an appropriate healthcare professional. Most cases of vertigo or dizziness can be resolved within 2-6 weeks depending on severity and your healthcare professional can determine if more specialist input is needed to screen for more serious conditions.