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Vertigo is described as a sensation that affects your balance and makes you feel dizzy or lightheaded. It is commonly triggered by moving your head or standing up too quickly. The dizziness you experience can sometimes be so severe that you need to sit or lie down or make you feel nauseous.

What causes Vertigo?

The underlying cause of vertigo varies. It can be caused by inner ear disturbances and complications, medication, motion sickness, or certain health conditions.


Medications such as antidepressants and sedatives often have dizziness as a side effect. In some cases, medicines that lower your blood pressure too much, can make you feel faint or lightheaded.

Poor Blood Circulation

Limited blood flow to the brain can result in dizziness and imbalance. Heart conditions such as cardiomyopathy and heart arrhythmia, as well as a decline in blood volume, can cause a reduction in the amount of blood that flows to the brain and result in vertiginous episodes.

Inner Ear Complications

Balance works with impulses being sent to the brain from the inner ear - inclusive of impulses from the photoreceptors in the eye (rods and cones) as well as sensory nerves. The parts of the ear responsible for balance are known as the cochlear and semicircular canals - also known as the vestibular system.

Inner ear conditions affect balance when the impulses sent to the brain aren’t persistent with those sent from the eyes and sensory nerves. Vertigo is a result of your brain interpreting and expediting the confusion.

Inner ear conditions that cause vertigo:

  • Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV)
  • Infections
  • Meniere’s Disease
  • Migraines

Vertigo often doesn’t require any treatment. However, if you seek treatment, Dr Makhaye will base it off your symptoms and do a series of tests to determine what’s causing your vertigo. Treatment can consist of medication and balance exercises. If no underlying cause is found and symptoms persist, Dr Makhaye will prescribe medication to alleviate symptoms and make them more manageable.