Diagnosing the cause of vertigo typically involves a combination of clinical evaluation, medical history, and diagnostic tests. Healthcare providers use these methods to determine the underlying cause of vertigo and tailor treatment accordingly. Here are some common tests and evaluations used to diagnose vertigo:
Medical History and Physical Examination:
The healthcare provider will start by taking a detailed medical history and asking questions about the patient symptoms, including the duration, frequency, and characteristics of the vertigo. They will also perform a physical examination, which may include neurological and ear examinations.
This is a specific test used to diagnose benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV). It involves a series of head and body movements to provoke vertigo and identify the affected ear.
(VNG): VNG is a test that measures eye movements while the
patient experiences dizziness or vertigo. It helps evaluate the function of the inner ear
and the vestibular system.
Caloric testing is a type of VNG that assesses the response of the inner
ear to changes in temperature. It can help determine which ear is involved in the vertigo.
ENG is another test that evaluates eye movements to assess the function of the inner ear and vestibular system.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI):
An MRI of the brain and inner ear can help identify structural issues or abnormalities that may be causing vertigo. This is particularly important when other tests do not provide a clear diagnosis.
Audiometry and Hearing Tests:
These tests can help assess hearing and identify any hearing loss associated with conditions like Meniere disease, which can cause vertigo.
Blood tests may be conducted to check for underlying medical conditions that could contribute to vertigo, such as low blood sugar or anemia.
Posturography is a test that assesses balance and posture control. It
can help identify balance problems and their causes.
In some cases, evoked potential tests may be used to measure brain responses to sensory stimuli and evaluate the central nervous system involvement in vertigo.
The specific tests conducted may vary based on the suspected cause of vertigo. Diagnosing vertigo can be challenging because it can result from various underlying conditions. A comprehensive evaluation by a healthcare provider, often in collaboration with specialists like otolaryngologists (ear, nose, and throat doctors) or neurologists, is essential to determine the cause and develop an appropriate treatment plan.
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