Dizziness is a symptom, not a disease. Dizziness is defined as a feeling of being woozy, drunk, unsteady, or giddy. It is a general term used to describe the sensation of imbalance.
Individuals often describe balance problems in terms of vertigo, dizziness, lightheadedness, and motion sickness.
The term vertigo refers to a specific type of dizziness that causes the sensation of spinning or whirling. This generally occurs as a result of a disturbance in balance (equilibrium). Vertigo also may be used to describe feelings of dizziness, lightheadedness, faintness, and unsteadiness. For the purposes of this monograph, vertigo and dizziness will be used interchangeably.
Vertigo is one of the most common health problems in adults. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), about 40% of people in the United States experience feeling dizzy at least once during their lifetime. Prevalence is slightly higher in women and increases with age.
While the majority of individuals with dizziness experience mild to moderate symptoms, severe symptoms of dizziness involving disability are seen in an estimated 10% of the patients.
Vertigo may be related to disorders of the vestibular system (the system of balance), injury, or medications. As individuals age, they also become more prone to vestibular disorders, such as vertigo.
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