What is Dizziness?
Dizziness is a vague, but very common symptom.  It is one of the most common reasons why people seek medical attention.  Dizziness can mean lightheadedness, true spinning vertigo, or unsteadiness.  The list of causes of dizziness is extensive and broad, ranging from low blood pressure to inner ear disorders to migraine.  Diagnosing and treating such a symptom can therefore be frustrating and challenging to both physicians and patients.
 
What is vertigo?
Vertigo is specifically defined as the sensation of motion of yourself or your surroundings when no motion exists.  Not all dizziness is vertigo.  Vertigo can be episodic or constant, mild or intense, but typically is worrisome and disabling to patients who experience it.
 
What causes vertigo?
Common causes of vertigo include benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV), labyrinthitis, vestibular neuritis, vestibular migraine, and Ménière’s disease.  Uncommon causes of vertigo include multiple sclerosis, acoustic neuromas, and exposure to ototoxic medications.  Some life threatening causes of vertigo, although rare, do exist and should be ruled out.
 
What is the vestibular system?
The vestibular system involves the neural pathways and structures that help the body perceive and maintain balance and posture in space.  The anatomical structures involved include the inner ears, the eyes, the brain and spinal cord. The peripheral vestibular system refers to the inner ears and the cranial nerves that innervate them.
 
What is VNG?
Video nystagmography, or VNG, is an objective group of tests that measure eye movements in response to several different stimuli, such as head position, eye position, and different temperatures in the ear.  It tests the integrity of the peripheral vestibular system as well as providing input into central vestibular pathways.  While VNG can be helpful in diagnosing vertigo, it is just one of the many tools required to make accurate vestibular diagnoses.



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