How do you know if it was a mini stroke or vertigo?

How do you know if it was a mini stroke or vertigo? post thumbnail image

Vertigo is characterized by sudden spinning sensations, often feeling as if your surroundings or you are moving or spinning when they are in fact, completely stationary. There are two types of Vertigo; Central & Peripheral. Central Vertigo is caused when there is some issue with the nerves relegating signals to the brain, while peripheral vertigo is caused by issues with the inner ear. The inner ear houses the vestibular system, which is responsible for maintaining balance while we are standing, sitting, or walking.

Various conditions can cause disturbances in the Vestibular System; these include Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV), Meniere’s Disease, Vestibular Neuritis, labyrinthitis, etc. In some cases, migraines may also lead to Vertigo attacks, especially if they last long & are left untreated. Vertigo isn’t usually serious, & isn’t even a condition in itself. It is often the result of some already underlying illness. Vertigo can surely be worrisome & can cause certain difficulties in a patient’s everyday life, but is rarely a serious condition.  It also usually goes away on its own as the body learns to adapt itself to the faulty balance system. In cases where symptoms & signs of Vertigo don’t go away on their own, doctors might prescribe certain vertigo medicines & exercises for Vertigo, depending on exactly what your Vertigo causes are.

Signs & Symptoms of Vertigo:

The most typical symptoms & signs of Vertigo that most people reportedly experience are:


       A false sense of your surroundings spinning or moving

       General unsteadiness & a loss of balance



In some cases, symptoms of Vertigo can also be mistaken for those of Motion Sickness. Perhaps, the most important aspect of signs of Vertigo & also of any early signs of dizziness is that they could also be symptoms of a mini-stroke.

A mini-stroke, also medically known as Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA) is a temporary period of symptoms that resemble those of a stroke. These symptoms last only for a few minutes & usually don’t cause any permanent damage. Even though it isn’t dangerous per se, a Transient Ischemic Attack or a mini stroke serves the purpose of a warning. According to medical researchers, about 1 in 3 people who experience a mini-stroke, go on to have a full-blown stroke later in life. What’s scarier is that about half of these strokes will occur within a year of suffering a mini-stroke.

A general list of mini-stroke symptoms is given below:

       Weakness, numbness, or temporary paralysis in your face, arm, or leg, also typically on one side of your body,

       Slurred, jumbled, & distorted speech along with difficulty in understanding others

       Temporary blindness in one or both eyes, or double vision

       Signs of Vertigo & a general loss of balance & coordination

As you can see, it is easy to confuse general signs of Vertigo & any early signs of dizziness as those of a mini-stroke, or vice versa. However, there are certainly ways to find out exactly what you’re suffering from; a mini-stroke or Vertigo. For starters, symptoms of a mini-stroke usually last longer than those of a Vertigo attack.

Mini-Stroke symptoms are also varied & highly neurological in nature; unlike those of vertigo & general dizziness.  When what you’re experiencing is a mini stroke, you will experience blurring or slurring of speech, numbness, weakness in one side of your body, double vision or temporary blindness, & intense feelings of dizziness & Vertigo. While signs of Vertigo & dizziness are less severe & concentrated in nature, & usually last for a shorter period of time than mini-stroke.

If you’re experiencing signs & symptoms of Vertigo along with the above-mentioned neurological symptoms, then you should immediately visit the hospital & get yourself checked for a mini-stroke. Mini Strokes can be taken both as a warning for an upcoming major stroke or as an opportunity to prevent any future strokes.  The ideal situation would be to take your health seriously & adopt some healthy practices to reduce your chances of getting a major stroke.

However if you only experience symptoms of Vertigo & general early signs of dizziness, then there is no such need to worry. As mentioned elsewhere, most types of Vertigo usually resolve on their own as the body adapts to whatever Vertigo causes there are.  However, in cases where Vertigo doesn’t go away on its own, a Vertigo treatment plan may be needed to be put in place. This treatment plan may include certain specific Vertigo medicines & exercises for Vertigo depending on the exact type of Vertigo you’re experiencing, & the particular Vertigo causes.

For people suffering from Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV), doctors may recommend certain exercises for Vertigo like the Epley Maneuver, Brandt-Daroff exercises, & Semont-Foster maneuver, among other exercises.  These exercises together form a type of Vertigo treatment called Vestibular Rehabilitation Therapy.

Vestibular Rehabilitation Therapy helps the body adapt to the Vertigo causes & reestablish mechanisms for maintaining balance while sitting, standing, & walking.

Certain Vertigo medicines that help ease symptoms & signs of Vertigo, as well as early signs of dizziness, may also be recommended as part of your Vertigo treatment. These medicines include antihistamines like meclizine, anticholinergics like scopolamine, & anti-dizziness medications like clonazepam, lorazepam, & diazepam. Certain medications that help in relieving nausea & motion sickness like Ativan (lorazepam), & Benadryl may also be prescribed to you.

If you’re Vertigo & dizziness symptoms are being caused by an inner ear infection like Meniere’s Disease, Vestibular Neuritis, or labyrinthitis, then your doctor may prescribe you certain antiviral or antibacterial medications to treat those. In the above case, your dizziness & symptoms of Vertigo will go away as soon as the infection causing it subsides.

In certain cases, your Vertigo might not go away even after doing exercises for Vertigo. When this happens, surgery might be the only option for you to be relieved from your Vertigo.  The doctors will perform a surgical procedure to treat the exact Vertigo cause & relieve you of your Vertigo.

Certain home remedies can also prove helpful in alleviating signs of Vertigo & any early signs of dizziness. These include getting enough sleep, staying hydrated throughout the day, indulging in stress-relieving activities like yoga, reading long walks, etc., among other things. Adding certain natural supplements like Ginkgo Biloba to your diet & including proper vitamins & minerals in your meals can also be monumental, both in relieving Vertigo & dizziness signs & keeping you healthy overall.


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