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How long does vertigo last?

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Quick Answer

Vertigo lasts from a few seconds to several weeks and is a symptom of several different underlying conditions. According to the University of California, Irvine School of Medicine, treatment for vertigo requires treating the primary cause of the symptom. Once the underlying symptom is relieved, the vertigo resolves.

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Full Answer

MedlinePlus divides vertigo into peripheral vertigo and central vertigo. Peripheral vertigo is due to problems in the inner ear. Potential causes of this type of vertigo include medication, injury, nerve inflammation and disease. Central vertigo is due to a problem in the brain and may be related to drug use, alcohol consumption, migraines, stroke and tumors.

Many people who suffer vertigo also experience nausea and vomiting due to the spinning sensation. Other potential problems include loss of balance, difficulty focusing the eyes, ringing in the ears and hearing loss. Patients with central vertigo often have additional symptoms such as difficulty swallowing, slurred speech and double vision, according to MedlinePlus.

WebMD attributes vertigo to a conflict between the various sensors that provide balance. While the inner ear plays an important role in balance, the brain also uses sensors in the joints to track the location and movement of the limbs and torso and depends on skin pressure and vision to determine positioning. When there is a malfunction in one or more of these signals, the brain believes the body is spinning and unbalanced.

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