Why Do I Have Vertigo? It’s More Common In Women Than Men, & 6 Other Things To Know About It

Ever been sitting minding your own business and suddenly discovered that the world is spinning rapidly of its own volition? Vertigo, or the illusion of motion, isn't just the sensation you get when you peer off a tall building; it's a symptom of a problem in the body's internal balancing system, creating the sensation that you're moving even when you're not, and in chronic cases it can persist for days or even years, according to experts. That odd spinning feeling begins in your inner ear, and is more sensitive to problems and issues than it may seem. There are many things we're still finding out about vertigo that are helping us figure out how best to deal with it, whether it's your first dizzy spell or your fiftieth.

Vertigo isn't actually a disorder; it can be a symptom of a swathe of different balance problems, with the most common being benign paroxysmal positional vertigo, or basic dizziness that's caused by movement. Balance disorders in general are called vestibular conditions, all of which interfere in different ways with the inner ear, the central organ that dictates balance and experiences of movement. While everyday vertigo (the kind caused by spinning too much on an office chair) resolves itself as the inner ear returns to "normal," chronic vertigo is caused by anything from inflammation of inner ear tissue to problems with the fluid inside the ear, and even nerve problems. It's a complex system that still needs to be better understood, but here are eight things that you need to know about vertigo.