Read below about vertigo (extreme dizziness), including causes and common questions. Or get a personalized analysis of your vertigo (extreme dizziness) from our A.I. health assistant. At Buoy, we build tools that help you know what’s wrong right now and how to get the right care.

This symptom can also be referred to as:
Disequilibrium
The room is spinning

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10 Potential Vertigo (Extreme Dizziness) Causes

  1. 1.Chronic Earwax Blockage

    Earwax production is a normal process, as the body makes wax to protect the ear from infection. Sometimes ear wax can build up and cover the eardrum which is a thin layer of skin that stretches across the end of the ear canal and picks up sound from outside.

    With treatment, the condition will resolve.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    dizziness, dry cough, ear canal pain, ringing in the ears, ear fullness/pressure
    Symptoms that always occur with chronic earwax blockage:
    ear canal pain
    Symptoms that never occur with chronic earwax blockage:
    swollen ear, fever
    Urgency:
    Phone call or in-person visit
  2. 2.Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo

    Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo is a common disorder of the inner ear that causes episodes of intense dizziness with head movements. It is believed this is caused by tiny calcium crystals in the inner ear that become dislodged from their usual position within the inner ear.

    Condition will either resolve on its own or is highly treatable with a physical maneuver.

    Rarity:
    Uncommon
    Top Symptoms:
    nausea, episodic dizziness, vomiting, vertigo (extreme dizziness), dizziness
    Symptoms that always occur with benign paroxysmal positional vertigo:
    episodic dizziness
    Symptoms that never occur with benign paroxysmal positional vertigo:
    hearing loss, heartbeat sound in the ear, ringing in the ears
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  3. 3.Hypertensive Crisis

    A hypertensive crisis occurs with when there is a severe increase in blood pressure. In some cases, this causes damage to the organs.

    Recovery is dependent on severity of illness and treatment type.

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    headache, nausea or vomiting, chest pain, being severely ill, dizziness
    Symptoms that never occur with hypertensive crisis:
    chest pain that is worse when breathing
    Urgency:
    Emergency medical service
  4. 4.Paget Disease of the Bone

    Paget's disease of the bone is a disorder in which the bone recycling process goes astray. It mostly affects people older than 55 years old. While many people with the disease have no symptoms, some suffer from bone pain, abnormal shapes of bone and weaker bones that can break more easily.

    Treatment depends on the severity of disease, however, this is a lifelong condition and treatment may become necessary as the disease progresses.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    new headache, pelvis pain, back pain, spontaneous bone pain, moderate hip pain
    Symptoms that always occur with paget disease of the bone:
    spontaneous bone pain
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  5. 5.Possible Meniere's Disease

    Meniere's disease is a disorder of the inner ear. It can cause severe dizziness, a roaring sound in the ears called tinnitus, hearing loss that comes and goes and the feeling of ear pressure or pain. Meniere's commonly develops between the ages of 20 and 60, and most often starts in only one ear.

    Life-long condition, attacks may happen 6-11 times per year on average.

    Rarity:
    Uncommon
    Top Symptoms:
    nausea, episodic dizziness, ringing in the ears, vertigo (extreme dizziness), ear fullness/pressure
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor

    Vertigo (Extreme Dizziness) Checker

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  6. 6.Meniere's Disease

    Meniere's disease is a disorder of the inner ear. It can cause severe dizziness, a roaring sound in the ears called tinnitus, hearing loss that comes and goes and the feeling of ear pressure or pain. Meniere's commonly develops between the ages of 20 and 40, and most often starts in only one ear.

    Life-long condition, attacks may happen 6-11 times per year on average.

    Rarity:
    Uncommon
    Top Symptoms:
    nausea, ringing in the ears, vertigo (extreme dizziness), ear fullness/pressure, brief fainting episode
    Symptoms that always occur with meniere's disease:
    dizziness: at least 2 episodes
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  7. 7.Central Vertigo

    Central vertigo is vertigo due to a disease originating from the brain or spinal cord. Vertigo can cause individuals to experience hallucinations of motion of their surroundings.

    This condition is considered irreversible, but symptoms can be effectively managed with treatment

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    vertigo (extreme dizziness), numbness or tingling sensations in skin, difficulty walking, jerky, unsteady, or uncoordinated walk, motor disturbance
    Symptoms that always occur with central vertigo:
    vertigo (extreme dizziness)
    Symptoms that never occur with central vertigo:
    hearing loss, heartbeat sound in the ear
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  8. 8.Stroke or Tia (Transient Ischemic Attack)

    A stroke is a medical emergency. Strokes happen when blood flow to the brain is stopped.

    Indefinite

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    dizziness, new headache, leg numbness, arm numbness, stiff neck
    Symptoms that never occur with stroke or tia (transient ischemic attack):
    bilateral weakness
    Urgency:
    Emergency medical service
  9. 9.Earwax Blockage

    Ear wax production is a normal process, as the body makes wax to protect the ear from infection. Sometimes ear wax can build up and cover the eardrum, which is a thin layer of skin that stretches across the end of the ear canal and picks up sound from outside. Ear wax buildup has nothing to do with poor hygiene, and it is not possible to prevent a build-up by washing.

    Condition likely will go away on its own after 5 days without treatment. However, with pain, dizziness, or feelings of fullness, the earwax should be removed.

    Rarity:
    Uncommon
    Top Symptoms:
    dizziness, dry cough, ear canal pain, ear fullness/pressure, ringing in the ears
    Symptoms that never occur with earwax blockage:
    swollen ear, fever
    Urgency:
    Phone call or in-person visit
  10. 10.Stroke or Tia (Transient Ischemic Attack)

    A stroke is a medical emergency. Strokes happen when blood flow to the brain is stopped.

    Indefinite

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    new headache, dizziness, stiff neck, being severely ill, vision changes
    Symptoms that never occur with stroke or tia (transient ischemic attack):
    bilateral weakness
    Urgency:
    Emergency medical service

Questions Your Doctor May Ask About Vertigo (Extreme Dizziness)

  • Q.Have you been feeling more tired than usual, lethargic or fatigued despite sleeping a normal amount?
  • Q.Any fever today or during the last week?
  • Q.Have you experienced any nausea?
  • Q.Have you vomited?

If you've answered yes to one or more of these questions, try our vertigo (extreme dizziness) symptom checker to find out more.

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Vertigo (Extreme Dizziness) Symptom Checker Statistics

  • People who have experienced vertigo (extreme dizziness) have also experienced:

    • 8% Nausea
    • 6% Headache
    • 6% Fatigue
  • People who have experienced vertigo (extreme dizziness) had symptoms persist for:

    • 42% Less Than a Day
    • 25% Less Than a Week
    • 17% Over a Month
  • People who have experienced vertigo (extreme dizziness) were most often matched with:

    • 7% Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo
    • 6% Hypertensive Crisis
  • Source: Aggregated and anonymized results from visits to the Buoy AI health assistant (check it out by clicking on “Take Quiz”).

Disclaimer: The article does not replace an evaluation by a physician. Information on this page is provided as an information resource only, and is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes.

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