Have you ever felt dizzy or like the room is spinning, even when standing still? There can be simple reasons for this, such as low blood pressure, but you could be experiencing vertigo. When it comes to MS, ‘dizziness’ and ‘vertigo’ are often used interchangeably, although they can be quite different.
Vertigo is an overpowering sense of movement that can make it difficult to walk or stand. Episodes usually don’t last more than a few hours, but in more chronic cases, vertigo can take days or weeks to go away. Vertigo can be paired with nausea or vomiting.
MS damages the connective nerves between the brain and other parts of the body, which can affect the area of the brain that controls balance – causing vertigo in some people.
Dizziness, on the other hand, is more of an umbrella term for the sensation of being lightheaded, off-balance or disoriented. Vertigo is a type of dizziness, but it’s more acute and can be harder to control.
Dizziness is a common symptom of MS. However, getting a wave of dizziness could also be a sign of dehydration, a sudden drop in blood pressure or low blood sugar. Be sure to stay hydrated, keep your blood sugars up by eating a healthy diet and try to rise slowly if you’ve been sitting or lying down, rather than getting up suddenly. Focusing on some deep breathing before getting up can also help.
As a broader term, dizziness can also be a telltale sign of a stroke or other health conditions. If you start experiencing dizziness or vertigo, don’t wait. Seek emergency care as soon as possible.