The signs and symptoms of benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) may include:
- A sense that you or your surroundings are spinning or moving (vertigo)
- A loss of balance
- Blurred vision associated with the sensation of vertigo
The signs and symptoms of BPPV can come and go, with symptoms commonly lasting less than one minute. Episodes of benign paroxysmal positional vertigo and other forms of vertigo can disappear for some time and then recur.
Activities that bring about the signs and symptoms of BPPV can vary from person to person, but are almost always brought on by a change in the position of your head. Abnormal rhythmic eye movements (nystagmus) usually accompany the symptoms of benign paroxysmal positional vertigo. Although rare, it's possible to have BPPV in both ears (bilateral BPPV).
When to see a doctor
Generally, see your doctor if you experience any unexplained dizziness or vertigo that recurs periodically for more than one week.
Seek emergency care
Although it's uncommon for dizziness to signal a serious illness, see your doctor immediately if you experience dizziness or vertigo along with any of the following:
- A new, different or severe headache
- A fever of 101 F (38 C) or higher
- Double vision or loss of vision
- Hearing loss
- Trouble speaking
- Leg or arm weakness
- Loss of consciousness
- Falling or difficulty walking
- Numbness or tingling
- Chest pain, or rapid or slow heart rate
The signs and symptoms listed above may signal a more serious problem, such as stroke or a cardiac condition.
Jul. 10, 2012
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- Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo. The Merck Manuals: The Merck Manual for Healthcare Professionals. http://www.merck.com/mmpe/sec08/ch086/ch086c.html. Accessed March 19, 2012.
- Lalwani AK. Current Diagnosis & Treatment in Otolaryngology — Head & Neck Surgery. 3rd ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2012. http://www.accessmedicine.com/content.aspx?aID=55771949. Accessed March 19, 2012.
- Sismanis A. Surgical management of common peripheral vestibular diseases. Current Opinion in Otolaryngology & Head and Neck Surgery. 2010;18:431.
- Clinch CR, et al. What is the best approach to benign paroxysmal positional vertigo in the elderly? The Journal of Family Practice. 2010;59:295.
- Post RE, et al. Dizziness: A diagnostic approach. American Family Physician. 2010;82:361.
- Helminski JO, et al. Effectiveness of particle repositioning maneuvers in the treatment of benign paroxysmal positional vertigo: A systematic review. Physical Therapy. 2010;90:663.
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