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Feeling that one is spinning or that one's surroundings are spinning around one, causing confusion and difficulty keeping one's balance, sometimes accompanied by nausea and vomiting. Vertigo is normal after actual spinning, since inner-ear fluid continues to move once the body has stopped, producing a mismatch between visual and internal sensations. Lack of a stable visual reference point also contributes to this effect. Other causes include concussion and abnormalities of the inner ear (e.g., labyrinthitis; seeotitis), of the nerves that carry signals from it, or of the brain centers that receive them (e.g., stroke). Vertigo is often confused with a feeling of faintness (seesyncope), since both are called dizziness. See alsomotion sickness, proprioception, spatial disorientation.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on vertigo, visit Britannica.com.