Benign positional vertigo (BPV) is one of the commonest causes of vertigo, a sensation of dizziness and spinning. It is also known as benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPV). BPV is a type of balance disorder (similar to Meniere’s disease or labyrinthitis) that occurs due to issues in the inner ear. Currently there is no known specific cause of BPV. However, the underlying mechanism may be a loose, small, calcified otolith moving around in the inner ear. BPV can result from a head injury and often occurs in the elderly.
The diagnosis of BPV is achieved via the Dix-Hallpike test, which checks for a vision condition called nystagmus (in which the eyes make involuntary, repetitive eye movements). Classic cases do not usually require medical imaging. BPV can be treated in several ways, such as the Epley maneuver or Brandt-Daroff exercises. Antiemetics can help with symptoms of nausea. Betahistine may be able to help with the vertigo if necessary.
BPV is generally not a serious condition and resolves within one to two weeks. However, in some individuals, it may recur. Approximately 2.4 percent of individuals are affected. Ten percent of BPV patients are in their eighties. It affects females more often than males and is usually observed among people in their fifties, sixties, or seventies.
Symptom #1: Paroxysmal Attacks
A paroxysm is a sudden attack or outburst. In medical terms, a paroxysmal attack is a sudden intensification or occurrence of a condition’s symptoms. In BPV, a paroxysmal attack refers to an episode of vertigo.
These attacks are often short and frequent. Some other conditions that include paroxysmal attacks of their symptoms are asthma, epilepsy, paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria, pertussis, and breath-holding spells.