ESSENTIAL VERTIGO

L. BREMER
1886 Journal of the American Medical Association  
Impairment of equilibrium, accompanied by strange sensations of varying kinds and degrees, is met with as a symptom, not only of cerebral but of a great many other diseases, especially those of an exhausting and debilitating character. Besides the physiological vertigo produced by rapid rotatory movements or by a sojourn in high places, temporary pathological giddiness or dizziness is not uncommon with many persons enjoying, in other respects, good health. In fact, there is scarcely an adult
more » ... carcely an adult but has not, at one or the other period of his life, experienced vertigo of some kind. Whereas, then, vertiginous sensations may be said to fall within the boundary lines of health, they may constitute a well-marked disease and rise to the dignity of a pathological entity, if they are severe or persistent enough to interfere with the comfort or occupation of the individual so affected. I will remark here that the moral effect of the same degree of vertigo varies much with the individual moral and mental disposition of the patient, and that to the one an attack of vertigo of a certain intensity will appear of the gravest importance, which by another would be ignored, nothing thought of and easily forgotten. Thus the psychical, and consequently physical, effect of such an attack will tell more on the excitable than the phlegmatic. Children seem less disposed to the trouble than adults; or, perhaps, are less likely to speak about it than adults who have an idea, however vague, of its seriousness. The English expressions : giddiness, dizziness, lightheadedness, all of which are comprised in the term vertigo, signify a number of totally different affections; they are often used promiscuously by physicians and patients, and may mean loss of balancing power, simple fulness or pressure in the head, faintish feelings, temporary confusion of thought, or bewilderment and strange and (indefinable sensations in the head in general.
doi:10.1001/jama.1886.04250120029001 fatcat:o244hyk6qnadznu3ymoulwfoti