Signs and Symptoms

By definition, vertigo is a false sensation that you or your surroundings are moving. The sensation is best described as spinning, whirling or moving vertically or horizontally. Vertigo attacks may be constant or sporadic and can last from seconds to days.

Other symptoms may include, but are not limited to:

  • Abnormal or involuntary eye movements, called nystagmus
  • Blurred vision, known as diplopia
  • Difficulty speaking or slurred speech, called dysarthria
  • Difficulty walking, known as ataxic gait
  • Feeling faint
  • Hearing loss
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Sweating, also known as diaphoresis
  • Tinnitus
  • Visual disturbances, known as oscillopsia
  • Weakness and numbness

Even medical professionals can misinterpret a patient's description of vertigo symptoms. To get the correct diagnosis, it's essential to give an accurate description of your symptoms.

Reviewed by health care specialists at UCSF Medical Center.

Related Information

UCSF Clinics & Centers


Balance and Falls Center
2380 Sutter St., First Floor
San Francisco, CA 94115-0340
Phone: (415) 353-2101
Fax: (415) 353-2883
Appointment information