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Acta Otorhinolaryngol Ital. 2016 Jun;36(3):215-9. doi: 10.14639/0392-100X-847.

Point prevalence of vertigo and dizziness in a sample of 2672 subjects and correlation with headaches.

Author information

ENT Division, San Raffaele Scientific Institute, Milan, Italy;
UOC of ORL, Fondazione IRCCS Policlinico San Matteo e Università di Pavia, Italy;
Divisione di Otorinolaringoiatria, Università degli Studi di Brescia, Italy.


in English, Italian

Vertigo and dizziness are common symptoms in the general population, with an estimated prevalence between 20% and 56%. The aim of our work was to assess the point prevalence of these symptoms in a population of 2672 subjects. Patients were asked to answer a questionnaire; in the first part they were asked about demographic data and previous vertigo and or dizziness. Mean age of the sample was 48.3 ± 15 years, and 46.7% were males. A total of 1077 (40.3%) subjects referred vertigo/dizziness during their lifetime, and the mean age of the first vertigo attack was 39.2 ± 15.4 years; in the second part they were asked about the characteristics of vertigo (age of first episode, rotational vertigo, relapsing episodes, positional exacerbation, presence of cochlear symptoms) and lifetime presence of moderate to severe headache and its clinical features (hemicranial, pulsatile, associated with phono and photophobia, worse on effort). An age and sex effect was demonstrated, with symptoms 4.4 times more elevated in females and 1.8 times in people over 50 years. In the total sample of 2672 responders, 13.7% referred a sensation of spinning, 26.3% relapsing episodes, 12.9% positional exacerbation and 4.8% cochlear symptoms; 34.8% referred headache during their lifetime. Subjects suffering from headache presented an increased rate of relapsing episodes, positional exacerbation, cochlear symptoms and a lower age of occurrence of the first vertigo/dizziness episode. In the discussion, our data are compared with those of previous studies, and we underline the relationship between vertigo/dizziness from one side and headache with migrainous features on the other.


Dizziness; Epidemiology; Migraine; Vertigo

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