Send to

Choose Destination
Handb Clin Neurol. 2016;137:67-82. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-444-63437-5.00005-4.

The epidemiology of dizziness and vertigo.

Author information

Department of Epidemiology and Health Monitoring, Robert Koch Institute, Berlin, Germany. Electronic address:


This chapter gives an overview of the epidemiology of dizziness, vertigo, and imbalance, and of specific vestibular disorders. In the last decade, population-based epidemiologic studies have complemented previous publications from specialized settings and provided evidence for the high burden of dizziness and vertigo in the community. Dizziness (including vertigo) affects about 15% to over 20% of adults yearly in large population-based studies. Vestibular vertigo accounts for about a quarter of dizziness complaints and has a 12-month prevalence of 5% and an annual incidence of 1.4%. Its prevalence rises with age and is about two to three times higher in women than in men. Imbalance has been increasingly studied as a highly prevalent complaint particularly affecting healthy aging. Studies have documented the high prevalence of benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) and vestibular migraine (VM), as well as of comorbid anxiety at the population level. BPPV and VM are largely underdiagnosed, while Menière's disease, which is about 10 times less frequent than BPPV, appears to be overdiagnosed. Risk factor research is only at its beginning, but has provided some interesting observations, such as the consistent association of vertigo and migraine, which has greatly contributed to the recognition of VM as a distinct vestibular syndrome.


Menière's disease; benign paroxysmal positional vertigo; dizziness; epidemiology; vertigo; vestibular migraine; vestibular neuritis

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center