Purpose of review: Epidemiological findings on the distribution, determinants and outcome of vertigo can be used for clinical decision making and can help understand the underlying causes of vestibular diseases. This article gives an overview of the epidemiology of the vestibular symptom vertigo and of four specific vestibular disorders: benign paroxysmal positional vertigo, migrainous vertigo, Menière's disease and vestibular neuritis.
Recent findings: Based on a neurotologic survey of the general population, 1-year prevalence estimates for vertigo were 4.9%, for migrainous vertigo 0.89% and for benign paroxysmal positional vertigo 1.6%. Diagnostic positional manoeuvres and treatments for benign paroxysmal positional vertigo, however, are still not being done by most doctors. The female preponderance among patients with benign paroxysmal positional vertigo and migrainous vertigo may be linked to migraine but is not fully understood. A recently reported prevalence of Menière's disease of 0.51% is much higher than previous estimates. Follow-up studies have shown benign paroxysmal positional vertigo recurrence rates of 50% at 5 years and a persistence of dizziness related to anxiety in almost a third of patients 1 year after vestibular neuritis.
Summary: The epidemiology of vertigo and vestibular disorders is still an underdeveloped field. Recent studies have underscored the impact of vertigo at the population level, but its determinants and outcome are not well known yet.