Vertigo Health Facts
When you feel that you are moving even when you are not, or when you feel that everything around you is moving when they are not then you most likely have vertigo, a condition that can cause disasters in your healthy lifestyle.
Most people refer to this as dizziness, but vertigo is the specific term used to refer to an illusion of movement, and it has relatively few causes.
Causes Of Vertigo
The brain and the inner ear are the organs where vertigo can be usually traced to. Here are the causes of the condition:
- When a person moves his/her head suddenly and this is followed by a sensation of motion, this is referred to as Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV), the most common type of this condition.
- Labyrinthinitis, which is an inflammation within the inner ear can also cause a sudden onset of vertigo and is usually accompanied by hearing loss.
- There are cases where a person experiences severe vertigo and fluctuating hearing loss, and ringing in the ears – this is known as Menier disease – patients may experience asymptomatic periods along with the mentioned symptoms.
- A particular tumor known as acoustic neuroma can also cause vertigo, unilateral ringing in the ear and hearing loss.
- When blood flow to the brain and the brainstem is decreased, vertigo will most likely follow. Cerebellar hemorrhage which is bleeding in the back of the brain can also cause vertigo, ambulatory difficulties, headaches and the inability to look towards the side where the bleeding occurred. The person with this condition usually gazes away from the side of the condition.
- Very often, in patients with multiple sclerosis, sudden onset vertigo is the initial symptom. Upon closer examination of the eyes, an inability to move the eyes past the midline, towards the nose is noticed.
- Vertigo can also come from head or neck injuries, but this usually disappears as the injuries heal.
- Severe headaches, like migraine can also cause vertigo which is followed by a headache.
Symptoms Of Vertigo
There is common confusion between lightheadedness or fainting and vertigo; hence, it is very important to accurately point out if it is vertigo that is the actual problem.
- True vertigo can be identified by the patient describing a sensation of disorientation or motion, plus the following symptoms may also be present:
- vomiting or nausea
- abnormal eye movements
- Vertigo can last from a few minutes to many hours and can be a plateau attack or one that occurs every now and then. When the subject changes position or moves, this can trigger vertigo; inform your doctor of any recent injuries to the head or whiplash injury or any new drugs you might be taking.
- Tinnitus or a ringing sensation in the ear can be present, as well as hearing loss.
- There may also be problems with sight, speech difficulties, weakness, a dropped consciousness level, and ambulatory difficulties.
When is medical intervention necessary?
Vertigo, regardless of the symptoms, requires medical attention, despite the fact that many of these cases are harmless. Vertigo, despite its debilitating effects, can be easy to treat with medication. To make sure that there are no other life-threatening causes to the vertigo, ask your doctor to check for any new signs and symptoms.
The following signs and symptoms require emergency evaluation:
- Double vision
- Speech difficulties
- Eye movements that are out of the ordinary
- Arousal difficulties, an abnormal level of consciousness, or inappropriate actions
- Ambulatory problems
How to test for Vertigo
A background medical history of the patient as well as a physical exam is essential in evaluating vertigo. The four basic areas that the doctor will ask you about are:
- Knowing if you feel any sensation of motion, nausea, vomiting, breaking into a sweat, or any abnormal eye movements
- The duration of your symptoms and their frequency; if these symptoms occur when you move or change position; if you have any new prescription drugs that you might be taking; if you had any recent head injury or whiplash injury.
- Hearing problems, if you have any, specifically a ringing in the ear.
- Weakness, visual problems, an abnormal consciousness level, ambulatory problems, speech problems, or irregular eye movements.
- A CT scan may be performed if head injury is suspected. Blood tests to check blood sugar levels, ECG and heart rhythm may be checked as well.
How to deal with vertigo at home
Make sure that you only resort to home remedies if there is a sure diagnosis of vertigo and you do these with the help and supervision of a doctor.
Medical interventions for vertigo
There are various kinds of treatments according to the diagnosis of the condition
- There are oral medications or patches, or intravenous drugs that may be used to treat vertigo
- Other, more specialized types of vertigo may necessitate additional treatment and referral.
- Antibiotics may be used to treat middle ear infection.
- Typically, a low salt diet along with treatment of the symptoms is given to a patient with Menier Disease. Diuretics may also be used
- Surgery may be needed for holes in the inner ear that result to repeated ear infections.
- BPPV is sometimes treated with physical maneuvers aside from the drugs used for the condition
- A set of exercises known as vestibular rehabilitation exercises may be used – these consist of sitting on the edge of a table and lying down to one side until the vertigo disappears; then, after this, the next position would be sitting up and lying down on the other side again until the symptoms are completely gone.
- Some diagnostics indicate small stones in the inner ear and the particle positioning maneuver is used to remedy this. The head is simply repositioned to move the stones to their normal position; when there are no more abnormal eye movements, then the repositioning was effective.
- If you’re not into conventional medication or drugs, a natural approach like homeopathic product is a good option.
Following up on your condition
Newly diagnosed vertigo patients should have regular visits to their doctor and suggest referral to a neurologist or ENT specialist.
How to prevent injuries caused by vertigo
Patients suffering from balance problems because of the disease should take precautions to prevent falls and hits. Those who may have risks of stroke should watch their blood sugar levels, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels, and try to stop smoking as well. Salt should be avoided by those with Menier disease.
The future of vertigo patients
What vertigo patients could expect in the future basically depends on the kind of vertigo that the patient has.
- The most debilitating kind of vertigo is the one caused by inner ear problems. Drugs and physical therapy are the treatments of choice. If these don’t relieve the symptoms totally, they can make the symptoms less debilitating.
- If a brain lesion is the cause of vertigo, the degree of damage has to be determined, and should immediately be referred for emergency evaluation by a neurologist or neurosurgeon.